You are on page 1of 1

In his article, Benjamin Moser investigates the dichothomy surrounding Machado de Assis’ life and

work, questioning the reasons why the Brazilian author is not broadly read. As many people are
forced to get in contact with his books at an early age in schools, his literature might be deemed
boring. His conventional and bureaucratic biography as an extraordinary civil servant reminds the
lives of Kafka and Cavafy, all of them symbols of the middle class. The discrepancy between their
look and their writing allowed them to expose the inner life of the modern times, sometimes
defining them.
Machado was an unpolitical, perfect husband who used to spend his spare time at the bookshop. As
a founder of the Academy of Letters, he provided literature with an administrative structure. He will
never fit as the Brazilian spokesman, for his irony and mischievousness are not in accord with the
pretentions of the official homages. His background and ancestry fascinated scholars, although the
topic did not excited him much. Most Brazilians were of mixed race and had a poor childhood like
him. Unlike them, however, Machado could access the higher society while he was still young. His
work, plays and poetry firstly , was instantly praised by a small but influential cluster of
intellectuals. His first novel, Ressurrection, triggered a critical acclaim that was kept until his death.