Machado de Assis quotes

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Machado de Assis

Birthdate: 21. June 1839
Date of death: 29. September 1908
Other names: Joaquim Machado de Assis, Joaquim Machado

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis , often known by his surnames as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho , was a pioneer Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright and short story writer. Widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, nevertheless he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. He was multilingual, having taught himself French, English, German and Greek in later life.

Machado's works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1941, the Brazilian Academy of Letters founded in his honor the Prêmio Machado de Assis , the most prestigious literary award in Brazil. José Saramago, Carlos Fuentes, Thomas McGuane and Susan Sontag are among his admirers, and Woody Allen has expressed enthusiasm for one of Machado's novels.

Works

Dom Casmurro
Machado de Assis
Iaiá Garcia
Iaiá Garcia
Machado de Assis
Quincas Borba
Machado de Assis
The Mirror (short story)
Machado de Assis

„He felt that there is a loose balance of good and evil, and that the art of living consists in getting the greatest good out of the greatest evil.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Iaiá Garcia

Entendia que há larga ponderação de males e bens, e que a arte de viver consiste em tirar o maior bem do maior mal.
Source: Iaiá Garcia (1878) ch. 3; Albert I. Bagby, Jr. (trans.) Iaiá Garcia (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1977) p. 23.

„The greatest sin, after the initial sin, is its publication.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Quincas Borba

O maior pecado, depois do pecado, é a publicação do pecado.
Quincas Borba (1891) ch. 32; Clotilde Wilson (trans.) Philosopher or Dog? (New York: Noonday Press, 1954) p. 41.

„The best definition of love in the world is not worth one kiss from the girl you love.“

—  Machado de Assis, book The Mirror (short story)

A melhor definição do amor não vale um beijo de moça namorada.
"O Espelho", from Papéis avulses (1882); William L. Grossman and Helen Caldwell (trans.) The Psychiatrist, and Other Stories (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966) p. 60.

„How many wicked intentions climb aboard a pure and innocent phrase, after it is already on its way! It is enough to make one suspect that lying is, many a time, as involuntary as breathing.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Dom Casmurro

Quantas intenções viciosas há assim que embarcam, a meio caminho, numa frase inocente e pura! Chega a fazer suspeitar que a mentira é muita vez tão involuntária como a transpiração.
Source: Dom Casmurro (1899), Ch. 41, p. 100.

„For some time I debated over whether I should start these memoirs at the beginning or at the end, that is, whether I should put my birth or my death in first place. Since common usage would call for beginning with birth, two considerations led me to adopt a different method: the first is that I am not exactly a writer who is dead but a dead man who is a writer, for whom the grave was a second cradle; the second is that the writing would be more distinctive and novel in that way. Moses, who also wrote about his death, didn't place it at the opening but at the close: a radical difference between this book and the Pentateuch.“

—  Machado de Assis

Algum tempo hesitei se devia abrir estas memórias pelo princípio ou pelo fim, isto é, se poria em primeiro lugar o meu nascimento ou a minha morte. Suposto o uso vulgar seja começar pelo nascimento, duas considerações me levaram a adotar diferente método: a primeira é que eu não sou propriamente um autor defunto mas um defunto autor, para quem a campa foi outro berço; a segunda é que o escrito ficaria assim mais galante e mais novo. Moisés, que também contou a sua morte, não a pôs no intróito, mas no cabo: diferença radical entre este livro e o Pentateuco.
Source: As Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (1881), Ch. 1 (opening words), p. 7.

