Read Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis David T. Haberly Celso Favaretto Gregory Rabassa Online


When the mad philosopher Quincas Borba dies, he leaves to his friend Rubiao the entirety of his wealth and property, with a single stipulation: Rubiao must take care of Quincas Borba's dog, who is also named Quincas Borba, and who may indeed have assumed the soul of the dead philosopher. Flush with his newfound wealth, Rubiao heads for Rio de Janeiro and plunges headlong iWhen the mad philosopher Quincas Borba dies, he leaves to his friend Rubiao the entirety of his wealth and property, with a single stipulation: Rubiao must take care of Quincas Borba's dog, who is also named Quincas Borba, and who may indeed have assumed the soul of the dead philosopher. Flush with his newfound wealth, Rubiao heads for Rio de Janeiro and plunges headlong into a world where fantasy and reality become increasingly difficult to keep separate. Brilliantly translated by Gregory Rabassa, Quincas Borba is a masterful satire not only on life in Imperial Brazil but the human condition itself....

Title : Quincas Borba
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780195106824
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 271 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Quincas Borba Reviews

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-02-14 22:07

    Quincas Borba (Realistic trilogy #2), Machado de AssisQuincas Borba is a novel written by the Brazilian writer Machado de Assis. It was first published in 1891. It is also known in English as Philosopher or Dog? The novel was principally written as a serial in the journal A Estação from 1886 to 1891. It was definitively published as a book in 1892 with some small but significant changes from the serialized version. Following The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (1881), this book is considered by modern critics to be the second of Machado de Assis's realist trilogy, in which the author was concerned with using pessimism and irony to criticize the customs and philosophy of his time, in the process parodying scientism, Social darwinism, and Comte's positivism, although he did not remove all Romantic elements from the plot.تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوازدهم ماه نوامبر سال 2014 میلادیعنوان: کینکاس بوربا ؛ نویسنده: ماشادو د آسیس؛ مترجم: عبدالله کوثری؛ تهران، نشر نی، 1393؛ در 445 ص؛ شابک: 9789641853794؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان پرتقالی قرن 20 مداستان «کینکاس بوربا» درباره فیلسوفی ست که عقاید و طرز تفکر عجیبی دارد. کوثری درباره ی مضمون این رمان در قسمت «سخن مترجم» می‌نویسد: «کینکاس بوربا، فیلسوف نامتعارفی است که فلسفه‌ ای نامتعارف‌تر از خود دارد و ماشادو در ترکیب اجزای این فلسفه عناصری از مهم‌ترین فلسفه‌ های رایج در قرن نوزدهم را به کار گرفته، به این منظور که در نهایت آن فلسفه‌ ها را به نقد بکشد و حتی دست بیندازد. اما گستره رمان به این نقد شیطنت‌آمیز محدود نمی‌شود...»؛ پایان نقل. ا. شربیانی

