The Cronicas of Machado De Assis, 1871-1878

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041353/00001

Material Information

Title: The Cronicas of Machado De Assis, 1871-1878
Physical Description: 1 online resource (81 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Ferreira, Andrea
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: 1870s, assis, brazilian, cronicas, de, literature, machado
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: THE CRcapital o circuflexNICAS OF MACHADO DE ASSIS, 1871-1878 Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) is universally recognized as the leading nineteenth-century Brazilian author in prose fiction. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture officially declared 2008 as Ano Nacional Machado de Assis, honoring the centenary of his death. Over the years there has been extensive criticism written on his most renowned novels and short stories; however, critics have generally concentrated on his later works, written after 1880. At the same time, relatively little attention has been given to Machado's output in a genre he cultivated for decades: the cro circumflexnica, a periodical composition or vignette akin to a column or topical story. The few scholarly works that have been done on Machado's cro circumflexnicas center on either the 1860s or the 1880s and 1890s; surprisingly, the cro circumflexnicas of the 1870s have been generally neglected. Both during his lifetime and since his death, Machado's work has often been criticized for avoiding important current affairs, such as slavery, abolition, and political issues. However, he did in fact articulate such views in some of the most widely read Brazilian newspapers. The aim of my thesis is to contest the view of Machado as an apolitical figure, to recast him as a thoughtful, concerned man who publicly voiced his opinions. Moreover, the study will investigate Machado's journalistic contributions from an understudied period, namely the years 1871 to 1878. Also, we argue for a more unified view of his work, contesting the traditional two-phased approach, before and after 1880. Finally, this thesis will show how valuable these cro circumflexnicas are for understanding Machado s work in its entirety, advocating a vital and much needed change in the study of his oeuvre.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Andrea Ferreira.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Ginway, Mary E.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041353:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041353/00001

Material Information

Title: The Cronicas of Machado De Assis, 1871-1878
Physical Description: 1 online resource (81 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Ferreira, Andrea
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: 1870s, assis, brazilian, cronicas, de, literature, machado
Latin American Studies -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Latin American Studies thesis, M.A.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: THE CRcapital o circuflexNICAS OF MACHADO DE ASSIS, 1871-1878 Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839-1908) is universally recognized as the leading nineteenth-century Brazilian author in prose fiction. The Brazilian Ministry of Culture officially declared 2008 as Ano Nacional Machado de Assis, honoring the centenary of his death. Over the years there has been extensive criticism written on his most renowned novels and short stories; however, critics have generally concentrated on his later works, written after 1880. At the same time, relatively little attention has been given to Machado's output in a genre he cultivated for decades: the cro circumflexnica, a periodical composition or vignette akin to a column or topical story. The few scholarly works that have been done on Machado's cro circumflexnicas center on either the 1860s or the 1880s and 1890s; surprisingly, the cro circumflexnicas of the 1870s have been generally neglected. Both during his lifetime and since his death, Machado's work has often been criticized for avoiding important current affairs, such as slavery, abolition, and political issues. However, he did in fact articulate such views in some of the most widely read Brazilian newspapers. The aim of my thesis is to contest the view of Machado as an apolitical figure, to recast him as a thoughtful, concerned man who publicly voiced his opinions. Moreover, the study will investigate Machado's journalistic contributions from an understudied period, namely the years 1871 to 1878. Also, we argue for a more unified view of his work, contesting the traditional two-phased approach, before and after 1880. Finally, this thesis will show how valuable these cro circumflexnicas are for understanding Machado s work in its entirety, advocating a vital and much needed change in the study of his oeuvre.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Andrea Ferreira.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Ginway, Mary E.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041353:00001

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2 2009 Andra Cabral Leal Ferreira


3 To my family who love s me; to Elizabeth Ginway who invested in me and in this project ; to Roberto Chauca Tapia who ins pires me to be a better scholar


4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I th ank my parents, my sister, and Roberto Chauca Tapia for all their love and encouragement. I also thank Elizabeth Ginway for believing in me and in this project, Richmond Brown and the MALAS Program for providing me with support and preparing me for an Aca demic career. Finally, I would also like to thank my professors for helping shape my future and the Latin American Collection librarians and staff for being so helpful.


5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ...............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT .....................................................................................................................................6 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION MACHADO DE ASSIS AS JOURNALIST: 1870s ..............................8 Crnicas Machadianas : Previous Studies ..............................................................................12 Brazil in the 1870s ..................................................................................................................15 2 MACHADO AND THE CRITICS: POLITICAL APATHY OR POLITICAL A FFINITY ..............................................................................................................................19 3 CRNICAS 18711878: MACHADOS TRAINING GROUND FOR IRONY ...................32 Slavery ....................................................................................................................................33 Slaves and Inheritance ............................................................................................................37 Legislative Policies regarding Slavery ...................................................................................38 International Issues .................................................................................................................41 National Politics and Policies .................................................................................................44 Local Politics ..........................................................................................................................48 4 1878: A FAREWELL TO DR. SE MANA AND ELEAZAR .........................................51 Politics, Rhetoric, and Metafiction in the Crnica .................................................................53 International Politics ...............................................................................................................57 Politics ....................................................................................................................................58 Northeast .................................................................................................................................59 Elections .................................................................................................................................60 National Politics ......................................................................................................................62 Crnicas as a Genre ................................................................................................................63 Patronage and Publishing: Limits and Barriers ......................................................................64 5 CONCLUSION .......................................................................................................................67 The 1870s and Machado as a Political/Polemical Cronista ...................................................68 Machados W ork as a Continuum: Crnicas as Training Ground .........................................73 BIBLIOGRAPHY ..........................................................................................................................76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .........................................................................................................81


6 Abst ract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts THE CRNICAS OF MACHADO DE ASSIS, 1871 1878 By Andra Cabral Leal Ferreira December 2009 Chair: Elizabeth Ginway Major: Latin American Studies Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (1839 1908) is universally recognized as the leading nineteenthcentury Brazilian author in prose fiction. The Brazil ian Ministry of Culture officially declared 2008 as Ano Nacional Machado de Assis honoring the centenary of his death. Over the years there has been extensive criticism written on his most renowned novels and short stories; however, critics have generally concentrated on his later works, written a fter 1880. At the same time, relatively little attention has been given to Machados output in a genre he cultivated for decades: the crnica a periodical composition or vignette akin to a column or topical story. The few scholarly works that have been done on Machados crnicas center on either the 1860s or the 1880s and 1890s; surprisingly the crnicas of the 1870s have been generally neglect ed. Both during his lifetime and since his death, Machados work has often been criticized for avoiding importa nt current affairs such as slavery, abolition, and political issues. However, he did in fact articulate such views in some of the most widely read Brazilian newspapers. The aim of my thesis is to contest the view of Machado as an apolitical figure, to recast him as a thoughtful, concerned man who public ly voiced his opinions. Moreover, the study will investigate Machad os journalistic contributions from an understudied period, namely the years 1871 to 1878. Also, we argue for a more unified view of his work, contesting the traditional


7 two phased approach, before and after 1880. Finally, t his thesis will show how valuable these crnicas are for understanding Machados work in its entirety advocating a vital and much needed change in the study of his oe uvre.


8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION MACHADO DE ASSIS AS JOURNALIST: 1870S Machado de Assis (1839 1908) has been the topic of countless studies of literary criticism, cultural and social history. Books on Machado seem to be everywhere, especially since 2008, the centenary of his death.1 However, few studies focus on young Machado and the literary works he produced during that period. His earlier crnicas are often overlooked in favor of those published after 1881, the beginning of his socalled mature pha se. This choice in turn, makes it seem as if Machados career started in 1880s. It is our contention that the great master was not born suddenly, but instead learned his craft over a long period of time, slowly developing his critical view of Brazilian society. In the analysis of the genre of the crnica, the mainstay of Machados journalistic work, we will also show that he is not as some have asserted, detached from the national reality, nor disinterested in the political upheavals of his time. This work then centers on 1870s so as to reconstruct the image of Machado as well as emphasize the importance of these crnicas in his opus. T here are many instances of his genius apparent in this early period, and this study challenges the traditional view of Machado de Assis as an apolitical figure by demonstrating how his early crnicas refle ct his interest in politics on local, national, and even international level s Furthermore, it will fortify the argument of how the master used the genre as training ground for his future widely acclaimed novels. Sonia Brayner, one of the first to conduct a critical study of crnicas as part of Machados opus, asserts that the experience served as a fictional laboratory for Machado ( 162). A f ew studies have shown the importance of his writings as a cronista, but those tend to either focus on the 1860s, the beginning of his journalistic career, or the 1880s and 1 Machado de Assis edite d by Hlio de Seixas Guimares and Vladimir Sacchetta, A economia em Machado de Assis: o olhar oblquo do acionista by Gustavo H. B. Franco, and Machado de Assis afrodescendente by Eduardo de Assis Duarte are just a few examples of numerous studies publis hed in celebration of what the Ministry of Culture officially declared: Ano Nacional Machado de Assis


9 1890s a period of great political change in Brazil .2 Other studies, such as Ana Mirandas Crnicas in Fif teen Themes, analyze many crnicas in few pages, and tend to generalize and overlook subtleties of the genre. Likewise, Mariana da Silva Lima in O engajamento nas crnicas de Machado de Assis also underscores the importance of his crnicas Lima hopes to spark the interest for the genre, which is admirable, yet her ambitious goals of engaging with four decades worth of material cannot be accomplished in a short essay The present study contrasts what previous critics have written, awarding Machados early crnicas the sophistication and merit they deserve. It is a first step in focusing on the important events of the 1870s and how Ma chado chose to write about them. Machado de Assis was born a poor mulatto, with very few opportunities to change his so cial status. Since he managed to achieve just that, it is easy for some scholars to be carried away by his success. Some portray him as the perfect author, whose qualities elevated him to the status of a literary genius in Brazil. Gondim da Fonseca, for instance, believes that pas algum do mundo possui homem de letras que se compare ao nosso Machado ( 15). It is also often assumed that with success comes money; hence he must have earned a lot by producing all his great novels in the last two decades of the nineteenth century. This assumption is unfounded, as we shall see. In light of what has been written on Machados supposed lack of political interest and participation, we must take into account the factors that may have limited his freedom to write as he pleased. Thus, the present study will also address the possible obstacles Machado had to deal with and the limitations placed on him. Talent was secondary to social class and capital in nineteenth century Rio de Janeiro. Jeffrey Needell describ es Machado as a man fro m humble beginnings, stating, h e was no rich 2 Jean Michel Massa and Marco Ccero Cavallini write on the 1860s crnicas machadianas ; whereas John Gledson and Gabriela Betella highlight the importanc e of the ones written in the 1880s and 1890s.


10 mans son of independent means or professional options. He was a bureaucrat who served Liberal and Conservative, florianistas and paulistas indifferently, with a nicety and skill reward ed by ne ar ministerial responsibilities ( Tropical Belle poque 193). Although Machados work as a cronista in the 1860s has been recognized as more political, as we shall see from Massas and Cavallinis works in the next chapter, his later objectivity could have come from Machado not having the authority to publish polemical pieces. Alon g the same lines, John Gledson answers the question raised by some about the motives behind Machados return to newspaper chronicles after a threeyear hiatus: preci sava do dinheiro ( A Semana 12). Although, as previously stated, he had been more polemical in the 1860s, as the political situation in Brazil became more unstable, censorship of the press could have increased. Patronage and hierarchical relationships we re but two fundamental aspects of nineteenthcentury Brazilian society, and it is quite plausible that Machado had to edit his comments and cater to a certain few. L iterary critic Valenti m Aparecido Facioli cites in a chapter on the intellectual biography of the author, during that time o jornal era, pois, veculo de interesses de grupos ou fra es de classe, a quem a ideologia li beral servia, como poderia servi r a conservadora, se isso permitisse mais facilmente a chegada aos cargos de governo e aos favores (23). C ensorship could also have been partially self imposed, since as a rising journalist, Machado had to keep within accepted parameters to maintain his salary and status within the medium. He might not have been able to write another crnica if h e did not comply with the unspoken yet clear rules. In order to underline the importance of his 1870s crnicas Chapter 1 is divided into two parts. First, it will address the problems with the previous scholarship analyzing Machados work specific ally in this genre. Second, it will shed light on the historical backdrop to these


11 crnicas This, in turn, will show how the writings by Machado pertaining to this time period should be properly understood, and how the 70s decade was a time of social an d political change in Brazi l. On the political front, C hapter 2 covers the historiography of the literature on the great Brazilian master. From the nineteenth to the twenty first century, this chapter deals with the critical misrepresent ation or unfounde d claims regarding Machados ignorance or disregard for politics There is a great variation on his supposed political partic ipation or lack thereof ; but, for the most part, critics are harsh on the writer for maintaining a distance from political events. Chapter 3 offers an analysis of his crnicas from 1871 to 1878. During this time period, Machado de Assis was known as Dr. Semana to his public at large. While trying to suggest remedies for fixing the countrys ailing political process which was su ffering from a corruption virus, Machado was writing at a time when the monarchy was being challenged by two disgruntled political parties fol lowing the Paraguayan War (186570). Here, Machado uses his pen name to reflect the prejudices of his own readership. Dr. Semana is a persona crafted by the author in order to examine slavery, womens issues, and politics at different levels. Chapter 4 covers Machados last 1878 crnicas for the column A semana and his short period under Notas semanaes. Lasti ng for less than a year, his contributions to O Cruzeiro came in a pivotal year for the author and for the country. 1878 marked the death of Jos de Alencar, one of Machados great mentors and collaborators, the return of Liberals to power after a 10year period, and Machados last crnicas of that decade. Machado could have sensed the end of his career as a cronista as seen in his most openly critical political pieces. These constitute his most polemical, and at times, most literary crnicas At this point, the c hapter addresses the powerlessness of Machado de Assis as a mulatto writer and the considerable


12 limitations imposed by the press in nineteenthcentury Brazil. We will close by analyzing a pivotal crnica written in 1878. This piece commemorat es the birth of the Republican Party and its inefficiency to work with the crown, hampering the countrys growth. Therefore, it showcases Machados interest for political affairs and the sophisticated sarcasm of his narrative. Crnicas Machadianas : Previo us Studies Cr nicas were not always taken seriously by literary critics. S een commonly as the parente pobre da famlia literria, the genre was often overlooked or under analyzed (Preto Rodas 218). As Gledson points out in the introduction of Bons di as!: crnicas (18881889) there are over 600 crnicas written by Machado, and yet these crnicas em comparao com o resto da sua obra, tm permanecido quase completamente ignoradas. ( Bons Dias 11) It is especially hard to understand the absence of any studies focusing on the 1870s crnicas if one considers the fact that out of W. M. Jacksons four volumes of Machados work as a cronista two of the volumes precisely address this time period.3 Machados crnicas from the 1870s represent approximately 35% of his output, and yet it has been overlooked. Fortunately, recent scholarship has refuted the notion of this being a lesser genre and critics have underscore d Machado s central influence in shaping the way crnicas are written. Eugnio Gomes, one of the first scholars to explore Machados crnicas as a separate genre, describes it as folhetim, destinado a comentar de maneira amena e graciosa certos fatos da semana ou do ms, tornando os assimilveis a todos os paladares; and it was read mainly by o mundo feminino, e, em consequncia, criou um ambiente de civilidade na imprensa (7). In his short book, Gomes only includes Machado s journalistic contributions from the 1890s, despite the ti tle, which implies 3 There are over 630 pages of crnicas from the 1870s in the four volumes published by W. M. Jackson, which are the most cited by scholars of the genre. It is surprising that the decade has not been the focus of other studies of the genre up to this date. Machado de Assis, Chronicas vol. 1 4 (Rio de Janeiro: W M. Jackson, 1938).


