<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-K3L4M3" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden">


Machado de Assis wasn’t the Dickens of Brazil— but he is one of the greats

Described by his biographer David Jackson as ‘the major figure of all time in Latin American literature’, the 19th-century Brazilian novelist has been unjustly neglected in the English-speaking world

15 August 2015

9:00 AM

15 August 2015

9:00 AM

Dom Casmurro Machado de Assis, translated by Helen Caldwell

Daunt Books, pp.304, £9.99, ISBN: 9781907970504

Machado de Assis: A Literary Life K. David Jackson

Yale, pp.320, £25, ISBN: 9780300180824

The surname is pronounced ‘M’shahdo j’Asseece’. There are also two Christian names — Joaquim Maria — which are usually dispensed with. K. David Jackson, professor of Portuguese at Yale, confines himself to ‘Machado’ and has invented an adjective ‘Machadean’. Stefan Zweig, who committed suicide in the very Machadean town of Petropolis, called him ‘the Dickens of Brazil’ which is not true — he has not Dickens’s range or sustained ebullience.

Already a subscriber? Log in

Subscribe for just $2 a week

Try a month of The Spectator Australia absolutely free and without commitment. Not only that but – if you choose to continue – you’ll pay just $2 a week for your first year.

  • Unlimited access to spectator.com.au and app
  • The weekly edition on the Spectator Australia app
  • Spectator podcasts and newsletters
  • Full access to spectator.co.uk

Unlock this article


'Dom Casmurro', £9.49 and 'Machado de Assis', £21 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033

You might disagree with half of it, but you’ll enjoy reading all of it. Try your first month for free, then just $2 a week for the remainder of your first year.


Don't miss out

Join the conversation with other Spectator Australia readers. Subscribe to leave a comment.

Already a subscriber? Log in