  • Deepthi
    2019-02-01 18:11

    Let us talk about sanity and insanity for a while:How do you differentiate sanity and insanity? If you were sane before, how would you know that you have started to become insane? Is there a sign or system to detect the change? If I am sane, and I discover that I am losing my sanity, should I run for a cure or should I become a spectator and witness my insanity engulfing everything that is left sane within? Ok, leave that. If I, with my personal intuition, find that a person I know is turning insane, I should try to help him/her, right? I should try and make that person “normal”. Yes, I should help. Or does that person really need help? Who am I to judge and decide? After all, he/she is more visibly happy than his/her former “sane self”. Ok, leave that. To quote Machado de Assis, all these are nothing but “questions impregnated with questions”. Let’s move forward. Let’s talk about Machado de Assis for a while:After reading Dom Casmurro and Devil’s Church and Other Stories, I immediately picked up Quincas Borba. Usually, I do not read an author’s works consequently, but De Assis left me with no choice. It is very unfortunate that his creative talent is almost unrecognized outside Brazil. His prose is filled with irony, satire, wit and wisdom. At times, I found myself laughing out loud and at times, my eyes were moist with tears. At times, he reminded me of Hamsun and at times, of Proust. This does not mean that he lacks originality but quite the contrary. His mastery lies in the simplicity of his prose which evokes complexity. It amuses the heart and at the same time demands the mind to ponder. So, dear reader (as De Assis addresses), please read his works if you haven’t already. Who knows, you might end up discovering a new favorite author for yourself. When you read his novel, you would discover a web being created around you. Machado de Assis creates this web without your consciousness and permission. This is the web of his characters, their thoughts, your thoughts, their happiness, your sorrows; all merging into one. As you would turn the final page of his novel, the web would mercilessly spit you out into your own reality. You would then discover, dear reader, that an unfamiliar part of you has been left behind in the web. Whose web? Assis’s web? Your web? Who knows! Let's move forward.Let’s talk about Quincas Borba for a while :As you might have already guessed, this book deals with sanity, insanity and everything in between. This story starts with Quincas Borba, an old philosopher(who might be insane) and his dog who is named after him. After his death, the old philosopher leaves his wealth and dog for Rubiao, a poor ex-teacher who took care of the philosopher in his final days. Rubiao constructs a vague belief that Quinca Borba-the philosopher’s soul might have taken shelter in Quincas Borba-the dog’s body. But that is another story.Now, Rubiao is rich. With wealth, come friends. In no time, his social circle increases in circumference. He gets introduced to Palha and his wife, Dona Sophia. Sophia, being attractive and graceful, instantly captures Rubiao’s heart. At first, he consoles himself that it would be highly immoral to expect anything minutely similar to his feelings in return. But love, as love, is supposed to be love, Rubiao declares his love to Sophia(who later falls in love with Carlos Maria). She declines. And thus, our poor Rubiao’s plight begins. What happens to him, his love and his dog? I would leave that for the future reader to discover.Along with the already mentioned characters, this novel includes some other vital characters who live their lives in parallel to Rubiao’s. Most of these are shades of grey, instead of being just black or white. And maybe, this is what makes them seem real; almost familiar. My two most favorite characters were Quincas Borba-the dog and Quincas Borba-the philosopher; in the same order. Though these two characters just fill a mere couple of pages of the novel, they act as a foundation for rest of the story. Their presence is felt throughout. Along with Rubiao’s, it is the shadows of these two which haunt the reader afterwards.Let’s move forward.Some after-thoughts which will take only a while:The conclusion of this story leaves the reader with some unanswered questions. One of them would be: "This novel got its title from the dog or the philosopher?" Hard to tell. Like mentioned before, there is a lot of merging and faint lines the reader has to deal with.Let’s move forward.Like Carlos Maria, some of us choose to remain sane all our lives. Like Sophia, some of us choose insanity over sanity. Like Rubiao, some of us naturally turn insane. Whose life and fate is better than the rest? Who is more happy and content than the rest? Who knows!Let’s move forward.I must confess, the last page of my copy has a stain of my tears that were shed while reading the final lines. I turned the back cover of the book into its initial position and closed my eyes to muse over the prose. A faint image of 'Quincas Borba-the dog' appeared in front of my eyes. His image became stronger and clear as he wagged his tail and demanded affection. I imagined myself jumping and hopping with him. We ran after one another, later cuddled to sleep and dreamt about Rubiao and 'Quincas Borba-the philosopher', whom we loved dearly. I hoped it made him happy. I soon discovered that, I too had left an unfamiliar part of me in the web that was around me a few moments ago. My web? Assis’s web? Who knows! And I wouldn’t want to know.Let’s move forward.

  • Malihe bayat
    2019-01-25 16:15

    این کتاب ،دومین رمان مشهور از دآسیس هست که پیرو کتاب قبلی یعنی "خاطرات پس از مرگ کینکاس بوربا" نوشته شده تو ریویوی گودریدز این کتاب نوشته که در مورد فیلسوفی به اسم کینکاس بوربا است که عقاید نامتعارفی داره.. اما در واقع تو این کتاب عقاید کینکاس بوربا شرح داده نشده..و برای آشنایی با شخصیت کینکاس بوربا بهتره اولین کتاب داسیس یعنی "خاطرات پس از مرگ کینکاس بوربا" رو مطالعه کنیم..فهم این کتاب به نظرم سخت اومد... چون همه چیز به سادگی بیانش نیست.. و از هر فصلی میشه برداشت های متفاوتی داشت..نویسنده مدام از کلمه ی خواننده ی هوشیار استفاده میکنه و آدم رو به چالش تفکر دقیق تر و نگاه چند بعدی به مسایل مطرح شده تو کتاب دعوت میکنه...ولی با وجود پیچیدگی مفاهیم که در پوشش ساده ای بیان میشن روند داستانی کتاب گیرا و جذابه..من این کتاب رو دوست داشتم و مایلم کتاب های دیگه ای هم از این نویسنده بخونم