13 more general overview. Addressing the role of Machado de Assis in the appropration of the genre, Afrnio Coutinho states "em crnica de 30 de outubro de 1859, Machado de Assis, definindo o folhetim e o folhetinista, deu as caractersticas da crnica, tal como hoje entendida 4 ( A literatura no Brasil 109) It is then difficult to account for the limited amount of critical attention given to his crnicas compared to novels and short stories, since he was so crucial to the way the genre is viewed nowadays. Machado was a key figure on an infl uential genre. W hen describing the influence of this genre to national culture, Sssekind articulates crnica as a journalistic form of some importance in Brazilian literature, typically less serious than the essay, focusing on contemporary life and some t imes bordering on light fiction (111). In her eyes, c rnicas allow s this by nature, later leading Machado to portray daily life so well in his acclaimed novels. Massaud Moiss situates the crnica in more artistic terms. In his view, a crnica oscil a entre a poesia e a reportagem (111). Focusing on how Machado used this writing form, Moiss delves deeper into the specific way in which the writer presented his work as a cronista. At large, Moiss believes that a estrutura das suas crnicas obedece, genericamente, ao mesmo padro: ao comeo, as notcias da semana que merecem relevo pelo impacto causado ou pelo tipo de leitor a que se destinavam; por fim, os comentrios (111). Such comments, political or polemical one way or another, became the trademark of Machados crnicas Recently John Gledson and Gabriela Betella both have done work highlighting the importance of Machados newspaper columns. Yet by stressing on his work from the 1880s, they miss Machados perspicacity in earlier journalisti c pieces. Gledson, for example, mentions how the nineteenthcentury author tenta situar as cr nicas no seu momento hist rico, often 4 In this volume, Coutinho offers a thorough account of the genre, tracing its early ancestrais ilustres, como Scrates (106) and describing its changes as it was incorporated into the Brazilian literature, 105 123.


14 defining the events and circumstances that shaped a certain decade ( A Semana 12). Then, he offers a more political Machad o by ascertaining: se h uma histria para contar que ligue as crnicas como um todo, ela baseia se na reao de Machado cena poltica e social que o cercava (12). In spite of the fact that Gledson does not speculate about how Machado might have gaine d his critical view of the world surrounding him via the crnica he g enerally portrays the author as a man in tune with the politics of his time. Betella extends the argument of Gledsons earlier work on Machados crnica. She repeatedly refers to Gled sons work, and some of the historical background offered in her text is directly extracted from the same sources as Gledson. Overall, she does make her case for the importance of Machados crnicas toward the end of that century, but she does not conside r the possibility that Machado had had years of training in his newspaper publications a decade before that might explain his deftness and wit. Yet Betellas work can be commended for tracing the origins of the genre and how it was transformed by Machado s style and commentaries. She successfully underlines the difference in interpretation of the word crnica amongst European nations and how it came to be associated with journalism in Por tugal and Brazil (37). Likewise, Betella points out how, especiall y after Machado, crnicas came to be de um estilo despretensioso, todavia profundamente elaborado na narrativa, disfarand o at o carter srio e crtico (44). The issue here is that she implies Machado adopted an ironic style and a sudden interest in p olitics only in the 1880s. Betellas work is valuable for heightening the importance of the genre in an overall study of Machado. However, it fails to offer the whole picture of his development as a writer, the limitations imposed on him by patronage, and his interest for politics and politicians from earlier days. In general, the studies by Gledson and Betella tend to center on a later date, when pivotal


15 political events such as abolition and the overthrow of the monarchy were taking place in Brazil. Nonetheless, it was much earlier that Machado took an interest in politics. With corrupt elections, political divisions, and poorly administered governmental institutions, Machado could make 1873, or any year for that matter, seem as if it were a crucial time for Brazil and its citizens. This was part of the talent and appeal Machado de Assis possessed and it is exactly what we aim to show in our analysis. Brazil in the 1870s This study focuses on Brazil in the 1870s because it was a crucial time for p olitics, which were definitely of interest to Machado. His crnicas reveal new political tensions deriving from a growing distaste for monarchy, together with the incipient interest in posi tivism and republicanism. H istorian Thomas Skidmore holds that t he elite generation reaching maturity around 1870, three generations removed from their forebears who broke with Portugal, were too young to identify automatically with their emperor or their empir e (65). The notion of empire and slavery being tied toget her in what he terms slavocracy brought discomfort to the younger members of the new elite. Times were changing for the emperor, and for Brazilian society as a whole. Machado registers and describes political disputes in a way that makes it hard to understand how his previous biographers did not take his cronista phase more seriously. The 70s decade was turbulent, at best. In a period when Dom Pedro II was flirting with abolition, it is quite understandable that he would lose popularity among some me mbers of the elite who saw change as a threat to their economic and social stability. European events and ideas often influenced the crown in Brazil. In 1870, for instance, Victor Hugo gathered a group of French intellectuals and together they wrote the emperor, Dom Pedro II, urging him to abolish slavery immediately (56). Consequently, in his speech from the throne a year later the emperor acknowledged Hugos letter and promised to work toward abolition (56). In such a


16 setting, Machado had more tha n enough political material to work with, and so he did in his own subtle way. Since the official end of the African slave trade in 1850, Brazilian society had been tried to either maintain the current number of slaves or to find an alternative form of l abor (Viotti da Costa 168). Discreetly pushing to modernize the nation, Dom Pedro II was very much aware of the backwardness associated with slavery. In The Party of Order Jeffrey Needell dedicates an entire chapter to the significance of 1871 to Brazil ian politics and society at large. Needell supports the idea that the emperor wished to pass a particular abolitionist law which would signify Brazils participation in Civilization and Progress while posing the least threat to imperial society or the economy (307). In order to achieve this goal without fomenting feelings of betrayal from pro slavery politicians, the emperor needed to distance himself from the next step toward emancipation. Anxious and cautious, Dom Pedro II wanted to be free of any e vidence of resp onsibility for his intervention (283). In a clever move, the monarch traveled to Europe. The year of 1871 is then crucial to Brazilian society due to the passing of the Law of the Free Womb With the monarch physically absent, a Conse rvative Cabinet, headed by Rio Branco (18714), launched a series of reforms of which the most important was the emancipation of children born of slave mothers (Viotti da Costa 189). As Barman points out, the passage of this law, enacted during his [the monarchs] stay in Europe, had further enhanced both his personal reputation and the international standing of the country he ruled (240) I t is precisely at this moment that Machado de Assis begins to find ways to comment on the political problems of hi s time. According to Needell, the Brazil that emerged from the war with Paraguay (1 8651870) was already different; the war had been longer than expected and shook the monarchy at it roots. Thus, t he Paraguayan War caused great distress to the crown an d


17 brought great distrust of the emperors ability to deal with the changing times Having a decisive effect on political party alignments, the war would eventually lead to a new manifesto bei ng issued by Liberals (Skidmore 64). This manifesto, in t urn, would give way in 1870 to the foundation of the new Republican Party, which set out to put an end to Brazil as an Empire. On the ideological front, the monarchy was being challenged by republicanism and abolitionism. Republicanism was not a new idea in Brazil it had flourished in the early 1830s but thereafter had become a matter of individual belief, one not systematically propag ated or even publicly expressed (Barman 241). As a new generation of political leaders and military personnel came to the forefront, republicanism was revived along with doubts of whether monarchy, with its accompanying socioeconomic ethos, was the best system for their country (Skidmore 66). On the one hand, Barman argues that the emperor simply did not take the republi can movement in Brazil seriously; the monarch saw republicans as children playing at being adults, a fantasy permitted and indulged but not to be confused with the realities of life (243). On the other hand, Skidmore defends that republican ideas a rose because Dom Pedro II, once the unifying symbol of the Empire, was now physically and psychologically weaker (66). Either way, we see the foreshadowing of the fall of the monarchy in Machados 1870s crnicas Along with his journalism, we seek to deepe n the understanding of this decade since it served as a dress rehearsal to the political upheavals that would surface during the late 1880s, forever changing Brazil. The last and perhaps most influential ideology to land in Brazilian soil duri ng the midnineteenth century was positivism. As Skidmore states, the French philosopher, Auguste Comte had developed a dogma that was particularly admired by the younger army office rs of the Rio Military Academy (66). Adopted by the Brazilian youth, especially in the ranks of liberal


18 professions and military officers, the doctrine would literally become the banner for the new Brazilian government, with its motto of Order and Progress. These would be men amongst t he leaders of the newfound R epublican front In the last decades of imperial Brazil, political parties were constantly dealing with its changes in membership. Emlia Viotti da Costa successfully summarizes the situation: In the decade before 1870 staunch members of the Conservative party had broken away from their traditional loyalties and joined the Liberal party, whereas many devoted Liberals left their party to create the Republican party in 1870 (161). T he eroding power of the crown supporters led to the victory of these positivist military men who would eventually overthrow the Brazilian monarchy in 1889. It is already in the 1870s that we see the seeds of future events. The discontent with the emperor after the Paraguayan War, the crowns increasing acceptance of abolition as a route to moderni ty, and the power of these new ideologies amongst the middle sectors of the young urban elite, all contributed to the end of imperial rule in Brazil. As we will show, the crnicas of 1870s reflect Machado as an active and engaged commentator; a man interested in the party politics, local elections, international issues, and events surrounding political process and the crumbling monarchy.


19 C HAPTER 2 MACHADO AND THE CRIT ICS: POLITICAL APATH Y OR POLITICAL AFFIN ITY Literary criticism, since the 1990s has f ocused on Machado de Assis reception by critics and the general public during his lifetime when his literary genius was not unanimously recognized. The description of Machados personality and an ever changing interpretation of his work seem to follow ce rta in patterns and waves. In the 1890s Machado was portrayed as a rather timid, distant, apolitical figure. Yet, a century later, he is now seen as more social and politically interested than previously believed It is fair to say that many critics hav e recognized Machado de Assis poli tico but with limitations that merit correction. By shedding light on his earlier crnicas we will attempt to make these corrections, and consequently help recreate Machados image as a politically interested and sociall y connected writer In order to see how Machados journalist ic writings worked as a canvas for his criticism of Brazilian society and politics, the present chapter gives a summary of key critical works that address Machados political views. In 1897, the renowned literary critic, Silvio Romero, was the first to publish a harsh criticism of Machado de Assis. While defending the literary production of the Brazilian Northe ast region, Romero chose to berate Machado, for he was the figure that most represented the South. He refutes all the praise and positive reviews written on Machado and instead he offers a fault finding view of the writer and his work, criticizing his elitism and his lack of Brazilianness. Therefore Romero proudly goes against the grain. The nordestino critic advocates a better understanding of the alienated author, referring to Machado, to arrive at a better understanding of his works. Romero completely disregards the decades the great author dedicated to newspaper crnicas He descri bes Machado as de uma natureza sem turbulncias, sem audacia, sem


20 grandes lutas internas, sem preocupa es sociais, inundada de uma incurvel indiferen a (52). Despite his unfounded comments, the way in which Romero carefully refutes other critics comp arisons of Machado to Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky, is daring and original. Consequently, he is successful at underlining the possibility of the critics holding Machado to an excessively high standard. A more positive and appreciative review is pub lished in 1934 by Alfredo Pujol In Machado de Assis Pujol formulates a more widely encompassing view of the master. His sources include Machados first sketches and compositions, his short stories, poems, novels, crnicas and literary criticism. The critic states how vivendo em meio a liberais ele [Machado de Assis] no se deixou contaminar pela infec o da poltica (20). In spite of including crnicas machadianas in his work Pujol only sees these as one dimensional. He does not see beyond the a pparently frivolous tone Machado carefully constructed to disguise his harsher critiques. Celebrating the centenary of Machados bir th in 1939, Lcia Miguel Pereiras book, Machado de Assis: Estudo Crtico e Biogrfico, continues to be pivotal for Machadi an scholars. The book was written to understand both Machado and his work while defending a more psychological approach to the great master. His crnicas are not neglected by the critic who consults no fewer than thirty seven newspapers and magazines, including Gazeta de Notcias A Marmota, Dirio do Rio de Janeiro, and O Cruzeiro Pereira may have been the first to demystify the apolitical portrait of Machado that had been previously drawn by others. She states that ele sempre foi fiel aos princpio s democrticos, mesmo depois de abandonar o jornalismo politico (77). After highlighting the importance the Dirio do Rio had in his literary life by forcing a shy and introverted Machado t o face the public at large, Pereira names him an


21 adversary of the aristocracy. For her, Machado was a man interested in politics yet less interested in making his political sympathies openly known. Also in contrast to the harsh criticism of Romero, Brito Broca offers a much more amiable portrayal of the author in his 1957 work. In Machado de Assis e a poltica, Broca recognizes and defends Machados involvement in politics as well as his general concern for the well being of the country. His sources include scattered crnicas taken from Dirio do Rio de Janeiro A S emana, and also O Cruzeiro The masterpieces, Dom Casmurro (1899) and Quincas Borba (1891) are overused as sources T he emphasis on the novelist undercuts the significance of the other genres in establishing Machados attitudes. In other words, critica l articles and crnicas are placed aside and seen as of lesser value when trying to recreate Machados persona. Brito Broca is successful at presenting situations in which the author expressed his political opinions or concerns. Whether on the topic of t he Paraguayan War (69), ridiculing os escravocratas (65), or addressing the political dramas of that time (105), Machado always found a way of putting in his two cents; even if discreetly. Likewise, Pe regrino Jnior praises Machado i n his 1958 article Vida, asceno e glria de Machado de Assis. The book commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of Machados death, and its four articles represent a shift in the scholarship on the great master. In his article, Peregrino Jnior describes the new qualitie s being assigned to Machado, allowing for a shift from an absent or serious Machado to a more light hearted and social ly engaged. Although the rags to riches theme is clearly stated i n the essays title, the article features an entire section dedicated to Machados stance on Brazilian politics, economics, and society. By accentuating these interests, Peregrino Jnior contributes to a new, more socially active and charis matic image of the great master.


