Modern Brazilian Short Stories (Hardcover)
The seventeen stories in this anthology have been carefully chosen to provide a wide, representative range of recent and contemporary Brazilian themes and styles. The scenes vary from a nearly abandoned village or a ranch in the northeastern backlands to the streets of Rio and Sao Paulo. The characters, equally diverse, embrace wealthy land-owners, middle-class merchants, cowboys, thieves and prostitues. There is a diversity too in modd. Especially striking is the irony found in most of these stories. Characteristic of much of the best Brazilian fiction from Machado de Assis to Guimaraes Rosa, this irony tempers the underlying warmth of the stories with a certain wryness. Incidentally, Guimaraes Rosa, the giant of contemporary Brazilian fiction, is represented in this collection by an unconventional and unforgettable little masterpiece, "The Third Bank of the River." Brazilian humor is siad to be much like North American humor. In any case, it is here in abundance, variously mordant, hilarious, casual, homely, nostalgic, and, in Graciliano Ramos's story of an inept thief, almost Chaplinesque. But there is also a certain voluptuous melancholy, the much bruited tristeza brasileira. In such stories as "My Father's Hat," it blend with the humor to produce and enchantment profoundly Brazilian in ton and feeling. "The Crime of the Mathematics Professor" is a strange plunge into the mystery of a man's sense of guilt. With this sole exception, the stories in the present anthology are thoroughly Brazilian and yet, by a sort of mass literary miracle, universal. The reader may find the setting and the manners exotic at times, but he will understand the people. For there is a pervasive humanity in Brazil's best writers and, even when the "local color" is striking, they are never merely parochial. When their settings are provincial it is because the provinces are where they can see the human comedy most vividly. This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1967.
William L. Grossman, the translator, introduced Machado de Assis to American readers by his English version of Epitaph of a Small Winner. He lived four years in Brazil, where he served as a department head in a Brazilian college. At the time of original publication, he was a Professor at New York University.