  • Scott Hutchins
    2019-01-24 17:58

    I picked this up in a used bookstore, because it has one of the best titles I've ever heard of. There's a question mark that isn't showing up on Goodreads -- it's "Philosopher or Dog?" (Also I have the little Avon paperback with its Rousseau-esque Latin American covers.) Machado de Assis is the Flaubert of Brazil, and his books (or at least the two I've read) have a suspense to them that isn't plot related but stems from the fact that he's always telling you exactly what you want to know next -- even if you didn't know that's what you wanted to hear. This is an amazing book.

  • Laura
    2019-02-08 19:15

    The original files are provided by Fundação Biblioteca Nacional do BrasilPage 99:Vae se não quando, teve uma ideia extraordinaria, a de serem os dous Quincas Borbas a mesma creatura, por effeito da entrada da alma do defunto no corpo do cachorro, menos a purgar; os seus peccados que a vigiar o dono. Foi uma preta de S. João d’El-rei que lhe metteu, em creança, essa ideia de transmigração. Dizia ella que a alma cheia de peccados ia para o corpo de um bruto; chegou a jurar que conhecera um escrivão que acabou feito gambá...

  • Steven
    2019-01-23 15:09

    "Moral quilts made of one piece are so rare!" (79)

  • João Paulo
    2019-01-24 21:56

    I remember the time I first readed this piece, at the Elementary School. In these very young ages, I was never a big fan of that so called brazilian realism. Erroneously thought these works were simply boring and excessively stilted. But Quincas Borba was a mark. Easy and shocking, extenuating and madly, sincerely humane. Then, changed my opinion — it opened my mind and vision of literature, art and why not to say, life, in a general way. In my modest opinion, this is the real masterpiece of Machado de Assis, surpassing the famed Dom Casmurro.

  • Amirsaman
    2019-01-31 20:53

    «وقتی ستایش او در میان بود، همه ی آدم ها بخشی از بشریت بودند.»*یک؛ برخلاف تصورم کتاب هیچ ارتباطی به «خاطرات پس از مرگ» ندارد و جدا از آن کاملا قابل بررسی است. من کتاب دیگری از ماشادو نخواندم ولی با خواندنِ این شاهکار، بی اندازه ترغیب شدم.دو؛ ماشادو د آسیس در کینکاس بوربا نوعی فاصله گذاری در روایت را رعایت می کند که بسیار جذاب و طنز آمیز است. راوی خودْ صداقتِ روایت را زیر سوال می برد و با مخاطب شوخی می کند!

  • Grant
    2019-02-22 19:57

    "Ao vencedor as batatas!"

  • André Caniato
    2019-02-12 19:08

    Acho que fica bem claro porque esse é o menos conhecido/celebrado da "trilogia realista" do Machado. Bem longe de ser ruim, Quincas Borba não chega a ser tão notável quanto Brás Cubas, nem causa o impacto de Dom Casmurro. O protagonista Rubião não encanta tanto quanto os dos outros livros, também, e acabou que passei a história toda torcendo por uma maior participação do cachorro, Quincas Borba — (view spoiler)[que morre no último capítulo e foi daquela para uma melhor, com certeza (hide spoiler)].Comparações à parte, é um livro bem conduzido, claro que é. A prosa de Machado de Assis é incrível, e às vezes deixa a gente sem reação, maravilhado pelo que ele consegue fazer com as palavras. O (view spoiler)[declínio de Rubião à loucura (hide spoiler)] foi desenvolvido muito bem ao longo da obra e, quando aconteceu de vez, fiquei me perguntando como não previ aquele desfecho.

  • Seher Andaç
    2019-02-19 14:51

    Okurken kitaba ara verdiğimde kitabı çok özleyip tekrar elime aldığımda nerdeyse sarılarak okuduğumu hatırlıyorum. Kısa cümleleri kalmış aklımda, mizahı ve sınıf kavramının insana ettikleri de...