22 In this same celebratory volum e, Cndido Mota Filho also makes his contribution to the literature on Machado. Entitled Machado de Assis, escritor brasil eiro the article deals with the concept of nationalism in his works, and how the term was associated with the master as a person. Mota Filho shows Macha dos concern for Brazil and Brazilians. Perhaps due to his privileged upbringing and worldly experiences, Cndido Mota Filho fee ls compelled to compare Machado to great Western writers in order to praise his literature. The sense of nationalism and interest in politics is judged in comparison to European writers as opposed to Brazilian ones, as if the former were superior. The article, nonetheless, accounts for the subtle ways in which Machado showed signs of his political interest. The critic defends t he idea that os fatos histricos, como a aboli o, quedas de ministrios, a Guerra do Paraguai ou a queda do Imprio esto refletidas em temas comuns, cotid ianos (53). Candido Mota Filho understands Machados interest in politics to be based on how poli tics affected Brazilians, and not how Brazilians shaped politics. Soon after, Raimundo Magalhes Jnior published Machado de Assis: Funcionrio Pblico (1958). Following in the footsteps of Broca and Peregrino, he addressed Machados political involvement not only through his writings, but also in his role as a civil servant. His objective is to offer a different picture on Machado; not only as an exemplary writer, but also as an exemplary worker. Magalhes Jniors main contribution stems from drawing parallels between Machados political views in short stories and crnicas to his actions as a civil servant. Furthermore, the critic divides Machados public career into two distinct phases: the monarchy and the republic. The first phase is where the mas ter was the most productive, and also where Magalhes Jnior documents Machados mature research and developed writing abilities. This, in turn, aids the claim we are trying to make for the departure from the twophase approach to his


23 literature; here it will be shown how his crnicas from 1870s already contained the sophisticated traces that would award him the title of great master later on. Following Magalhes Jniors lead and introducing Machado de Assis as a professional of many traits, Josu Montel lo studies Machados presidency of the Acadmia Brasileira de Letras. His book O Presidente Machado de Assis ( 1961) examines papers and documents previously neglected. A twentypage manuscript, a diary, and previously unseen correspondence, are all part of this new se lection of material Montello had found. He closely analyzes Machados multiple letters to recreate his personality and interests. This correspondence includes his exchanges with literay historian Jos Verssimo, abolitionist Joaquim Nabuco, and writer Mrio de Alencar. In this process of recreating Machado de Assis image, Montello neglects the writers political concerns. It is rather difficult for us to imagine that none of the letters make s a single political remark; ironically Nabuco w as a leader in the abolitionist move ment and Jos Verssimo was quite interested in literature and politics as well Certainly, had Montello consulted Machados crnicas he would have had to change his point of view. Yet, it is important to note that Mo ntello, as the president of the Academia Brasileir a de Letras, was more focused on Machado as an institution, rather than Machado the historical person. Also in 1961, Montello wrote and published another book on Machado de Assis, cleverly entitled Memria s Pstumas de Machado de Assis His intent is basically the same, to create a fair image of Machado de Assis and to guarantee his position as the greatest Brazilian writer of all times. Yet, he makes distinctions in source selection this time, dividing p rimary sources into crnicas short stories, novels, letters and theater. Montello mentions that Machados published commentary on Canudos inspired Euclides da Cunha to produce his masterpiece, Os Sertes.


24 The critic can now see how Machado fazia polti ca sem ser pol tico (21). Here he begins to recognize the writers subtle style, alth ough he does not take it much further in this study. In 1968, Gondim da Fonseca published Machado de Assis e o Hipoptamo in order to show his discontent with Machados misrepresentation by other biographers. Fonsecas methodology is based on Freudian psychoanalysis, and his aim is to get even closer to the true Machado de Assis. He planned on writing the ultimate biography as suggested by the books subtitle: uma biografia honesta e definitiva, a ltima palavra sbre Machado de Assis Other than Machados published works, the critic investigates family data in various documents, including his birth certificate, marriage licenses, obituaries, correspondence, baptism re cords, etc. Books from the National Archive and a photo of his death mask add to this ric h array of material. Yet, c rnicas are nowhere to be seen. Following his portrayal of a weak, shy, and stuttering Machado de Assis, he offers unapologetic criticism of the authors works from a Freudian point of view. However, insightful documents with regards to Machados family members are useful in reconstructing his youth and adulthood. Unfortunately, Fonseca stops there, and fails to appreciate the value of Machados crnicas both for their disguised appr oach to politics and their sophisticated narrative style. In his second attempt at unveiling Machado de Assis to the public Magalhes Jnior published Machado de Assis desconhecido in 1971. Here M agalhes Jnior plans to reveal further the aspects in Machados life and work that remained in obscurity despite an increase in scholarship on the great master. Setting himself apart, the critic reconstructs a politically involved Machado de Assis. Despite usin g the same sources he used on his first book, Magalhes Jnior looks at the material with a different agenda in mind. The critic sets out to do what he failed to do on the first attempt: uncover the jornalista poltico within Machado (71).


25 He even goes as far as to say that poltica no fim das contas, uma das obsse es literrias de Machado (82). Furthermore, the critic defends the ideas that just because Machado de Assis left his liberal journalistic past behind it does not mean he lost his inte rest in politics. In fact, Magalhes Jnior argues that Machados criticism of Brazilian customs and institutions has political meaning and direct relevance to the political world. In the same year, Jean Michel Massas biography entitled A Juventude de Machado de Assis describes Machados route to maturity. Dealing with the period from 1839 to 1870, Massa strives to be the first to do an intellectual biography of the master. His research started as a literary study, but it later grew to encompass a m ore histori c approach to literature Amalgamating a biography and critique of Machadian literature, Massa gives an account of the authors youth, focusing on the masters life exper iences and on the work that resulted. Most of Massas critical material was extracted from Catlogo de Jornais e Revistas do Rio de Janeiro, ranging from 1808 to 1889. Additional sources include Catlogo de Plantas e Mapas da Cidade do Rio de Janeiro to trace Machados whereabouts and give a better picture of what his life mu st have been like. His b irth certificate, family wedding licenses, personal correspondence, and both Machados published and unpublis hed writings are consulted as well To his credit, Massa uses travel accounts, international correspondence and newspaper to recount how the world viewed Machado then. Massa first portrays a youthful, vigorous, and politically interested Machado de Assis, who is eager to make his mark. Yet, at the end of the book, all this enthusiasm gets hampered by a profound disillusionment with Brazilian society and politicians. Unfortunately, Massa simply does not have a clear foundation to his argument that por volta de 1870, Machado de Assis, num momento particular de sua existncia, atravessou uma crise de moralismo (616). The c ritic views crnicas as a less significant genre and Machados political


26 involvement as ephemeral; it had come and it had gone. Yet, we will show how this political interest did not die in the 1860s. Where Massa leaves off the 1870s is precisely wher e we pick up our own thread of Machados journalistic writings. Along the lines of Massa, but mostly covering a mature Machado de Assis, Raymundo Faoro writes what has become a standard text on the author in 1974. Depicting Machado as very politically interested and even involved, Faoro studies his novels, short stories, and crnicas and concludes: forte a presence em sua obra dos partidos polticos as marcas polmicas se fazem sensveis pela ironia ou pela mofa encoberta. Com ar de zombaria diz as coisas srias, sem a cor viva ou vermelha das reivindicaes (67). The distinction to be made between Faoros Machado de Assis: a pirmide e o trapzio and other works on the topic is the vast background information on the political situation in Brazil a t the time Machado was writing. It thus offers a completely new perspective to the master, showing the complexity of his narrative and exposing all its layers. Faoro often refers to Machado as o cronista as opposed to labeling him novelist or great master. As he points out, o jornalismo poltico tem um grande papel na fico de Machado de Assis (72). Machado wrote for newspapers for most of his adult life, and Faoro may be the first to highlight the fact adequately. Another outstanding contribution f rom Faoros work was underlining Machados ability to write about people from all social classes. The master could realistically and hence successfully narrate the life of a baroness as well as the ambitions of a mineiro from humble beginnings .1 Three yea rs after Faoros insightful publication, Roberto Schwarz helped spark the new trend in Machadian scholarship. The latter writes on the clash of European liberal ideology and institutional conservatism in Brazil, and its influenced Machado as a writer and as a person. 1 The baroness portrayal was based on the actual baronesa dos Santos; Rubio is the main fictional character in his 1891 masterpiece, Quincas Borba


27 Therefore, Schwarz goes a step further and actually analyzes the political tensions present in Machados work. In his 1977 book, Ao vencedor as batatas the critic dedicates a chapter to the importance of paternalism in Brazil and its presen ce in the Machados early novels. Schwarz tends to follow the traditional division of Machados criticism into two phases: the young and political Machadinho, followed by the mature and wise Machado de Assis. The young Machado havia adotado idias liber ais e assimilara a retrica do progresso e da igualdade (63). Where as the mature Machado, after being deeply disillusioned with realismo, j agora s faltava a desiluso da desiluso: desiludir se tambm do conservantismo paternalista (65). In genera l, Schwarz had mostly positive contributions in reshaping the image of Machado and his work. Looking at his political statements in ea rly novels, the critic shows a carioca writer concerned with social mobility and equality An other recognized work on the great master is Machado de Assis: O enigma do olhar by Alfredo Bosi. Written in 1999, the book is born out of Bosis insatisfao cognitiva e desconforto moral with critical studies up to that point (10), It centers on Machados novels and short stor ies, and aims at understanding the Machadian perspective through the eyes of the narrator. Bosi expresses great interest in the way Machado addressed social classes in his writings. In Machados works a situao matriz sempre o desequilbrio social, o desnvel de classe ou de estrato, que s o patrimnio ou o matrimnio poder compensar (76). Bosi offers a thorough study of the multilayered and complex Brazil ian society painted in Machados narratives, where t he moral and social status of the indivi dual always mattered. However the crnicas are not represented. Had Bosi made use of Machados journalistic contributions, his conclusions could have led to unifying his work into a single oeuvre, and it could also have


28 reflected more of the writer s political concerns. The book, however, complements both Faoro and Schwarz for having examined the great masters interest in social classes and politics. Richard Grahams 1999 Machado de Assis: Reflections on a Brazilian Master Writer includes a relevant article on crnicas by Sidney Chalhoub. The essay points toward Machados intentions in writing and his paternalistic view of society. Primary sour ces include Machados masterpieces and other articles by the famous author. Chalhoub studies primary sour ces by Machado and other secondary sources with a specific goal in mind: to prove how Machado de Assis believed that whenever they act as agents of their own history, subordinates are said to ch eat their masters (83). The essay shows Machados view of t he possibility of using the rules against the rulers, and offers a more socially conscious picture of the master by defending the need for a more political reading of his masterpieces. In a 2005 study on the genre of political crnica Sidney Chalhoubs article A arte de alinhavar histrias addresses precisely what Bosi omitted: Machados newspaper publications. The crnicas machadianas tackled by Chalhoub are, for the most part, the hardest to interpret and understand. He finds ways of getting close r to the meaning behind these journalistic publica tions, mainly through the analysis of pseudonyms and the writing traits of each His sources include John Gledsons work on Machado, as well as that of Roberto Schwarz and Raimundo Magalhes Jnior. While the critic overlooks lighter themes present in crnicas Chalhoub makes the point that Machado deals with temas da corrup o e das tenses entre governo central e provincial (79). Yet, solely by presenting such political crnicas the author possibly m isleads readers into believing that Machado wrote only in a critical fashion. In fact, many of his crnicas were light hearted and frivolous, often proud and complimentary to the Rio de Janeiro he knew In other words, Chalhoubs selection exaggerates Ma chados political


29 involvement and also presents a less carioca Machado. This not wit hstanding, the critic verbs the pseudonyms used by the author, and the char acteristics associated with them thus offering a great contribution to the study of Machado as a cronista. In the second part of Histrias em cousas m idas there is another study of Machados crnicas by Marco Ccero Cavallini, entitled Monumento e Poltica: Os Comentrio da Semana de Machado de Assis. As Cavallini states, his goal is to describ e a experincia de Machado de Assis na imprensa poltica atravs das crnicas, focusing on the 1860s (300). The article contests the view of young Machado as politically disinterested, as previously posed by Jean Michel Massa. His analysis is based on earlier secondary publications, including the works of Gledson, Massa, Nabuco, and Magalhes Jnior. Primary sources other than Machados early crnicas include pamphlets and some correspondence. Most quotes stem from Dirio do Rio de Janeiro Jornal do Commrcio and Actualidade Despite Cavallinis exclusive focus on Machados political writings and crnicas the article offers a different side of Machados youth, giving a more political tone to his early works. The critic shows that besides being inte rested in politics, Machado was also interested in the way politics would be viewed in the future by historians and critics. In this thesis we tackle the same subject, crnicas and politics, yet we plan to continue his study into the following decade, the 1870s. Most recently, an enlightening article by Dain Borges focuses on Machados political concerns. The Revelevance of Machado de Assis aims at showcasing the rebirth of Machado in the Brazilian intellectual arena as well as the new wave of recogn ition for the great masters work. On Machado and politics, Borges quotes thoughts extracted from the biographical works of Faoro, Chalhoub, Schwarz, Gledson, and Caldwell. Borges assigns a more active stance to the author with regards to political matte rs. Even when he seemed disinterested, the author was


30 actually purposefully acting that way. As stated in the article: Machado deliberately hid most of his political opinion, knowing how dangerous it could be to his career (236). Reflecting Schwarzs view, Borges believes Machado was aware of the hierarchical construction of nineteenthcentury Brazilian society and the central role patronage played in this setting. Furthermore, Borges traces the changes in Machados imagery as a public figure, from ti mid and sickly man to the great master of Brazilian literature. In 189 0s, as Romero suggested, Machado was criticized for not defending abolitionism and being too distant from the political and social realities of Brazil. Nowadays, according to Borges, M achado is celebrated as a clever and thoughtful critic of slavery, who used his sarcasm to express his thoughts to those that could follow him there. Even though Borges is successful in explaining the newfound relevance of Machado, more focus on his newspaper contributions would have better supported his view of a more politically inclined and concerned Machado de Assis. Although it is difficult to generalize, Romero focuses more on literary aspects, Lcia Miguel Pereira on psychology, and Broca attempt s at balancing both. Later studies by Bosi, Faoro, Schwarz among others are more theoretical, illustrating new trends of literary criticism. What emerges from this picture is the general lack of in depth study of crnicas On the one hand, literary criti cs such as Pujol attempted to analyze the genre, but they did so only in a superficial manner. On the other hand, historians have placed a greater focus on crnicas polticas yet they omit Machados literary facet and the connection between them. A s stated in the introduction Massa and Cavallini focus on crnicas machadianas from the 1860s while Gledson and Betella study those from the 1880s and 1890s. Yet here we have researched a period generally overl ooked by previous scholars, even by those wo rking on his


31 youth.2 In the chapters to come, we will explore his 1870s newspaper chronicles, measuring Machado de Assis view of p olitical events, while appreciating the sophistication and political acumen that often lie below the surface of his seemingl y ephemeral observations of daily life. 2 In Por um novo Mac hado de Assis (2006) Gledson mentions having worked on the crnicas published in 1877 and 1878 with Brazilian scholar Lcia Granja However, the study was never published de to differing interpretations; Gledson confesses that a idia de edit las todas em poucos anos, em equipe, infelizmente no deu certo devido a divergnc ias (20).


