Dom Casmurro

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9781907970504: Dom Casmurro

Dom Casmurro

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The unreliable narrator and the fictional memoir are long-standing literary traditions. Nineteenth-century Brazilian author Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis uses both to brilliant effect in his novel Dom Casmurro. Narrated by Bento Santiago, this memoir looks back over a life filled with the suspicion of betrayal: Bento is convinced that his wife had an affair with his best friend, and that his son was the result of it. Though he has no real evidence to support this belief, Bento becomes so obsessed with it that, in the end, he commits crimes far worse than the suspected adultery to avenge himself. The memoir itself is a kind of justification for his actions; Bento, now alone, recreates the environment of his childhood and attempts to rewrite the facts of his life--in essence, reconstructing the past.

Among readers familiar with Latin American literature, Machado is considered a master. His novels blend black comedy with deadly accurate social commentary and an unerring perception of human psychology to create works that are brilliant, complex without being opaque, and joys to read. The Oxford University Press edition is ably translated by John Gledson and accompanied by critical essays that will help orient readers unfamiliar with Machado's work.

About the Author:

Widely considered Brazil's greatest writer, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) was a self-taught mestizo born in Rio de Janeiro who suffered from epilepsy and a tendency to stutter. But in spite of these difficulties Machado was known for his captivating, pleasant personality. In addition to writing the two most important works of Brazilian fiction, Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas and Dom Casmurro, Machado helped found the Brazilian Academy of Letters and served as its first president until his death. The Academy then gained the nickname "House of Machado de Assis." While Machado's work covered nearly every literary genre, in was in the novel where he made his greatest contribution, introducing realism to Brazilian literature and even foreshadowing modernism with his psychological focus, quirky comments outside of the plot and tendency to blur the line between fiction and reality.

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