  • Ricardo
    2019-02-12 17:08

    O cão e o dono. Rubião, amigo do rico e excêntrico filósofo Quincas Borba, herda a sua fortuna na simples condição de cuidar do cão do defunto, Quincas Borba. Rico e sem saber o que fazer do dinheiro, conhece Cristiano Palha, um capitalista, assim como a mulher Sofia, que de certa forma o acolhem como amigo e lhe dão a conhecer um tipo de vida pouco familiar para ele.Pródigo, Rubião esbanja a fortuna em presentes e maus investimentos, ao mesmo tempo que se apaixona até à loucura por Sofia. A partir deste ponto Rubião atravessa uma espiral no sentido descendente do seu estado mental, que o leva à loucura. A narrativa consegue transmitir, através do olhar dos amigos de Rubião (e não só), uma crescente demência que o transforma em Napoleão III, retratando Rubião duma maneira algo colorida.O prato forte da obra centra-se no retrato das relações sociais duma época a que Machado de Assis está bem atento. Rubião apaixona-se por Sofia, que nada sente por ele. Por si só, Rubião inventa uma paixão que o leva à loucura, ignorando uma pretensa ideia de casar com alguém e levar uma vida matrimonial comum. A sua imaginação cria ciúmes dum Carlos Maria que, seriamente, casa com Maria Benedita, prima de Sofia. Com o mundo à sua volta a tornar-se cada vez mais "normal", Rubião despreza a casa, o cão, distribui promoções ao major, ministérios ao político Camacho e títulos ao Palha.Ao mesmo tempo que Napoleão III emigra, derrotado, para Inglaterra, a sua alma de imperador transfere-se para Rubião que, alienado na sua vida como o imperador do seu império, reflete metaforicamente a realidade sombria de duas personagens perdidas na História. Nem os conselhos de Quincas Borbas cão o salvam.Machado de Assis trata a língua portuguesa com bastante inovação, à época. Senti, contudo, que não consegui tirar o melhor partido da qualidade da obra, pelo que conto reler esta ou outra do mesmo autor, para melhor saborear a sua qualidade.

  • Cristiana Brenner
    2019-01-29 18:12

    Em resumo, a história acompanha a vida adulta de Rubião de Alvarenga. Rubião era enfermeiro e amigo de Quicas Borba. Durante anos eles foram como mestre e discípulo, e Quicas explica a Rubião sua visão de mundo e como ele entende as relações humanas. Quando Quincas morre (na casa de Brás Cubas), o amigo descobre que o filósofo deixou em testamento toda sua fortuna para ele – e um cachorro que levava o mesmo nome do falecido. Imediatamente milionário, Rubião se muda de Barbacena para o Rio de Janeiro, onde vive o bom e o melhor que a capital do país tem a lhe oferecer. Com o tempo, Rubião começa a apresentar sintomas estranhos (para dizer o mínimo), entre eles delírios de grandeza, acreditando piamente que era Napolão III, imperador da França e importante figura política mundial. O poder sobe – literalmente – à cabeça de Rubião, sem que ele se dê conta do que está acontecendo.

  • Oswaldo De Freitas
    2019-01-27 19:11

    Very good book written by Machado de Assis, arguably the best Brazilian writer of all time. Although, Quincas Borba, in my opinion, is not at the same level of Dom Casmurro, and Memorias Postumas de Bras Cubas, it is among the best books of the universal literature. In time, I plan to read the entire works of this African-Brazilian genius that is Machado de Assis.

  • Tracy Duvall
    2019-01-23 22:46

    Of the three famous novels by Machado de Assis, this one is the least complete for me. Nonetheless, his ability to provide only the necessary details and to set convincing characters in motion is evident. In the end, it probably doesn't matter.

  • Suellen Rubira
    2019-02-05 17:00

    Mais um relato magnífico de Machado acerca dos tipos sociais que marcaram sua época. Sociedade ostensiva, mulheres dissimuladas (mas absolvidas, ao contrário de Capitu), ganância, busca pelo poder e dinheiro tudo, resultando na perda do juízo. Fantástico.

  • Paulo Coutinho
    2019-02-20 14:50

    É bom entrar num livro assim. Não me seduziu à primeira, mas são assim as melhores coisas (livros, no caso). Gostei muito!