32 CHAPTER 3 CRNICAS 18711878: MACHADOS TRAI NING GROUND FOR IRONY In this chapter we will examine Machado de Assis crnicas published beginning in 1871, the year of the passing of the Law of the Free Womb and ending in 1878. Here we expl ore Machados development of a political voice and interests in the issues of slavery and justice. Although written under a pseudonym, his newspaper columns generally refute the image of an apolitical and apathetic Machado put for th by his harsher literary critics throughout the years, as we have shown on the previous chapter Machados superb writing talent did not flourish overnight. As Cristiane Costa has said it best in her article on young Machado, the apprentice of journali sm, he could ascend socially and culturally only by entering the great halls of literature through the service entrance of journalism (296). In other words, Machado has become one, if not the most respected novelist in Brazil; yet it must not be forgotten that it all started in the periodicals, and his commentary on the daily lives of cariocas This same analysis would one day aid him in constructing the famous and infamous characters of his later masterpieces.1 Politics were without a doubt the most f requent topic Machado de Assis discussed in his weekly, biweekly, and monthly columns of crnicas Whethe r addressing local, national or international affairs the first being the most common Machado always felt the need to write about politics. Despi te the use of the sarcastic comments and an ironic undertone that would later become his trademark, Machado de Assis always makes his way to the topic of politics present in almost every crnica he wr ote during this period. My goal is to give a context to these events and show how Machado develops his critiques. 1 Machados acclaimed novels, which some scholars use in diving his work into two phases as we will see later, include: Memrias Pstumas de Brs Cubas (1881), Quincas Borb a (1891), Dom Casmurro (1899), and, in the year of his death, Memorial de Aires (1908).


33 Under the crnicas in Badaladas and using the pseudonym Dr. Semana, the cronista explores politics, slavery, gender inequality, and nationalism, among other politically charged themes. Under thi s pseudonym, Machado frequently analyzes Brazils political scene, either pointing his finger at specific politicians and mocking political rhetoric, or criticizing the electoral process and political debates. It should be noted that Machado writes not under any pseudonym but specifically, Dr. Semana, a well to do m an who is relatively unaware of his own contradictions and prejudices, much like his readers. It is important not to confuse Dr. Semana with Machado de Assis, who, although a supporter of the m onarchy, still tirelessly pointed out the contradictions of his own society.2 Although Gledson asserts that Machado pertencia a uma tradi o liberal monrquica ( A Semana 16), the writers political inclinations did not stop him from criticizing all politicians, liberal and republican alike. His crnicas were often based on mocking politicians; it was what Machado did best and seem to enjoy doing most. Dr. Semana is a persona or mask through whom Machado makes his point. By giving Semana the title of doctor he succeeds in conveyi ng the idea through his persona, that Machado is there to cure or at least to diagnose societys ills. The choice of name may also symbolize the idea of nobility and education in Brazil, where in order to obtain respect a m an would need to have some form of higher education attesting to his status and wisdom. Slavery Based on the 1870s crnicas it becomes clear that Machado takes a highly critical stance on slavery, condemning it at every turn, defending the position of the subaltern slave every 2 Although a strong liberal in his early days as a cronista Machado slowly shifted toward a more neutral political stance. By doing so, he would not suffer political pressures to write a certain way and also be free to criticize whomever he pleased. As Jeffrey Needell states in A Tropical Belle poque he became a liberal monarchist who expressed opinions with an increased reserve (193).


34 chance he gets. A careful reading of each crnica reveals how he moves from portray als of individual domestic slaves, inheritance rights to legislation such as the Law of the Free Womb and the Lei dos Sexagenrios covering both individual cases to those involving political legislation. While Gabriela Betella claims in her study that Machado is critical only in his later phase, his voice is very sharp from the beginning regarding the treatment and social position of slaves althou gh perhaps not as subtle as some of his later crnicas As we shall see, his clever depiction of a master freeing an elderly slave is comparable to his famous May 19th 1888 crnica about another slave owner who prides himself on freeing a slave published in 1876, before the official declaration of Abolition. In a crnica dated October 22, 1871, via the persona of Dr. Semana, Machado begins by focusing on politics in France,3 yet seems to be cautioni ng the reader not to involve oneself mindlessly in the a ffairs of that country.4 He quickly turns events to the story of a hapless monkey in Rio de Janeiro. Clearly, Machado thought that readers, while aping everything French, should not ignore important issues at home. As Dr. Semana tells an anecdote inv olving an immoral lawyer who has his good friend the priest over as a guest in his house, one quickly perceives parallels with slavery. The lawyer brags to his friend about his talented female monkey who serves him: Eu tenho uma macaca admirvel a qual me serve como um criado, lava os co pos, pe a mesa, abreme a porta ( 14). The lawyer, as a member of the urban upper middle class would clearly have domestic slaves 3 After the fall of Nap oleon III in 1870, France was in a period of distress and chaos. In his praised book Quincas Borba Machado de Assis draws on the French mishap when creating Rubio, the protagonist. As Haberly states in the introduction of the version translated by Gregory Rabassa, Machado carefully sets up a series of interlocking emblems of imperial pretension. The mad Rubio believes he is Napoleon III, who was surely a second rate imitation of his glorious uncle, a real Emperor. (xvii) Rubio is a displaced char acter not made to withstand the pressure of conforming and transforming into a member of the elite. He is then a reflection of Brazil, who is not ready to, nor ever will be, to transform into a European nation. In Quincas Borba by Machado de Assis ( New Yo rk: Oxford University Press, 1998 ) 4 All the crnicas by Machado de Assis cited in this chapter were extracted from Chronicas vol. 3.


35 working inside his house. Here Machado criticizes the elite for being slave owners, and then by adding the priest, he indicates the Churchs support of the institution. He sardonically says Trapaceia como puderes, d a tua facadazinha, e fica certo de que escapars da morte eterna mediante uma ora o Virgem a receita mais barata que se conhece (14). Any sin committed by the slave owner may be automatically forgiven. Machado clearly did not approve of the practices held by the urban elite at the time. In a final irony, Machado de Assis makes his point by having the lawyer get upset with the monkey because she will not obey. After the monkey hides and refuses to come out of a vase, the priest gets furious and shouts: Besta infernal, sai para fora, e d parte de Deus, te mando, que declares quem s Respondeu a macaca que era o demnio (15). Finally the monkey confesses that it has been waiting for the priest to stop praying in order to fulfill its divine mission, namely, to take the priest to hell. This relatively early crnica reflects Machados views on a controversial subject by telling a fantastic tale of a talking monkey, who, as it turns out, is Gods own messenger sent to censure the injustice of slavery and those who condone it. In a crnica dating October 20, 1872, Machado uses the voice of Dr. Semana to demonstrate how he supposedly educates his moleque or young male slave, an interessante com panheiro de doze anos (33). Curious about elections and politicians, the moleque states that ser deputado ento uma coisa muito superfina (33). The narrator goes on to agree, adding that elections are like magic, avultam em a mbas as visualidades e tramoias (34). Therefore, the masters explanation to his charge is based less on ideology and more on the magic tricks created by those in power. Especially through t he use of the last adjective, tram ias th e author paints politicians as devious and selfish members of society. This is only an introduction to Machados distaste for the electoral process. Through the years, as we shall see, he continues to


36 poke fun at and highlight the failings of the corrupt electoral process, in which slaves and women have no voice. As Machados confidence grows as a cronista he tackles issues of slavery and political topics in his crnicas Some of his most clear and outspoken comments come from his December 29, 1872 column in which Dr. Semana refers to a slave, Celestina, his cook, who happens to know more about politics and science than her own master. He comments, A minha cozinheira Celestina atreveu se h dias a explicar a trovoada ao meu moleque (47), as if such knowledge were beyond her reach. In other words, because she can explain thunder, the master believes she may also be able to explain another difficult phenomenon: politics. Dr. Semana concludes: Ora, se a cozi nheira Celestina podia assim explicar a trovoada e comentar a natureza, entendi que alguma coisa podia el la dizer igualmente de poltica (47). This is an odd scenario for the time, with one slave teaching another about science and politics, which, Dr Se mana believed, warranted a natural reaction of surprise or disbelief, so he asks readers not to torcer o nariz and then explains: porque da cozinha pode nascer uma boa idia (48), referring to the possibility of slaves having more knowledge than their owner, since those at the lower ranks of society have to be attuned to societys workings and contradictions than those of higher rank. In this light, the cook, immediately points out the pretenses of her master to which those involved with the process are blind. In referring to her masters voting habits she states : que faz meu amo na elei o? Vota num homem porque tem o nome comprido, e esse vota noutro porque tem o pescoo curto. Ora, meu amo, que tem as costas largas, fica como se no tivesse voto (49). Here the slave woman recognizes the automatic advantage of those politicians wi th long names and elite lineage and that her master, like many, votes for the wrong reasons.


37 Furthermore, by referring to the slave owner as having costas largas imp lies that he, like most voters, is unable to see corruption and unfairness caused by voting such candidates into office in the first place.5 Slaves and Inheritance Machado de Assis tackles the issue of inheritances left to women and slaves in wills. On N ovember 15, 1876, he describes how a white middle class citizen, Santos Almeida left a controversial will with $300 milris6 each for quatro mul heres brancas das mais mundanas (143144), or prostitutes, which sparked quite a bit of interest. However, his will draws even more attention by leaving a sum of $500 mil ris to his slave, Jos da Silveira. Also known as Geitoso, the master states in the will that his slave was the one who deserved the largest single sum. Machado comments on the fact that th e general public seems to disapprove of the gift to his slave while accepting the much more bizarre inheritance left to prostitutes. Along similar lines, on August 1, 1876, Machados crnica praises an Italian immigrant who died, leaving large sums of mone y for his slaves. Luiz Sacchi had a very creative burial, according to Machado, wanting others to celebrate his death and not to mourn for him. Instead of wasting money on an expensive casket and tomb, Sacchi was deemed to be quite original: dividiu a fortuna entre os escravos, deixou o resto dos parentes, embrulhouse na rde e foi dormir no cemitrio (96). T he shocking part of this funeral, it is later stated, is not being buried in a net, but the large sum of money left for the slaves. Yet, looki ng at the content of this crnica more critically, it becomes clear Machado is also portraying a slaveowner who 5 The term costas largas can also refer to a strong slave, or even be representative of a slave who has been whipped t oo many times yet refuses to bow down. 6 Delso Renault in O dia a dia no Rio de Janeiro segundo os jornais ( Braslia: Civilizao Brasileira 1982) states that an old slave was bought for $200, as well as that to rent a slave one would pay from $5 to $6 pe r month. It was then quite a large sum to be given to any person, especially a poor black man.


38 sympathized with his slaves to the point of wanting to be buried as one. On funeral rites in nineteenthcentury Brazil, Joo Jos Reis points out that few could afford to be buried in coffins, which were generally u sed merely to transport bodies (133). Reis further investigates funeral ceremonies, studying the case of a black woman from Mozambique and the supposed son of an African king. When describing the first circumstance, the historian describes how the funeral was attended exclusively by women, with the exception of two men who carried the body in a hammock (145). On the burial of the African prince, Reis states how the corpse was carried in a hammock covered with a funeral clot h (146). Therefore, it is safe to assume that most of the individuals buried in a hammock were either poor whites, not the case of Sacchi, or former slaves who held a certain status. Machado may just be trying to illustrate the universality of death, and how passing judgment on a person sympathetic to slaves no longer matters to the deceased. Legislative Policies regarding Slavery O ne of the most outspoken and politically charged crnicas by Machado is dat ed September 15, 1876, when he uses his own voice boldly and unapologetically to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Law of the Free Womb: de interesse geral o fundo da emancipa o pelo qual se acham libertos em alguns municpios 230 escravos (129). But his commemoration is short lived in that he soon notes that it is in s em alguns municpios! (129). Yet the author already foresees abolition and voices his hopes, declaring esperemos que o nmero ser grande quando a libertao estiver feita em todo o Imprio (129). This crnica clearly demarcates a new and more direct phase master who adds: A lei de 18 de setembro fez agora cinco anos. Deus lhe d vida e sade! Esta lei foi um grande passo na nossa vida. Se tivesse vindo uns trinta anos antes, estvamos em outras condies. Mas a 30 anos, no veio a lei, mas vinham escravos, por contrabando, e vendiam se s escancaras no Valongo. Alm da venda havia o calabouo. (129)


39 Despite his hopes for the future, Machado felt the need to be wary. He often hoped for the better, but as he points out, the country did not follow the liberal track. As Betella notes, as did Roberto Schwarz before her, Machados 1878 novel Iai Garcia does not end with the triumph of the lower class but deserving female character: Machado no escreveu este livro e o pais no foi nessa direo. Da a insistncia de representar o fracasso ou o sucesso do projeto social brasileiro (129). He knows that one must expect the worst and fight long and hard to change long he ld traditions and institutions. The author remains skeptical finding a certain man among his acquaintances resists change. The upset man confesses: Hoje os escravos esto altanados, costuma ele dizer. Se a gente d uma sova num, h logo quem intervenha e at chame a polcia. Bons tempos os que l vo! Eu ainda me lembro quando a gente via passar um preto escorrendo em sangue e dizia: Anda, diabo, no ests assim pelo que eu fiz! Hoje... (129) Machado mocks the mans longing for the good old days whe n he mistreated slaves and kept his own slaves in line. Referring to him as a poor man (129), Machado pities the slave owner s ignorance and resistance to change. From this point forward, more courageous than before, Machados comments and newspaper pu blications tend to be more openly polemical, less subtle, since he no longer bothers to cover up his stance on slavery. In his June 15, 1877 crnica Machado continues to exercise his criticism of society in a crnica purportedly celebrating a slave owner who freed his elderly slave, without receiving any compensation. Here Machado foresees the SaraivaCotegipe Law, or the Lei dos Sexagenrios, which would take effect in 1885, giving freedom to slaves over 60 years old. Describing the situation, Macha do states that the man had uma escrava de 65 anos, que j lhe havia dado a ganhar sete ou oito vezes o custo. Fez anos e lembrouse de libertar a escrava de gra a. De graa! (230) The absurd notion that this was seen a good deed, after the slave had


40 given him a lifetime of servitud e, obviously bothers the author. Yet, he seems wary that some of his readers would agree with him instead of noticing the sarcasm in his comments. Writing in an intriguingly ambiguous way, Machado portrays himself as the nononsense kind of slave owner still quite common at the time. This is exactly the point of view of a later crnica the famous May 19, 1888, in which Machado portrays another dogooder, a man who frees his slave before the official declaration of slavery, offering him a pittance for his services, while punishing him more than before as he is now a paid worker. 7 In the same crnica Machado pushes the irony still farther by using biblical verses as if to justify the good deed. He then describes the masters true agenda to portray himself as a true gentleman an enlightened modern soul, a civilized human being. By using the Christian idea that in acts of charity the right hand should not know what the left hand is doing, Machado describes how the man s left hand travou da pena, molhouse no tinteiro e escreveu uma notcia singela para os jornais, indicando o fato, o nome da preta, o seu nome, o motivo do benefcio (230). I t is clear that the slave is too old to work, but the master gets credit for he r freedom, and it is no t a real sacrifice on the masters part.8 To the masters dismay, this is exactly what the newspaper editors thought about the story, and in the end, he laments it was not published. It could also be Machados stab at editorial cen sorship and control of the press, which we will address on Chapter 4. The following two sections center on local, national and international political affairs. Roberto Schwarz dedicates an entire chapter to Machados subtle parody of misplaced ideas 7 Although Betella claims that this type of irony is present only in Machados later crnicas (101 114), here we see a much earlier example, in the same tone. 8 If a slave was too old or sick to work, it would be to the owners benefit to free the slave so as not to have to feed him/her any longer. Slaves tended to multiple chores, but if the cost of feeding a slave exceeded the benefits, the slave owner would r id himself of the slave.


