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Day 3

The Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas by Machado de Assis

Ch 20-37

March 10, 2021 by Larry Rohter

Poor Eugênia, with her “virginal charm” and “natural grace.” Of all the characters in PM, she may be the only who is wholly sympathetic—and BC treats her badly. Her only defect is physical, whereas all the others are disfigured by their moral failings.

Experimenting with margins, punctuation, and typography is common enough today, but Brazilians in 1880 must have found it disconcerting, even revolutionary. Methinks me spies the influence of “Tristram Shandy” in XXVI, with more to come in LV & CXXXIX.

You’ll notice that M occasionally stops the story for a chapter or two of philosophical musings. These increase as we plunge deeper into the novel, but they are not digressions. Many argue that they are its real essence, the plot being a mere scaffold.

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