  • Maximiliano Sales
    2019-02-11 19:08

    "Eia! chora os dois recentes mortos, se tens lágrimas. Se só tens riso, ri-te! É a mesma coisa. O Cruzeiro (...) está assaz alto para não discernir os risos e as lágrimas dos homens."

  • Jeruen
    2019-01-22 19:06

    I picked up this book as it was recommended to me a while ago; in 2015 I was looking for novels that portrayed Brazil, and a Brazilian reader suggested this book, as well as a couple of others. It feeds my wanderlust, reading books set in locales I have not been before. And this book is no different, providing me an interesting perspective on 19-century Brazil, a country I haven't visited yet.Quincas Borba is a novel published in 1891 by Brazilian writer Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis. Frankly speaking, I haven't heard of this author until I got the recommendation. And sure enough, a year or so ago, I looked at all the writers I have read, and most of them come from the English-speaking world. This is a pity, and so I have started the endeavor of finding novels from all over the world. There are plenty of writers and novels written in languages other than English that are definitely worth reading.Anyway, back to the book. This book was written in the 19-century, yet there are parts of it that feels postmodern. I suppose it was quite advanced for its time. I like the fact that there were passages of the book that referred to other earlier passages. And there were also times in which the narrator seemed to be engaging the reader in a conversation. These narrative devices are definitely more common in postmodern literature, which would come way later, and I think Machado de Assis was already foreshadowing that.I don't like the plot too much. The story has multiple main characters, but it mostly centers on Rubiao, a man who was friends with an ailing philosopher, Quincas Borba. Quincas Borba dies, leaving Rubiao an estate (he was named as the heir in a will), with one condition, that he should take care of the philosopher's dog, also named Quincas Borba, in a way as if the dog were a person. Anyway, Rubiao does that, and he ascends Brazilian 19-century high society with the money he gets. I don't really care for 19-century society. Brazil is not England, but it definitely has similarities with the Victorian Era, where social life is the epoch of one's day, and people just ride carriages to go around the neighborhood to gossip. I don't care for the dating and mating rituals that were prominent during that period, and I just don't see the attraction of living in such a generation, where dropping a handkerchief means a lot more than simple gravity. In any case, this book is a period piece, but since I am not a big fan of the period, I wasn't as enthusiastic as I was compared to other books I have read. Maybe I just found it hard to relate to.That being said, this book reflected the social customs of that day, and I am glad that we have somehow moved on from that. I am glad that women have something more to look forward to nowadays than simply getting married. In Quincas Borba, there were women of society whose sole goal was to capture the attention of a man who has money so that they can get married. Somehow it reminds me of Jane Austen's novels, where you have female characters whose sole goal in life was to attract Mister Bingley. Anyway, I think this sums up my impression of the book. If you want a book that provides a glimpse of how Brazilian society was like back in the 19-century, then this definitely is one good book to read. But given that I have more modern preferences, I cannot say I would enjoy reading such a book if I remove the historical context it is embedded in. I give it 3 out of 5 stars.See my other book reviews here.

  • Ana Carla
    2019-01-23 22:06

    Quincas Borba: o nome do filósofo rico, ou do seu cão? Machado divaga rapidamente no final do livro a qual desses o título do livro se referiria. Mas o personagem de maior relevo é mesmo Rubião, o herdeiro do filósofo que, junto à fortuna recebe também a responsabilidade da guarda do cão de seu amigo que, como dito, trazia seu nome.Como o cãozinho, Rubião é ingênuo e dócil. Uma vez rico, muda-se para o Rio de Janeiro e gasta o dinheiro prodigamente em favores, presentes e maus investimentos. Muito já sublinharam a fineza da análise de Machado nesse romance, ao retratar as relações dessas pessoas abastadas, próximas à Corte do Segundo Reinado. Recomendo a análise de Roberto Schwarz, que trata precisamente do aspecto social a que o livro alude - o paternalismo; a sociedade dos favores, que mascara a escravidão; a confusão entre a esfera pública e a privada...Para contribuir, contudo, trago duas impressões: achei muito belas as passagens em que Machado, sem fastio, descreve o ambiente e o vincula às personagens e às ações, como no momento de conversa entre D. Fernanda e Maria Benedita em um banco do jardim. O modo como este é iluminado pelo sol participa da insistência daquela senhora em saber da mais nova por quem esta se achava apaixonada... Há muitas partes bonitas como essa, e a sutileza e delicadeza com que o autor as constrói é bastante admirável. O outro aspecto que me chamou atenção, e mais evidente, é o modo como Machado conversa conosco, leitores. Comenta a narrativa, divaga sobre suas escolhas - como nomeia os capítulos, como os separa e delimita sua extensão - e adivinha nossas impressões e ansiedades.É um livro muito divertido, envolvente e instrutivo. Gostei muito.