41 by which Brazil thought of itself as a liberal democracy, and its elites justified their policies as if it were not a peripheral country whose econom y was dependent and slave based ( Misplaced Ideas 19). Thus Machado comes back to the issue of Brazilians losi ng sight of local happenings and accounts for the wider themes hindering nation building. Topics in his crnicas then range from illiteracy and political corruption, while suggesting the need for electoral reform and a broader vision of the nation. Beginning with international affairs, we will then discuss Machados views of national issues, corruption, and his own increasing disillusionment as a newspaper columnist International Issues Machado devotes considerable space in his column to international a ffairs mostly to comment on their relevance or lack thereof to Brazilian reality. The latter is reflected in the tone of his October 27, 1872 crnica in which Machado criticizes the exhaustive coverage given to Rome by the rival paper O Jornal do Comrc io At the time, Italy was going through what Susan Ashley called Disappointed Hopes (200). The historian believes the instability of both main political parties, Destra and Sinistra, took over center stage and the masses were forgotten. Ashley mentions how, in 1870 half the citizens in provincial capitals, and close to three quarters in all other communes, were illiterate (22). Yet the new Italy was about to be united, and despite the chaos, Rome and its other urban centers were making a move towar d unifying its parts and, most importantly, searching for a national identity. In response, Machado de Assis calls for the discussion of national issues, declaring: tanto me romanizaram que eu penso em vestir a toga quando evergo a casaca!(41) Because of changes taking place in Italy, Machado confesses his own head is spinning, nevermind his readers: No me admirar, pois, se o leitor tambm andar atarantado com estas transformaes. A culpa no minha nem dele, da poltica (41). Furthermore, Mach ado insists that h de


42 haver diferena entre eles e ns (42), indicating Machados increased frustration with the constant comparisons made between Brazil and other nations. On the one hand, it reveals that Machado was aware that Brazil was at the peri phery of world affairs, and also shows he believes in a we, i.e., Brazil as a nation. It is precisely in th is decade that Machado publishes his articl e Instinto de nacionalidade, in which he tackles the b eginnings of a national literature. Written in March 4th, 1873, Machado states: quem examina a atual literatura brasileira reconhecelhe logo, como primeiro trao, certo instinto de nacionalidade. ( Obra Completa vol. 3, 801). Consequently, he believed that Brazilian literature would flourish and defended the idea of it having a certssimo futuro (809). Brazil was, for Machado, in the process of defining its own national culture This international focus recurs later in August of 1876, when Machado appears to criticize the new constitution in T urkey. Through the voice of Dr. Semana, he criticizes the new religious tolerance for Christians living in that country, stating : alegre se quem quiser; eu fico triste. Machado is mocking political hardliners, via Dr. Semana who adamantly insists that a country should stick with one point of view, standing by it come what may. To offer greater detail on the historical background of Turkey in 1876, we shall quickly visit the events that made it prominent enough to be mentioned by Machado. After France had been defeated by the Prussian Empire in the war of 18701871 and the balance of power in Europe had been altered, famine and floods gave way to disastrous famine over parts of Turkey. Thus, the crisis that developed in the 1870s was economic as much as it was (or became) political (Zurcher 7172), and the Ottoman Empire was in great danger of crumbling to pieces. However, these events would only add to the chaos Turkey was about to endure.


43 In 1876, the year Machado wrote his crnica on the topic, all the misfortunes that nation suffered would culminate in political chaos First, there was a coup detat, deposing Sultan Abdulaziz in May. The succeeding ruler, Murat, was also deposed in September of that same year due to alcoholism and numerous ne rvous breakdowns. Finally, after Ha mit, also know as Abdulhamit II came to power a new constitution was promulgated. This is precisely what Machado exposes in his column. In this new constitution, all subjects were now granted constitutional rights ( 74), and as a consequence of the unstable and weakening leadership, Russia saw an opportunity to strike and declared war on the weakened Ottoman Empire. With Turkey becoming more lenient with Christianity Dr. Semana states, se isto no o fim d o mundo, o penltimo captulo (95). Here Machado can be understood to mock the rhetoric of those conservatives who, in Brazil, act as if political reforms or the end of slavery are equivalent to end of the world; perhaps the end of their world Thus, while ostensibly commenting on international politics, Machado brings the issues closer to home, again beginning to wield that double edged sword that is normally associated with his so called segunda fase This comparative point of view holds true when Machado r eflects on the political process in other nations. In his crnica dated April 15, 1877, Machado advocates publishing political debates immediately so that the general public can follow the arguments He defends the intelligence of the average Brazilian, stating that every citizen has the righ t to know about policy issues: Tratando se agora da publicao dos debates, lembrarei ao parlamento que o uso, no s na Inglaterra ou Frana, mas em todos os pases parlamentares, que se publiquem os discursos todos no dia seguinte. Com isso ganha o pblico, que acompanha de perto os debates, e os prprios oradores, que tm mais certeza de serem lidos. (209)


44 In Brazil, the political system was extremely dependent on the emperor as well as on the political party t hat controlled the cabinet, thus allowing for a rather closed political system.9 While comparing the Brazilian parliament to those of European nations, Machado may have wanted to highlight the unfairness and abuses of having a closed political system in B razil. The writer seems to be concerned about the Brazilian public at large and their ignorance toward what political debates are taking place in the Brazilian Congress. National Politics and Policies Naturally, an open political system such as the o ne mentioned above, depe nds on a literate electorate. O n August 15th, 1876, Machado brings up the controversial and much avoided topic of widespread illiteracy. According to the Imperial census of that yea r, 70% of Brazilian men voted, and, as Machado poi nts out this is the same percentage represents the number of illiterate s in Brazil 70% Since only a small percentage of the country was eligible to vote, this number is most likely not impressive.10 Machado remarks how as instituies existem, mas por e para 30% dos cidados (103). 70% of the 30% of the people who are literate and eligible to vote do not represent such a high number after all The author, then, uses the example of illiteracy to criticize society as a whole. Education is an institution for the privileged, as are most others, while the poor and those in bondage are left behind. In this example, we see that Machado never ceased to remark on the minimal attention given to the lower classes and the lack of criticism regarding the corrup tion of those on top. 9 Richard Graham, 18591870 in Bethells Brazil: Empire and Republic 1822 1930 describes the system as having a faade of liberal measures protecting the rights of political opponents, maintaining the freedom of the press and attempting to ensure the honest counting of the votes (139). 10 Nancy Stepan points out that even 25 years after Machado wrote this crnica Brazil entered the twentieth century formally a liberal republic, was governed informally by a small largely white elite and in which less than 2% of the population voted in national elections; a society in which the majority of people were black or mulatto and could not read or write; in which, though there was a technical separation of church and state, Catholicism had considerable cultural influence; and in which democratic liberalism was seen by many intellectuals as irrelevant or harmful to Brazils future. The Hour of Eugenics: Gender, Race and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1991) 37.


45 In conjunction with the governments assertion of the high percentage of participation in elections, Machado proposes another radical idea: the enfranchisement of women. Machado de Assis opens up the year of 1877, arguing for women s right to vote in Brazil, suggesting that voting law s be changed: venha, venha o voto feminino (200). This is in deed quite a thought, since wome n did not gain the right to vote in Brazil until 1928,11 yet Machado is fond of pointing out societys contra dic tions exaltation of womens high moral character coupled with their lack of power to determine elections. In an earlier crnica dating October 20, 1872, Machado addresses a nearly invisible double standard, i.e., the distinct treatment men and women r eceive at their funeral s marked by different number s of rings by the church bell. Um defunto um defunto (36), the author muses, suggesting there should be no distinction between them since we are all one and the same, especially after death. As Mach ado states: No h necessidade, penso eu, de indicar aos fregueses da paroquia o sexo do cristo que cessou de viver (36). Here he is commenting on the differences in treatment afforded men and women, pointing out societys hidden contradictions and soc ial distinctions that are too often taken for granted.12 On the national scene, Machados sharp eye focuses on other societal contradictions, the differences between North and S outh, and the symbolic importance of celebrating national independence. In 1876, Machado notes how a respected historian decided to challenge the authenticity of o grito do Ipiranga, advocating a rather banal and more realistic scenario for 11 For furth er information of the topic, consult June Hahners article "Feminism, Women's Rights, and the Suffrage Movement in Brazil, 1850 1932," LARR 15, no. 1 (1980): 65 111. Here, Hahner address the historical develop ment of women's rights activities in Bra zil f rom the mid nineteenth cen tury through the 1930s and the achievement of women's suffrage. 12 Machado writes a story in 1884, As Academias de Sio, in which he has the male protagonist trade bodies with a female concubine for six months. Thus, gender iss ues are also of interest to Machado. Bosi goes so far as to surmise that Machado, like his early female protagonists of his first phase, is finding the key into the white, male dominated world. See Alfredo Bosi, A mascara e a fenda in Machado de Assis: enigma do olhar


46 Brazilian independence. The author confesses: Minha opinio que a lenda melhor do que a histria autntica. A lenda resumia todo o fator da independncia nacional, ao passo que a verso exata o reduz a uma cousa vaga e annima (116117). Advocating the myth, Machado de Assis criticizes the historian who claims o grito to be false. Here, the author show s the importance of myths and legends to the formation of a sense of nationhood. During the same year, 1876, he turns to the problems of elections and governance of such a large country. He announces: agora, o que ainda mais grave qu e tudo a eleio, que a esta hora se comea a manip ular em todo este vasto Imprio (127). Since elections were synonymous with manipulation and dishonesty, Machado lamented the electoral process. Being such a vast country, Brazil always pose difficult ies to being ruled by a central government, to having the law enforced and the people heard. The outcome is the election of local coronis through violence and corruption. To understand better the local political situation in distinct regions of the count ry, we shall refer to Nunes Leals Coronelismo, Enxada e Voto. Therein, Leal combines the three aspects here involved, the landowner, the worker, and the vote. Leal describes the power struggles of the countryside: o coronelismo sobretudo um compromis so, uma troca de proveitos entre o poder pblico, progressivamente fortalecido, e a decadente influncia social dos chefes locais, notadamente, dos senhores de terra (270). After throughouly defining the term, the author trained as a lawyer, proceeds to focus on the colonial period, where a representao era limitada ao governo do municpio, e na estrutura social, muito simples, da poca dominava incontrastavelmente a nobreza rural sobre a massa informe dos escravos e agregados. Furthermore, Leal cont inues to describe coronelismo all the way to the voting urns, the place where desavenas dos potentados chegaram a derramar sangue nos embates eleitorais (240).


47 Therefore, Machado was not exaggerating when he describes the electoral process as a corrupt and often violent event. In another 1876 crnica Machado returns to a growing problem within the electoral process: the manipulation of the voting urns: O que verdade que em vrios pontos ... a urna foi despejada no rio (134), portraying it initially as if it were a tragedy. Then, he states ironically: e bom ser que s vo aos rios as urnas com cdulas, since that way the urns with the votes would then be lost. Machado arr ives at a final conclusion that o pior se chegamos perfeio de mandar c om as cdulas os mesrios (135), since that way, the election monitors would also be lost down river. Machado shows the whole process of voting to be corrupt, since the mesrios are most likely in cahoots with the coronis Thus, the ideal ending, acc ording to the author, would be to discard the corrupt mesrios along with the votes, thereby putting an end to corruption. At the end of 1876, Machado focuses on an absurd attempt to hold an election held in the city of Corumb, Mato Grosso, in Brazils ce ntral region, where there is only one eligible voter. So, Machado starts to describe that crucial day in this persons life. His fictitious but realistic account is filled with ironies, and offers a sharp criticism of the whole electoral process. The ab surd situation of the man in question is that he is both the election monitor or mesrio and lone voter. By 1878, Machado puzzles over national policy, wondering if the cabinet will be dissolved, since he sees grave consequences for the drought stricken N ortheast Aware of this problem, he comments with some relief that foi agradvel saber que as chuv as j caem no interior do Cear (303). Machado sees a clear distinction between that region and the one he resides in the Southeast. He poses the questio n, ns temos o recurso de no morrer de fome;


48 mas eles? (303). Here despite his usual jovial tone, Machado inserts a serious note about national and regional differences about the political maneuverings in Rio and the catastrophes taking place in Cear In an earlier crnica Machado also refers to historic events in other states. His October 15, 1876 crnica follows the trend by having as its main theme fortieth anniversary of the Guerra Farroupilha in the southern region of the country.13 The fact th at the state of Rio Grande do Sul declared itself an independent state in 1836 initiating a long and costly civil war appears to be a theme to ponder, yet Machado cuts himself short, stating, a revoluo rio grandense foi o facto culminante da quinzena ( 130). Although he may imply that it is to be thought about, he never loses perspective by glorifying the past, comparing the revolution to outros bicos dobra, in cidentes dignos de contemplao (130), namely current events affecting the ev eryday life of cariocas Here, while addressing Rio Grande do Sul, Machado could be hinting at the regions revolutionary tradition and the diminishing importance assigned to its insurrections in the capital, Rio de Janeiro. Local Politics Local events affecting the daily lives of cariocas are of constant concern to Machado, especially medical issues and epidemics, such as yellow fever. It is not so much because of the developments in medicine and science, but more based on the way the government and other institutions dealt with such problems and crisis. For instance, on the 2nd of March 1873, he exposes the hypocrisy of Franciscans, monks who are supposed to help the sick in their hour of need (67) According to Machado, they are the first ones to call for help, but do not help the 13 As described by Bethell, in September 1836 the farroupilhas proclaimed the independence of the province under a republican government (71). The revolt Machado refers to in his 1876 crnica then, stems from this culture of separation that had taken place in the beginning of the century.


