The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas
"One of the wittiest, most playful, and . . . most alive and ageless books ever written." --Dave Eggers, The New Yorker
A revelatory new translation of the playful, incomparable masterpiece of one of the greatest Black authors in the Americas
A Penguin Classic
The mixed-race grandson of ex-slaves, Machado de Assis is not only Brazil's most celebrated writer but also a writer of world stature, who has been championed by the likes of Philip Roth, Susan Sontag, Allen Ginsberg, John Updike, and Salman Rushdie. In his masterpiece, the 1881 novel The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas (translated also as Epitaph of a Small Winner), the ghost of a decadent and disagreeable aristocrat decides to write his memoir. He dedicates it to the worms gnawing at his corpse and tells of his failed romances and halfhearted political ambitions, serves up harebrained philosophies, and complains with gusto from the depths of his grave. Wildly imaginative, wickedly witty, and ahead of its time, the novel has been compared to the work of everyone from Cervantes to Sterne to Joyce to Nabokov to Borges to Calvino, and has influenced generations of writers around the world.
This new English translation is the first to include extensive notes providing crucial historical and cultural context. Unlike other editions, it also preserves Machado's original chapter breaks--each of the novel's 160 short chapters begins on a new page--and includes excerpts from previous versions of the novel never before published in English.
For more than seventy-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 2,000 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
About this Author
Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908), the mixed-race grandson of freed slaves, was born in Rio de Janeiro. Largely self-taught, he wrote many novels, stories, plays, and poems, eventually becoming the first President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters and gaining recognition as Brazil's greatest writer.
Flora Thomson-DeVeaux (translator/introducer) is a translator, writer, and researcher who studied Spanish and Portuguese at Princeton University and earned a PhD in Portuguese and Brazilian studies from Brown University. She lives in Rio de Janeiro.
Dave Eggers (foreword) is the bestselling author of more than ten books, including A Hologram for the King, a finalist for the National Book Award; What Is the What, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His work has been translated into more than forty languages, and his nonfiction and journalism have appeared The New Yorker, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Essays. The founder of McSweeney's, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the winner of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Eggers lives in Northern California with his family.
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