  • Brent Negwin
    2019-02-08 23:13

    "Ó Gira"Então, vou logo dizendo a real, comparando com outros livros de machado esse não é tão lá essas coisas.Conta, em principal, a história de um professor que herda uma opulência de seu velho amigo Quincas Borba (um filósofo criador da mucho loka doutrina "humanitas" e também amigo de Brás cubas e personagem de memórias póstumas) que nos seus últimos anos enlouquece. Também herda o cachorro de Quincas, que também se chama Quincas Borba. Fazendo questionar de qual Quincas Borba o nome do livro se refere? Nosso caro professor (Rubião) se muda para a corte (Rio de janeiro) para viver dos bens herdados, iniciando assim o desenlace da história.O começo e final são bem interessantes de ler. Mas lá pelo meio fica chato. As vezes a história tava fluindo bem e chega uma parte que interrompia com outros capítulos explicando certos acontecimentos, voltando depois. O que é uma abordagem interessante mas muito repetitiva, ficou cansativa. Também haviam capítulos que não alteravam em absolutamente nada a história, em que machado só escreveu na "malvadeza" mesmo.SpoilerAgora, interessante como o "humanitismo" de Quincas Borba (que prega que na vida só os fortes sobrevivem e os fracos são passados para trás), porque Rubião acaba caindo na loucura, sendo manipulado e tirado vantagem por Palha e Sofia, ambiciosos espertões que ficam ricos enquanto ele se rebaixa à miséria. Foi enfim para esses, os vencedores, "as batatas".

  • Crysdian Janke
    2019-01-31 17:07

    A história do pobre professor Rubião e de seu amigo Quincas Borba - e seu cachorro homônimo - é uma viagem nas intimidades de vários tipos, que o Machado sabe descrever tão bem. Desde a luxúria de Sofia à avareza do Palha; da indiferença de seus muitos amigos à grandiloquência do Carlos Maria. No geral, na literatura brasileira, existem poucos seres de caráter; Machado conhecia muito bem a sociedade; lê-lo é sempre um deleite. Enfim, o que resta dos homens é o testemunho dos astros.

  • Mácio Meneses
    2019-02-18 18:57

    Talvez essa obra não seja tão importante para a literatura brasileira quanto foi “Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas”, mas, sendo esse um trabalho do brilhante Machado de Assis, não me decepcionou nem um pouco. Pelo contrário, foi uma obra que me fez admirar ainda mais o gênio que a escreveu... Machado de Assis é um patrimônio cultural e motivo de grande orgulho para o Brasil.

  • محمدحسین بنـکدارتهرانی
    2019-02-03 22:47

    من این کتاب و کتاب پیشینش خاطرات پس از مرگ براس کوباس را بنا به توصیه استادگران‌قدر دکتر محمدعلی موحد خواندم و از عمق فلسفی، طنز ناب و نوع روایت کتاب لذت بردم.کمابیش کنار بیشتر برگ‌های کتاب یادداشت نوشتم.

  • Danielle Aleixo
    2019-02-07 15:00

    Gostei mais de Memórias Póstumas, sem dúvida. Mas, há trechos interessantes nesta obra, principalmente as tiradas irônicas de Machado.

  • Ginger Heskett
    2019-02-04 18:09

    I registered a book at!

  • André Andrade
    2019-01-28 18:04

    Talvez esse livro exija um leitor mais maduro para entender todas as entrelinhas. Portanto não absorvi tudo que o livro tinha para oferecer e não gostei muito...