49 people themselves out of fear of being infected. Franciscans had denied the sick a place to stay in order to save something as sublime as God himself: their own skin. Mocking the cowardice of the monks, Machados Dr. Semana requests th e counsel of his cook, the wise Celestina, and, with the younger boy at her side, she shows no fear of the disease and recommends drinking lemonade to stave off the illness. Machados September 15, 1876 crnica also addresses a protest about lack of stre et pavement held by residents of the Laranjeiras neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro. Commenting on the nature of the event he states, no se pode ter tudo nome bonito e calamento; dois proveitos no cabem num saco. Contentem se os moradores com o que tm e no peam mais, que ambio (121). Clearly Machado mocks the fact that despite the neighborhoods pretty name, it will n ot get the sidewalks it deserves. In his study of Rios neighborhoods, David Cardeman states that em 1868, a regio foi ligada ao Centro pelo servi o de bondes puxados por burros deslizando sobre trilhos, cujos passageiros eram sacrificados at ento com o pssimo cal amento das ruas (144). The historian also describes the flocking of middle class citizens to the region so as t o be closer to the train tracks. It is worthwhile to note that Machado actually lived in this neighborhood at the time he wrote this crnica. As reported in the municipal magazine Rio Estudos em 7 de dezembro de 1875, Machado promovido a chefe de sec o da Secretaria de Agricultura e se muda para a Rua das Laranjeiras n. 4, em Laranjeiras (7). He is then advocating a right he has as a resident of Laranjeiras and as a citizen of Brazil; the right to live in a place with proper infrastructure. Machad os cynical tone stems from the futility he sees in complaining about municipal issues that in all likelihood will not be addressed or changed. Laranjeiras was a better neighborhood to live in than the northern regions of the city, without a doubt.


50 Being clever and talented, Machado managed to constantly state his more polemical and political opinions in ways that would not affect his journalistic career. Yet, perhaps out of his growing comfort and confidence as a cronista, came his more bold and outspoken crnicas of 1878. As we will see in the next chapter, the year was marked by crucial political and social changes in Brazil, and Machados newspaper contributions reflect this fact.


51 CHAPTER 4 1878: A FAREWELL TO DR. SEMANA AND EL EAZAR In the middle of 1878, Machado de Assis offered his last contributions as Dr. Semana, for Semana Illustrada and started publishing his crnicas in O Cruzeiro s Notas Semanaes. The latter only lasted from June to September of that year. Machado wrote under the pseudonym of Eleazar, and presented a more refined and fluid style. The name Eleazar1 could be said to have derived from the word azar, which in Portuguese means bad luck. Continuing with his pessimistic view and ironic approach to news and events, Machado de Assis becomes even more involved with the political world around him during this period. As Eleazar, the great master still poked fun at the chaotic electoral system, criticized the government, and commented on the deplorable situation of the Northeast region. Writing for different newspapers under separate editors with distinct restrictions was a peculiar and new experience for Machado as a journalist. It is important to try to understand the particularities of each stint at different period icals. The year is also important because it marks the end of an era for Machado. Not as yet unanimously recognized as a celebrated writer this would only happen after Memrias Pstumas (1881) he may have still be dependent on patrons. With the dea th of Jos de Alencar, came his last crnica of the 1870s. For the author, leaving the daily p ress was akin to placing a bet (Costa, 568). Although Machado worked as a funcionrio publico, and his income did not solely come from newspapers, he probably would have to live in a financially restricted manner if he abandoned the press, but this could be his way out of the possible limits imposed on his writing by editors. After years and years of censorship and patronage based publishing, he would be free to speak his mind, at last. 1 The name Eleazar comes from the Hebrew for he whom God helps and refers to the son of Aaron. As quoted on the Bible: And the Lord said unto Aaron, Thou and thy sons and thy fathers house with th ee shall bear the iniquity of the sanctuary: and thou and thy sons with thee shall bear the iniquity of your priesthood (Number 18: 1) Therefore, Eleazar was to be the keeper of the faith as his father had been.


52 Therefore, 1878 was a remarkable year for Machado de Assis and his career. The crucial difference between this new phase and his earlier newspaper contributions would be bolder criticism, coupled with a better sense of his sur roundings and responsibility. In truth, Machado is no longer afraid of being more confrontational. While writing more polemical comments, he may have learned about what can and cannot be touched on by a journalist during that time. Most importantly, the re is a noticeable change in the light overtone many of his previous crnicas had carried along the years. The mature Machado de Assis begins to tempt further censorship by shining light upon certain social and political issues being faced by the nation i n the second half of the nineteenth century. As Dr. Semana became Eleazar, the sometimes trivial comments were replaced by political comments stemming from a need to inform the general public, to inspire them to be familiar with and get involved in the p olitical life of Brazil as well as the lives of Brazilian politicians. His love affair with the latter is present in this 1873 commentary on the life of a senator and also exemplifies what was labeled by his critics as Histrias de polticos. Bosi said it best: h avia em Machado de Assis um gosto acent uado de contar histrias de pol ticos. No so poucas as crnicas em que falou de parlamentares do passado ou seus contemporneos ( Brs Cubas em trs verses 53). Machado gracefully managed to comment mockingly, on politicians, the policies being advocated by them, and the political system in Brazil. Therefore, the first item under discussion will be an older crnica but very much symbolic of his transition to becoming a more openly critical cronist a ; this is just a sample written five years earlier that would become more common place as Machado felt more at home in making his criticism toward Brazilian politics and politicians.


53 Pol itics, Rhetoric, and Metafiction in the Crnica Machado makes use of his considerable rhetorical skill to parry with political blowhards and the corruption of politicians. We begin to see Machado move from word play to more brutal metaphors of swordplay and violence as he comments on political struggles, suggesting a growing disillusionment with the political scene. He also begins to question his own role as a cronista or commentator on political events in the late 1870s as the newspaper relegates him to commenting on events less frequently in shorter columns. On March 2 1873, Machado openly attacks Senator Jobim. Assuming the role of Montesquieu, he writes from beyond the grave as he would one day do in Memrias Pstuma de Brs Cubas (1881), in order to criticize a speech the politician had given shortly before. Ironi cally, we have found that the French philosopher was also fond of anonymity as critic DAmbert states in a preface to the complete works of the French thinker: Notwithstanding the success of this work, M. de Montesquieu did not openly de clare himself the author of it (vi vii). Machado de Assis could have sympathized with the man because, he too, perhaps thought that by this means he would more easily escape the literary satire, which spares anonymous writings the more willingly, because it is always the person, and not the work, which is the aim of its darts ( vi vii ). Emphasizing the common ground with his French counterpart, Machado also pretends to be Montesquieu for the Frenchman became known for bringing justice to the forefront of political system by his famous articulation of the theory of separation of powers. Assuming the voice of Montesquieu, Machado first criticizes the senators not quoting him properly, then thanks him for broadcasting his beliefs, but finally censures him for not attrib uting those words to the philosopher: S. Excia. honra me muito fazendo suas as minhas palavras, mas era justo citar o meu nome, e bem assim transcrever me fielmente ( Chronicas 3:54). Machado, through his impersonation of Montesquieu, continues to mock the senator


54 saying seja como for, no se pode negar o mrito do discurso (55). Here Machado criticizes the senator because although convincing, he uses the age old speech poorly. In the end, politicians can say what they please to gain votes or win an argument. On the topic of corruption and politics, Machado continues to provoke those in power in the same crnica In a more subtle tone, while writing about clothes and fashion, the author takes another shot at politicians. He highli ghts their ficklen ess in party affiliation and their general unreliability. He opens with remarks about the popularity of wearing hats. He mysteriously confesses never having seen a single crime involving hats: no constava na poltica um s crime do chapu (64), and lat er it becomes clear that chapu and casaca are sartorial codewords to talk about the political process. In Brazilian Portuguese especially when referring to politicians, vira a casaca means switching sides, c hanging political stance just like to a t urncoat in English. Machado discloses his perception of government by taking advantage of this popular expression to criticize political opportunism. Then he enigmatically remarks that neutralidade na poltica era tal que os homens viravam a casaca, mas no consta nunca que mudassem o chapu (65). Thus, Machados parting shot is that the hat or ideas, always remains in the same place in contrast to the ever changing coat or political affiliation In contrast with this light and amusing wordplay, Machados rhetoric becomes exceedingly darker on one occasion. On December 1, 1877, Machado closes the year underlying the disorder to which national politics were no stranger, but this time using metaphors involving bloodletting struggle or sangria, which they then rush to clean up: Da um ou outro arrufo, que d em resultado uma ou outra sangria; imediatamente caem em si e reconciliam se. No tenho outro modo de explicar eleies renhidas entre partidos reconciliados. Estripam se por


55 higiene (289). S o, the only meaning Machado can gather from the fighting and reconciling amongst different parties is the taste for excitement. Finall y, he pokes fun at the idea of trying to cleanse the political arena, since politicians can hardly be concerned with hygiene since they are morally unclean, i.e, corrupt. Later that year, Machado refers to an actual election that resulted in bloodshed: a eleio na Glria, onde foi um pouco vermelha. Correu sangue!2 He goes on to remark that uma eleiao sem umas gotinh as do lquido vermelho equivale a um jantar sem as gotinhas de outro lquido vermelho. No presta; palido; terne ; sem sabor. Here he mocks political process whereby bloodshed is as natural with politics as wine is to dinner. On top of that, the author sarcastically remarks how violence is well received and even craved, and how it makes for good entertainment: quando chega a morrer algum, minha opinio que a e leio fica sendo perfeitissima (309). Here Machado is mocking the system as much as criticizing the normality of such a violent, bloody, and arbitrary event. Finally, Machado de Assis turns to metafiction in writing his crnicas i.e., writing about the act of writing. He recognizes that through the literary genre of the crnica he can v eil his controversial opinions. In November 1877, he confesses that no posso dizer positivamente em que ano nasceu a crnica ; mas h toda a probabilidade de crer que foi coeta nea das primeiras duas vizinhas (273). Machado presents the genre as rather superficial and apolitical, more akin to gossip than reporting. This is precisely what he wants some to believe, since for a mula t to author to speak so critically of the government, policies, politicians, and slavery, he needed to make sure the powerful individuals who dominate society are soothed by the idea of his 2 Violence was common at the ballot box a s Bethell confirms by stating that during the empire, voting in elections was open (and oral). Fraud, intimidation, violence, and the exercise of patronage by local landowners and agents of the Crown were widespread. Leslie Bethell, Politics in Brazil: From Elections without Democracy to Democracy without Citizenship Daedalus v. 129, n. 2 (Spring, 2000): 127, 4.


56 comments being nothing but gossip. His talent was based on the ability of constructing statements that could be taken both ways. Again, we see Machado sharpening the skills he would use so su ccessfully in later crnicas and in novels like Memrias Pstumas de Brs Cubas .3 Even in 1878, Machado continues to publish his crnicas under a pseudonym. After announcing a crise ministerial, the author uses the nonchalant air associated with the ge nre, stating that nossos leitores sabem que esta folha estranha poltica; e portanto, no esperam de mim nenhuma indicao ou apreciao no que r espeita a substncia dos fatos ( Chronicas 4:297). By denying that he will touch on any controversial topics, Machado is paradoxically ensuring that he will continue along the same lines, reassuring his public that he has not changed. In February 1878, Machado protests the fact that he would not be able to publish his ideas as frequently. Newspaper editors had decided to change his column from biweekly to monthly. So, the author complains about the possible staleness of his news, since he may have to comment on something that may seem out of date or even been covered too much. He boldly advocates that um fato de trinta dias pertence histria, no crnica proclaiming that he will be writing about his tory instead of current events. The fact, once again, serves to demonstrate the limits imposed on Machado by those in power. Given the choice, he would much rather write weekly columns, yet he was not the one pulling the strings. By taking a close look at the topic of the last crnica in the previous year and the first contribution for the year of 1878, we can at least allow for the possibility of a growing problem surfacing between Machado and his publishers. First, the author tries to make his contributions look frivolous, but suddenly, he is allotted only half of the space he once had to write his 3 Betella claims that: Machado j escrevia crnicas dominando o procedimento narrativo frvolo, irnico, por vezes cnico. A grande vi rada poca da produo das Memrias Pstumas foi de ordem ideolgico ( 63), yet years before a similar ideology is already seen.


57 column. Machado de Assis may have foreseen this ch ange and the previous crnica was an attempt to salvage his post in the newspaper world. Despite these ill tides of change, Machado continued to publish, as we will see in the following section. Yet, he would be forced to take a three year hiatus from bei ng a cronista starting in 1878. By first switching to write for O Cruzeiro then vanishing for a while, Machado has left many questions unanswered; assumptions can be drawn on these events connecting them to a perhaps greater editorial censorship. Never theless, during his final year, he still continues to speak boldly about politics in neighboring Argentina, the drought stricken Northeast, elections in Rio, and national politics. In addition, he also reflects on the role of the crown, the imperial goals and the emperors frustration, in a more philosophical way. These reflections give us a fuller picture of early Machado as a writer. International Politics On August 18th of 1878, while Machado opens his crnica with the faulty and corrupt process of ch oosing a candidate in Brazil, he decides to address politics in Argentina. By doing so, the author is attesting to his political interests not only within the country but also abroad, in a neighboring new country. This, in turn, leads to the conclusion t hat Machado was a lot more interested in areas outside of Brazil, early on in his life, than has been previously noted. In this piece, the author narrates the political drama taking place in the neighboring country of Argentina. There is a revolution in Corrientes after both Brazil and Argentina have disputed ownership over the land during the War of the Triple Alliance.4 The public reacts fiercely to this event, which leads Machado to a final and surprising conclusion: o que excita o 4 As James Scobie states in Secondary Cities of Argentina the combat between Argentina and Brazil brought war and disgrace over this city and became a major conflict that held Corrientes in its vortex for several years (63) after Paraguay pressed Argentina to place troops around that area.