„Everything comes to an end, reader. It is an old truism to which may be added that not everything that lasts, lasts for long. This latter part is not readily admitted; on the contrary the idea that an air castle lasts longer than the very air of which it is made is hard to get out of a person's head, and this is fortunate, otherwise the custom of making those almost eternal constructions might be lost.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Dom Casmurro

Tudo acaba, leitor; é um velho truísmo, a que se pode acrescentar que nem tudo o que dura dura muito tempo. Esta segunda parte não acha crentes fáceis; ao contrário, a idéia de que um castelo de vento dura mais que o mesmo vento de que é feito, dificilmente se despegará da cabeça, e é bom que seja assim, para que se não perca o costume daquelas construções quase eternas.
Source: Dom Casmurro (1899), Ch. 118, p. 235

„Imagination has been the companion of my whole existence – lively, swift, restless, at times timid and balky, most often ready to devour plain upon plain in its course.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Dom Casmurro

A imaginação foi a companheira de toda a minha existência, viva, rápida, inquieta, alguma vez tímida e amiga de empacar, as mais delas capaz de engolir campanhas e campanhas, correndo.
Source: Dom Casmurro (1899), Ch. 40, p. 98.

„Life…is an enormous lottery: the prizes are few, the failures innumerable. Out of the sighs of one generation are kneaded the hopes of the next. That's life.“

—  Machado de Assis

A vida...é uma enorme loteria; os prêmios são poucos, os malogrados inúmeros, e com os suspiros de uma geração é que se amassam as esperanças de outra. Isto é a vida.
"Teoria do medalhão" (1881), first collected in Papéis avulses (1882); Jack Schmitt and Lorie Ishimatsu (trans.) The Devil's Church, and Other Stories (London: Grafton, 1987) p. 113.

„I even thought her heart taught me something, in spite of its inexperience, or perhaps precisely because of it, for in matters of love one unlearns with practice, and the novice is the learned one.“

—  Machado de Assis

Creio até que o coração dela ensinou-me alguma coisa, embora noviço, ou por isso mesmo. Nesta matéria desaprende-se com o uso e o ignorante é que é douto.
"Primas de Sapucaia!" (1883), first collected in Histórias sem data (1884); Jack Schmitt and Lorie Ishimatsu (trans.) The Devil's Church, and Other Stories (London: Grafton, 1987) p. 19.

„Besides, I like epitaphs. Among civilized people they're an expression of that pious and secret selfishness that induces us to pull out of death a shred at least of the shade that has passed on.“

—  Machado de Assis

Gosto dos epitáfios; eles são, entre a gente civilizada, uma expressão daquele pio e secreto egoísmo que induz o homem a arrancar à morte um farrapo ao menos da sombra que passou.
Source: As Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (1881), Ch. 151, p. 196.

„There is truly only one misfortune: that of not being born.“

—  Machado de Assis

Verdadeiramente há só uma desgraça: é não nascer.
Source: As Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (1881), Ch. 117, p. 162.

„Life is so beautiful that even the idea of death must be born before it can be realized.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Dom Casmurro

A vida é tão bela que a mesma idéia da morte precisa de vir primeiro a ela, antes de se ver cumprida.
Source: Dom Casmurro (1899), Ch. 133, p. 255

„Destiny is not only a dramatist, it is also its own stage manager. That is, it sets the entrances of the characters on scene, gives them letters and other objects, and produces the off-stage noises to go with the dialogue: thunder, a carriage, a shot.“

—  Machado de Assis, book Dom Casmurro

O destino não é só dramaturgo, é também o seu próprio contra-regra, isto é, designa a entrada dos personagens em cena, dá-lhes as cartas e outros objetos, e executa dentro os sinais correspondentes ao diálogo, uma trovoada, um carro, um tiro.
Source: Dom Casmurro (1899), Ch. 73, pp. 159-60.

„Man is…a thinking erratum, that's what he is. Every season of life is an edition that corrects the one before and which will also be corrected itself until the definitive edition, which the publisher gives to the worms gratis.“

—  Machado de Assis

Homem é…uma errata pensante, isso sim. Cada estação da vida é uma edição, que corrige a anterior, e que será corrigida também, até a edição definitiva, que o editor da de graça aos vermes.
Source: As Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas (1881), Ch. 27, p. 57.

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