  • Jaqueline
    2019-02-01 21:55

    Como sempre Machado de Assis encanta o leitor mais esceptico. Cada livro consegue plasmar a realidade brasileira de forma tão viva e tão real que parece que somos transportados a sua época. Se tivesse tempo, esse é um dos livros que que gostaria reler-lo no decorrer da vida. Humanitas sigue sendo real; muita gente sigue com sua filosofia humanitas sem saber. "Ao vencedor, as batatas!"

  • Gustavo
    2019-01-29 20:02

    Machado de Assis is often considered the greatest Brazilian writer ever, and it's evident he uses the Portuguese language in a explendid way - he is a master of the language for sure. He was a kind of writer that doesn't exist anymore - he reminds me a bit of Swift and Stern, and Poe - at the same time wise and foolish, serious and funny, sad and happy, many times in the same sentence. The story is about Rubião, a normal guy who receives a large inheritance from Quincas Borba, a slightly nuts philosopher, with one demanding - Rubião must take good care of Quincas Borba, the dog of Quincas Borba (yes, the same name). Rubião goes to Rio de Janeiro and tries to live the life of a rich man, but he is quite naîve and is a easy prey to others.Most important of all, he falls in love with Sofia, wife of one of his friends, and turns into a very jealous man before starting to losing control of his reason.I won't tell much of the story. IMHO the book is almost a 5 star masterpiece. The book as a whole deals with question like friendship, love, loyalty, sanity, money - I mean, universal themes. Other great quality is the characters are never one-sided, but quite complex. But the greatest problem is some of those secondary characters. In one hand the are fully developed; on the other, many times (mainly on the second half of the book), Assis dwelves too much in their lifes and the main plot is forgotten. In some stances those parts are fast and funny, but some times they take too long and, to be sincere, don't add that much to the story. I have read "Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas" many years ago, and I have a foggy remembrance that something like this happens too - a strong beginning, but in the last chapters things loose steam. I will re-read the "Memórias" soon.For foreign readers I'm a bit unsure. First, you will need a very, very good translation. As Assis' lexicon in Portuguese is quite wide, I believe you need a translator capable of repeating this. Second, everyone will need some good footnotes to fully understand the text. There is mentions to events probably people from the XIX century would easily understand, but that we wouldn't - i.e., some details from the Napoleonic Wars etc. Some geographic information would be good, but the story itself is universal and more dependent of time than location.The book stands tall in Brazilian literature, and maybe I can say among XIX century literature as a whole - it has stood the test of time very well. You also have many angles to read it - it allows many distinctive readings and the meaning of it all. A great book and a true classic.

  • Adam Cherson
    2019-01-24 18:53

    I rate this book a 3.35 on a scale of 1-5 with 5 being best. This book could well have been titled Love or Madness? Unlike many of the English Victorian novels this one does not have that ‘all’s well that ends well’ and ‘people ain’t so bad’ feel one finds at the conclusion of most Austen or Dickens novels. This is dark, folks. The view of humanity is not one of redemption by a merciful God. The story suggested to me the possibility that the life of the dog may have been better than that of the protagonist Rubiao. Why? Because the dog never doubts his love for his master, while Rubiao is rejected by the object of his affections and leads a life of sorrow as a result. The paradigm is so ‘romantic love’ (think Young Werther, etc.) that it is kind of difficult to comprehend today, but that was the culture back then. De Assis is I think showing us that the romantic paradigm didn’t work too well for the average (possibly mixed race) person of the time in Brazil, even one with wealth at his command. Instead, the dream of romantic love winds up destroying the man, cleaning him out of his wealth, and leaving him alone and deranged. It is interesting that his delusion takes the form of a Napoleonic complex-- as his mind’s answer to the problems of his life. This is my first De Assis and I am no expert, but I believe there is much criticism here of the cruelty of certain strata of Rio society. Another major thread of cultural criticism here is revealed by the letimotif of the phrase 'to the victor go the potatoes'. Social darwinism was a strong trope at this time and I think De Assis is expressing his disdain for this view of life in this novel. And then there is the failure of the French Revolution adding to the misery. So all together we have tragic romanticism, failed revolution, social darwinism, racism, materialism, and mental illness-- a bleak vision indeed. This book is often touted as ahead of its time, but I did not see too much in the way of forward viewing literary forms. It seemed rather conventional stylistically (with a few modernist touches like addressing the reader directly and stepping out of the narrative flow occasionally). I guess for 1891 that is pretty advanced.