58 contribuinte o s imples facto do transtorno politico (141). Yet, it should be noted that Machado draws a comparison between Brazil and Argentina at a time when doing so would have been very controversial. The War of the Triple Alliance ended only eight years earlier and its effects were still being felt amongst Brazilians. The pangs of a difficult victory over Paraguay caused great wounds to national pride; these wounds would eventually aid the eroding confidence in an imperial Brazil. Politics On the 13th of June, 1878, Machado de Assis publishes a revealing stance on politics (4:38) .5 Here, he openly disapproves of the apolitical attitude of politicians unaffiliated with a party when referring to the neutros da polti ca, que no so peixe nem carne (39). This poli tician could be said to be galinha, which means chicken; and in nineteenth century Portuguese it could carry the meaning of a sickly, pale individual. If he accuses them of not really having much character or livelihood, it suggests that he felt it was important to choose a side in a political argument, even if you were to change your mind later. It is important to have a say, and Machado made sure his readers knew where he stood in the issue of indecisiveness. Although many biographies have painted Ma chado as a disinterested, politically distant figure, clearly he not only had a political point of view, but also thought it was important to take a stance on an issue. His next crnica continues to follow on the track of national politics, but now the co nversation with the reader centers on the Parliament and its role in life. According to the master, its main function is to abrir nos os olhos. Yet Machado knows how the public continues to be blind. For him, the parliamentary tribune is nothing but uma simples poltrona 5 From this point forward, all crnicas quoted come from the fourth volume of Chroni cas


59 de magno (57), implying that politicians sit around feeling grand while they should be focused on actively improving the country. Northeast While maturing as a professional writer and journalist, Machado de Assis saw his role in soci ety change. At first, he aimed at entertaining and occasionally openly criticizing those involved in the political milieu. By mid1878 all of that has changed. Machado, a Liberal reformist who believes real change can be achieved, now understands that h e can use the crnicas as a channel to communicate the main issues he has with the government and politicians, as well as ideas in general. He does not sit back or bother to cover his comments with a more trivial topic. Machado de Assis is willing to put his newspaper career on the line. In the past, as we saw on Chapter 3, the master does refer to the Northeast in order to shed light on the issues of droughts and hunger. This often neglected and forsaken region is at the center of his argument once again. However, this time he presents the theme in a more direct way. In 1878, opening his July 7th crnica with the topic at hand, he does not apologize or redirect the reader to a lighter topic. He wants people not only to understand, but also to get i nvolved in finding a solution to the plight of Brazils most troubled regions noting how politics often leads to violence and lawlessness. While addressing the state of Cear, in the Northeast area, he exclaims: Pobre Cear! Alm de secca, os ladres de estrada (70). Here, he comments on a new threat to the population: the starving highway robber. In fact, these lawless men were also victims of poverty, illiteracy, and neglect. Perhaps even more ironic is the fact that the victims of these lawless m en also become the victims of violent acts by the government. Machado starts by saying to readers ho de ter lido que esses malfeitores entrincheiram se em uma villa cearense; but the worse was still to come. The crnica states: o governo foi obrigado a mandar uma fora de 240 praas de linha. The reader,


60 by now, should be able to pick out the tone of sarcasm from this statement, as if the state was literally forced to send such a high number of soldiers. As it would be expected from Machado, he clo ses his argument by questioning how helpful this initiative from the government really was; at the end, there we re muito fogo, mortos, feridos (69). The cronista defends that the nordestino s suffered more than they would have had the government not inte rvened at all. Clearly present in his 1878 crnicas Machado seems to be pondering on just how much more can the nordestinos tolerate. The Northeast was a region forgotten by the government for the most part. In addition, whenever the government awakens to its existence, troops are sent creating even more chaos and suffering. He is then basically pushed to the edge as his crnica of July 4th shows. Machado de Assis, who often covers the cultural life of the city, and defends its importance, does not agree that the same be done with regards to the povertystricken state of Cear. After a local newspaper, O Retirante has stated what the victims of drought need the most is bread and water, the carioca is happy to see that finally the real issues about th e area being covered. His happiness, however, is short lived. On page four of that same paper, as Machado cleverly notes, there is an advertisement for dois delirantes bailes, which are being offered solely to distrair da secca (85 86). So, while poor people are dying of thirst and hunger, the elite wants to distract itself from the misery and have a ball. This is too absurd even for Machado, and so he ridicules Cears upper class and its lack of charity toward it suffering conterrneos Elections Elections are one of Machados favorite topics. As shown in the previous chapter, he was in constant shock of politicians deeds, and especially what these men were allowed to get away with in order to win an election. First, let us focus on the year: 1878. The date does not standout as a milestone in the history of Brazil for most. However, Judy Bieber associates the


61 date with electoral violence at the ballot box in Power, Patronage, and Political Violence (253). The historian states that in the 186 0s, ideological differences began to resurface, and subsequent national political turnovers, especially those in 1868 and 1878, produced even more electoral violence at the local level (100). The voting booths, by that point in time, were badly supervise d, unruly, and thus far from being peaceful. Departing from this notion, Machado de Assis, cynically states he is surprised to see a voting area that has not been wreaked by havoc: Paquet. This little island in the bay of Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, held elections in August. By the 11th of that month, the cronista was complimenting the city for acting in accordance with the law. A police force was sent to the voting booths as was necessary in almost all other voting locations. Yet, Paquet declarou di spensar a fora que lhe mandaram, cert a de fazer uma eleio pacfica (123). The crnica then commends both the people for being honest and the police for leaving, thus allowing the electoral process to continue undisturbed. The latter aspect implies th at the police are the ones causing disorder. Machado ends this journalistic piece by describing the city of Paquet as o primeiro centro de uma forte educao poltica (123). The concern here is not for that election alone, but Machado is actually thinking about the forming of a corrupt voting system that could be imbedded in the culture and transformed into the norm. He predicted that dirty elections could become status quo; and surely they did. Again on the issue of elections, his August 18th crn ica undercuts the little faith he had built up in Paquets exemplary situation. Irony takes over the narrative, and Machado declares that just about anyone, with enough capital and contacts, can run for elections. A candidate does not need to be fit or to qualify for a position. When it comes to Brazilian politics, he compares elections to gambling. Ballots are bilhetes brancos da loteria; com a differena que antes de


62 correr a roda, todos os bilhetes so susceptiveis de premio, ao passo que, antes de correr a uma prvia, ha j candidaturas duvidosas, enfermas (136). These sickly candidacies contribute to the ill state of the country; a metaphor for the ailing body politic. National Politics While this section shares commonalities with the last two, it shows Machados greater focus on the morally bankrupt political system in Brazil; corruption was everywhere, and he took notice. Since Machado believed the government budget to be rather limited, he could not fathom how a camara resolveu autorisar o tesoureiro a comprar uma arca forte para recolher nella as suas rendas. Here, Machado resorts to sarcasm so as to protest against local politicians miraculously having money to spare for a safe while the state is claiming to be bankrupt. Since the state could not invest in the city infrastructure, as we saw earlier with the neighborhood of Laranjeiras, it is hard for the author not to assume the worse about politicians. He states: imaginei sempre que todas as rendas da camara podiam caber na minha cart eira, and proceeds to point out that it is uma carteirinha de moa (91). So, Machado is trying to say the government only spends as if it had very little, but then the treasurer goes and requests a safe for keeping all the states money. The situation is controversial at best, and Machado makes sure to point it out and let his readers know. A little over a month later there would be another crnica addressing national politics. On the 25th of August, 1878, Machado exposes a candidate for the General A ssembly who wants to gain voters in an original way. The politician wants to win people over by promising not to take a cent from them. Furthermore, the candidate refuses to accept his salary. The objection Machado has with this is based on the fact tha t the man has not made any plans for bettering the economy and is already stating what he will not need, which Machado considered to be irresponsible of him. As he puts it, the man declared no ter ainda fixado o seu programma de


63 ideias, mas pode afiana r desde j que dispensa o subsidio. The author believes um deputado pode ser excellente, sem ser gratuito; and as a matter of fact, he sarcastically concludes: creio at que as leis saiam mais perfeitas quando o legistador no tenha que pensar no j ant ar do dia seguinte (150). The supposed nobility of the politician is quickly unmasked by Machado de Assis, and the government will get what it pays for another useless politician. Crnicas as a G enre Analyzing his profession, Machado de Assis on sev eral occasions defines the responsibilities that befall a cronista For the most part, he writes as if trying to avoid being seen as a pompous journalist, which would suggest the triviality of his occupation. Yet, on August 25th, it is safe to say that h e might have felt threatened, or at least realized where his polemic and political commentary had taken him: to become a liability for O Cruzeiro This was his penultimate crnica for that newspaper, and Machado may have been pondering the profession. According to him, the professional cannot help but fumar quietamente o cachimbo do seu fatalismo (146). He tries to portray the cronista as a banal profession, and states that o chronista no tem cargo dalmas, no evangelisa, no adverte, no endireita os tortos do mundo; um mero espectador (146). If he is convincing enough, he shall prove that his sarcastic political remarks should not be taken into account. In the same crnica Machado attempts once more to attenuate the polemical tone to his crnicas while trying to move away from the political troubled water in which Brazil was drowning. Machado says that o ch ronista no pleitou candidatura (146), unlike politicians. He reinforces the ideas of the chronicler as a mere narrator who fica al heio a todas as luctas, ou sejam de fora, ou de destreza, ou de ambas as coisas juntas (146). Machado is trying to distance the cronista from the politician. He was rather unsuccessful, since his crnicas often


64 meddled with politics. Machado would have only one more day in the life of O Cruzeiro possibly because of his inability to disguise his opinions on politicians and politics alike. Patronage and Publishing: Limits and Barriers As the title for this section suggests, there were numerous limits and barriers Machado de Assis had to contend with in order to do his work and make a living. When Viotti da Costa describes the 1870s, she states: in spite of the proliferation of cultural institutions, newspapers, and journals and the constant increase in the number able to read, the conditions for the independent production of i deas were still far from ideal (185). Similarly, Dilson Cruz Jnior refers to John Gledsons implications of how Machados ambiguity in crnicas could be uma estratgia de Machado para fugir rigorosa censura poltica da poca (26). Therefore, here we see more scholars who have at least raised the question of Machados freedom to publish his ideas. Although some describe the late nineteenth century press in Brazil based on it clima de largueza, de liberdade, de quase licenciosidade, em que viveu o jornalismo do Segundo Reinado (Costella 68), others seem to emphasize that os homens de letras encontravam liberdade relativa para as suas cria es literrias, no para os impulsos polticos (Sodr 221). The issue of censorship of the press during the late nineteenth century Brazil is still much debated. Yet, since most scholars neglect to take the possibility of there being limits into account, we shall do that here so as to shine light upon an alternative interpretation of the crnicas machadianas. Machad o was of humble origins ; despite his job as a bureaucrat, he had to depend on the money and faith of others to get his voice heard by the public at large. As Jeffrey Nee dell describes it, Machados image as a man cool to political (or any) passion, particularly Abolition, has been ably disputed. The cronista first attracted Liberal patronage by his political journalism, after all; referring here to his more radical 186 0s crnicas ( Tropical Belle poque 193). He was not wealthy, he was not white, he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth;


65 Machados work very much depended on the approval of his superiors, who controlled what could and could not be printed. A g reat account of the trials and tribulations Machado had to endure in order to get his material printed for public access was written by Marisa Lajolo and Regina Zilberman. Their article Machado and the Cost of Reading offers an insightful perspective on writings of the great master. They defend the idea that it was not so much what Machado chose to publish or touch basis with, but more what he was allowed to do under the jurisdiction of repressive bosses. As they point out, relations are not always ea sy between writers purveyors of the raw material of literature and the professionals responsible for the transformation of this raw material into a product (250). As previously cited by Needell, Machado was not wealthy and he had to please those who could actually finance and publish his writings. All in all, Publishers, booksellers, printing shops, newspapers, critics, and the literary institutions were, at different stages, the concerns of a prolific writer (251). By the 1870s, Machado was becom ing a more productive writer and therefore had to concern himself with different publishing issues. Viotti da Costa paints a patronage driven Brazil when writing about the 1870s. She describes how bureaucrats, journalists, writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and merchants: everyone had to follow the rules of patronage; and quoting Jos de Alencar, she concludes that everything depends on patronage, even the press, which needs state subsidies to survive (180). We can then assume that, for the most part, the author had to bend his will to what his superiors thought acceptable and hence publishable. In addition, the 1870s proved to be a challenging period for the crown and political parties alike. Lajolo and Zilberman point to the authors success at hand ling editors, describing how in the 1870s, Machado, an ascendant author in the market and in the socalled Republic of Letters, has the means to show significant experiences as


66 a writer who negotiates with publishers different clauses to publish his work (254). His cleverness and brilliant use of irony made for a more sophisticated criticism of politics, politicians, and Brazil at large. It is safe to say that his talent might have aided him in covering his harshest comment with a veil of triviality. The article Machado and the Cost of Reading closes by asserting that Machado is much more attentive (and submissive) to the misty, complex, and asymmetric world in which, in the nineteenth century Brazil, not only narrators and male and female readers but also writers and editors exchanged flips and bows (261). The question, then, is how much leeway was given and how his ability to publish was limited by editors. According to Anne Marie Smith from the Empire to the time of the independent Republic, from the earliest pasquims to the establishment of an industrial press, there was no period when the state was not attempting to monitor and shape the press to some degree; so we should at least consider the possibility of there being barriers for some of his mo re polemical ideas (16). The more pivotal aspects of the possible presence and authority of his superiors are to be kept in mind when judging his published works: they had to be first approved by others. This disguising of his voice is perhaps a k ey exercise in developing the ironic writing style so present in his latter novels. As we will conclude, we see how Machado begins to use more literary allegory and other literary techniques in his crnicas pushing the limits between journalism and liter ary prose.


67 CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION Machado de Assis journalistic contributions were just as memorable and fundamental to the late r development of his skills as a short story writer, poet, dramatist, and finally novelist, amongst other more commonly cited genres he penned. The c rnicas honored his observational and narrative skills, where Machado tested his portray al s of the day to day lives of his subjects in a way that makes his account seem realistic. H is ability to write about the trivial and mundane so well comes from years of practice writing newspaper bits on politicians and their lives, instances of corruption and the countrys troubles, as well as local events and the people involved. Perhaps most importantly, he wrote about the common man and w oman, and how they were affected by the social and political changes taking place in Brazil. In Machado de Assis: a pirmide e o trapzio, Faoro grasps the subtletie s of Machados novels and short stories. He succinctly defines the Machadian narrative st yle, stating: num dia de novembro no ruiu o Imprio nem nasceu uma Repblica. A tabuleta da confeitaria do Custdio que mudou de nome: a confeitaria do Imprio passaria a ser a confeitaria da Repblica, se a trans formao estivesse consolidada (177). This sentence is descriptive of the great masters style, showing how he gracefully walked the tightrope of change Here, in this thesis, we strive to do the same for his crnicas of the 1870s, which were cleverly constructed and deserve critical attention. The present conclusion will then be divided into two parts: first, we will look at a crnica that is symbolic of Machados political interest and understanding;1 second, we argue for a reevaluation of Machados work by refuting the notion that his wr itings 1 Parts of this crnica have been previously published in the studies of Faoro and Montello. Yet, in order to appreciate the full genius of this work, here we attempt a complete analysis, for the first time.


68 should be split in two phases arguing for a more unified and gradual approach to his development as a writer. The 1870s and Machado as a Political/Polemical Cronista Resuming our investigation of the year 1878, it is important to point out how this year marked the political return of Liberals to power. Moreover, it was marked by the dissatisfact ion of political parties with the monarch, Pedro II, trying to please all sides after a tough and ever resounding war.2 Leslie Bethell attests to this post war setting, saying that as a result of political instability the emperor was often asked to i ntervene in the political arena (198). Bethell proceeds to ascertain that the meddling of the monarch into politica l affairs brought about resentment on the part of politicians Consequently, as the historian notes monarchical parties did not spare criticism of the monarchical regime they were supposed to defend. The Moderating Power was the main target of their criticism (198). Emperor Pedro II was i n an untenable position, and Machado, in spite of his humble origins, had always sympathized with the monarch, seeing the world from his perspective. Raymundo Faoro had thoroughly analyzed the role of the emperor in Machados works in Machado de Assis: a pirmide e o trapzio, which dedicates quite a few pages to the study of this relationship. Faoro describes how o D. Pedro de Machado de Assis est coroado com o mito, que o eleva, nas ruas, no coche, no jogo poltico. Ele ergue os humildes e abate os soberbos, quase um semideus (57). Machado depicts the emperor with the same respect and affection as the image resting in the minds of the masses. Even in his more critical and caricatured work on Dom Pedro II Machado never meant to taint permanently the image of 2 The Paraguayan war (1865 1870) exposed a weak Brazilian military and a divided political community.


69 Brazils ruler; instead these were comments that led the reader to defend and hold the emperor in ever higher regard. On August of this same year, while referring to another throne of sorts and the need for power, Machado de Assis writes ab out the Republican Party in Brazil. He analyses the nature and birth of this institution. Always under his critical and cynical lenses, he addresses the quest for personal power. In his own words, o partido republicano nasceu principalmente de um equi voco e de uma metafora: a metafo ra do poder pessoal ( Chronicas 4:127128). Machado attempts to convey the idea that if an individual has too much power, he or she may eventually get blinded by it which perhaps reflects the situation of Brazils own empe ror In the crnica of August 11th, 1878, Machado tells of a disoriented young man of the elite in Persia searches to make his life more meaningful while struggling to promote new ideas in an unwelcomed land, a stagnate soil The young man is used to ma sk Machados commentary through a political allegory ; the writer is actually addressing Dom Pedro II. The soil, in turn, represents the traditional republicans who refuse to work with the monarch and implement changes to the Brazilian society. A closer analysis of this crnica leads to the conclusion that Machado saw Dom Pedro II as a good man, trying to be of value to this world while perhaps also craving his father s approval. Machado makes it clear that he is referring to national politics, but refer s to the need for a Persian apology, disguising his topic. Addressing Republicans and their obsession with power, Machado notes that o partido republicano, no obstante as convic es dos seus correligionarios nasceu principalmente de um equivoco e de u ma metaphora, a metaphora do poder pessoal; e a este respeito contarei um apologo... persa. As the crnica goes on, the author detail s the struggles of a man wanting to please his father by growing limes. It sounds like a


70 fable but the introduction and the conclusion indicate it is an allegory for politics. The young man represents the eager to please monarch, the father is Dom Pedro I, who renounced the throne and returned to Portugal when his son Pedro was an infant. He left behind the seeds of lime that are to become seeds of liberty and justice.3 In addition, the barren soil represents the traditional politicians who will not allow anything new to flower, and finally the unforgiving sun is probably comes from the stigma of Brazil as a tropical and neocolonial country. Here, Machado de Assis shows his work at its best. His politics d isguised, as most of his political comments had to be, Machados sarcastic yet compassionate tone reflects the greatest literary mind in nineteenthcentury Brazil. I n order to do justice to this piece we will cite it at length: Havia em Teheran um rap az, grande gamenho e maior vadio, a quem o pae disse uma noite que era preciso escolher um officio qualquer, uma industria, alguma cousa em que applicasse as foras que despendia, arruando e matando inutilmente as horas. O moo achou que o pae fallava com acerto, cogitou parte da noite, e dormiu. De manh foi ter com o pae e pediulhe licena para correr toda a Persia, afim de ver as differentes profisses, comparalas a escolher a que lhe parecesse mais propria e lucrativa. O pae abenoou o; o rapaz foi correr terra. (125) The father is as much of a central figure in the sons life and career choice, and Emperor Pedro I had been on the life of his son, Dom Pedro II. Another aspect in common between the protagonist of the crnica and Pedro II, is that both were well traveled men striving to employ newfound knowledge and find meaning in their lives. Ao cabo de um anno, regressou casa do pae. Tinha admirado varias i ndustrias e profisses; entre outras vira fazer chitas, as famosas chitas da Persia e plantar limas, as no menos famosas limas da Persia; e destas duas occupaes, achou melhor a segunda. 3 In Party of Order for instance, Needell recounts the admiration Dom Pedro II felt for his self constructed father figure. Pedro II was raised in a very strict environment, where he was prevented from communicating with the former king. This only furthered his idolization of Pedro I. As Needell notes, he [Pedro II] never was allowed to read his fathers letters, and his own, first marked by tears, only faintly convey the pain of this comple te orphanhood (32).


71 Lavrar a terra, disse elle, a profisso mais nobre e mais li vre; a que melhor pe as foras do homem parallelas s da natureza. (126) In this case, to till the land, could also mean to better it, make it more productive. Pedro II, considered a thoughtful and enlightened ruler by most, wanted to plant the seed of European ideas and cultivate them in Brazilian soil. According to the Persian lad and the Brazilian ruler, this is the most noble of professions. Dito isto, comprou umas geiras de terra, comprou umas sementes de limas e semeou as, depois de invocar o aux ilio do sol e da chuva e de todas as foras naturaes. Antes de muitos dias, comearam a grelar as sementes; os grelos fizeram se arbustos. O jovem lavrador ia todas as manhs contemplar a sua obra; mandava regar as plantas; sonhava com ellas; vivia della s e para ellas. Quando as limeiras derem flr, dizia ele comsigo, convidarei todos os parentes a um banquete; e a primeira lima que amadurecer ser mandada de presente ao Schan. (127) While attempting to fulfill his role as a planter, to impress his fath er, and to make his family proud, the protagonist traces out his future. The emperor, in much the same way, had a plan: to modernize Brazil and to have liberal European ideas flourish on Brazilian soil. Under the influence of new theories, the crown had already calculated its possible gains and knew what measures to imply in order to achieve the modernity that was so sought after. Infelizmente os arbustos no se desenvolviam com a presteza costumada; alguns seccaram; outros no seccaram mas tambem no cresceram. Estupefaco do joven lavrador, que no podia comprehender a causa do phenomeno. Ordenou que lhe puzessem dobrada poro dagua, e vendo que a agua simples no produzia effeito, mandou enfeitia la por um mago, com as mais obscuras palavras dos livros santos. Nada lhe valeu; as plantas no passara do que eram; no vinha a flr, nuncia do fruto. O joven lavrador mortificava se; gastava as noites e os dias a ver um meio de robustecer as limeiras esforo sincero, mas inutil. Entretanto, el le se lembrava de ter visto boas limeiras em outras provincias; e muitas vezes comprava excelente limas no mercado de Teheran. Por que razo no alcanaria elle, e com presteza, a mesma cousa? (128) The failure to cultivate the soil and to see the fruits of his labor frustrated the Persian youth. Likewise, the multiple attempts at emulating Europe and at moving away from the backwardness associated with the nation ended in failure for Dom Pedro II Machado felt that


72 the Republican Party, which came to t he forefront after the weakening of the Conservative Party, failed to be receptive and refused to allow these notions to bear fruit. Emancipation, for instance, was out of the question since wealthy planters depended so much on slave labor to continue to export coffee at the same rate. An idealist, Dom Pedro II fought his sense of rising discouragement, analyzing the barriers which halted the success of his objective. Yet, he would eventually cave in as did the young Persian gentleman. Um dia, no se poude ter o joven lavrador; quiz, enfim, conhecer a causa do mal. Ora, a causa podia ser que fosse a falta de alguns saes no adubo, ares pouco lavados, certa disposio do terreno, pouca pratica de plantador. O moo, porm, no cogitou em nenhuma dessas cau sas immediatas; attribuiu o acanhamento das plantas... ao sol; porque o sol, dizia elle, era ardente e requeimava as plantas. A elle, pois, cabia a culpa original; era elle o culpado visivel, o sol. (128) In the crnica for the Persian planter, the sun i s to blame and not the plants. A combination of various political issues could have resulted in the failure of Europeanizing Brasil, yet the emperor did not take that into account. Therefore, we can attribute the guilt to the sun to represent neocolon ial backwardness, the harsh nature of the tropics and its extreme environment, or a scapegoat for the emperors disappointment. However, the sun can also be seen as the obsession with personal power, which blinds political leaders from seeing and doing wh at is needed. The drive for personal power on the part of politicians may have been what caused the Republican Party to be indifferent to the imperial suggestions and uncompromising in dealing with other political parties. Entrandolhe esta convico no animo, no se deteve o rapaz; arranco u todas as plantas e vendeu a terra, metteu o dinheiro no bolso, e voltou a passear as ruas de Teheran, ficou sem officio. Concluso: se soubessemos um pouco mais de chimica social... (128) Social chemistry is what was needed for Brazil to leave its colonial past behind to become a truly sovereign nation. Republicans then needed to learn how the country works and understand all


73 components of society. In Machados view, the Republican Party was perhaps not willing to c onsider the emperors suggestions or negotiate with the Liberal Party. This conclusion reflects Machados ideas and his concern with Brazils backward status. He offers advice for the cure that Brazilians must learn and understand one another, and all politicians should work together and aid the emperor in bettering Brazil as a whole. In Machados view, if there were a mutual understanding and a shared goal without the harsh blindly quest for power Brazil would finally be able to progress Political a nd polemical, Machados newspaper chronicles represent another contributing facet to his masterpieces. In 1870s, the great Machado of the later decades was taking his first steps toward immortality; these crnicas are among his first stepping stones. Mac hados Work as a Continuum: Crnicas as Training Ground We have set out to shed light on Machado as a cronista between the year of the Law of the Free Womb, 1871, and the year in which political changes and imperial challenging made their marks, 1878. The main goal of this study is to give new relevance to Machado de Assis political interest, and consider the fact that many of the great literary critics have overlooked the importance of his earlier crnicas Hopefully, we have achieved such a goal. Yet, there are other aspects to the way Machadian work is viewed that are directly connected to the relative negligence of his newspaper publications. For instance, those critics who defend a division of his work in two phases have not carefully or seriously considered his writings as a cronista Gomes was one of the first to plead for recognition to be awarded to the genre, as he states v se q ue no processo machadiano estabelecera uma confuso intencional; a fantasia, a crnica e o conto j n o mantinham f ronteiras entre si (10). It is then obvious that in his crnicas Machado de Assis was not only interested in politics, as some critics failed to note, but also


74 interested in the lives of Brazilians, be they politicians or not. His contributions in this genre functioned as a training ground for his captivating narrative style in years to come.4 Some scholars have been able to see a bridge between these two phases, and analyze traces of his genius in earlier work. So nia Brayner underscores the genre, describing how na obra machadiana a crnica no um texto ponte para os outros, os maiores; she believes Machados crnicas are a solda capaz de unir um produ o lite rria de mais de quarenta anos (416). Likewise, Betella states b em antes de escr ever os romances tidos como superiores na composio, Machado j escrevia crnicas, dominando o procedimento narrativo frvolo, irnico, por vezes cnico (63). Taking Machados early novels into account, Elizabeth Ginway addresses the issue of this tradi tional two part interpretation of his work. Ginway states that considera se a primeira fase de Machado como tradicional e a segunda, radica l; yet this notion is problematic because it does not toma em conta o fato de que o pensamento machadiano seguiu a mesmo linha ao longo da sua carreira, s que desenvolveu e amadureceu nas ltimas obras (33). Fortunately, a general shift is being made in the literature of Machadian analysis toward a more continuous and progressive growth of Machado as a writer. A frnio Coutinho was among the first critics to be wary of this approach, warning those who defend the twophased interpretation. In 1966, Coutinho recommends that the critic todavia, deve se afastar, no exame do problema, a idia de mutao repentina. N o h ruptura brusca entre as duas fases. mais justo afirmar que uma pressupe a outra, e por ela foi preparada ( Machado de Assis 15). The idea of crnicas and his first novels as a dressrehearsal 4 For further information on the esthetics and linguistic aspects of crnicas machadianas refer to Machado de Assis: o romance com pessoas b y Jos Luiz Passos ( So Paulo : Nankin Editorial 2007) and Estratgias e mscaras de um fingid or: a crnica de Machado de Assis by Dilson F. Cruz Jnior (So Paulo: Nankin Editorial 2002).


75 to his critically acclaimed masterpieces have been ap propriately gaining ground.5 Therefore, this thesis also focuses on these gains and the belief that Machado learned from past experiences and continued to grow as a writer. The cleverness of his later romances burst out of his crnicas which to borrow from Brayner, served as a fictional laboratory, where Machado could test his ideas and see how they played out with the public at large. In Afrnio Coutinhos words: "Sua obra folhetinesca reflete discretamente as varia es por que o genero veio passando, desde o romantismo at o realismo, com bifurca es pelo parnasianismo e simbolismo. H um pouco de tudo isso em suas crnicas ( A literatura no Brasil 114). We must not forget to account for the possibility of editorial censorship. Nonetheless, Machad o de Assis managed to showcase his ideas, however subtle, demonstrate his talent as a writer. Machado has thus proved his brilliance in the way he maneuvered the press, addressed political and polemical topics in crnicas and continued to write. His 187 0s crnicas are of significant value, and hopefully this study will motivate others t o examine these journalistic contributions, which reflect a crucial point in M achados opus Furthermore the thesis will also guide others to respect his earlier work, a nd finally bridge the gap between the traditional two phases. 5 This can be seen in the works of Coutinho, Gledson, Chalhoub and Betella, here mentioned.


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81 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Andra C. L. Ferreira was born in Petrpolis, Brazil. She later moved to the United States, where she attended University of Florida, studying H istory and Brazilian Literature. During her senior year, Andra was invited to write a senior thesis on the History of England by her former professor John Sommerville. She graduated with honors in 2004, magna cum l aude. In 2007, with the encouragement of her family, Andra decided to return to Florida to pursue her masters d egree. Under the guidance of Elizabeth Ginway and Richmond Brown, she enrolled in the MALAS Program with a concentration in Brazilian Studies. In the meantime, Andra taught classes in Brazilian Portuguese at th e University of Florida. She received the top teaching award for Graduate Teaching Assistants, the Calvin A. VanderWerf Award, for the academic year 20082009. After she received her M.A. from the University of Florida in the fall of 2009, Andra decide d to apply for the doctoral program in the History Department under the guidance of Jeffrey Needell. Her doctoral research will continue to focus on literature, as she plans to study nineteenthcentury Brazilian intellectual life.