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By Roberto Schwarz

A grasp at the outer edge of Capitalism is a translation (from the unique Portuguese) of Roberto Schwarz’s popular examine of the paintings of Brazilian novelist Machado de Assis (1839–1908). a number one Brazilian theorist and writer of the hugely influential idea of “misplaced ideas,” Schwarz focuses his literary and cultural research on Machado’s The Posthumous Memoirs of Br?s Cubas, which used to be released in 1880. Writing within the Marxist culture, Schwarz investigates particularly how social constitution will get internalized as literary shape, arguing that Machado’s variety replicates and divulges the deeply embedded classification divisions of nineteenth-century Brazil. greatly said because the most vital novelist to have written in Latin the United States earlier than 1940, Machado had a shockingly sleek kind. Schwarz notes that the unheard of wit, sarcasm, structural inventiveness, and mercurial adjustments of tone and subject material present in The Posthumous Memoirs of Br?s Cubas marked a vital second within the historical past of Latin American literature. He argues that Machado’s forefront narrative displays the Brazilian proprietor category and its strange prestige in either nationwide and overseas contexts, and indicates why this novel’s good fortune was once no twist of fate. the writer used to be in a position to confront one of the most prestigious ideologies of the 19th century with a few uncomfortable truths, no longer the least of which was once that slavery remained the foundation of the Brazilian economy.A grasp at the outer edge of Capitalism will entice people with pursuits in Latin American literature, 19th century heritage, and Marxist literary concept.

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For the historian of culture and the critic of the arts in countries like ours, ex-colonies, this thesis has an enormous power to stimulate and deprovincialize, for it allows us to inscribe on the present-day international situation, in polemical form, much of what seemed to distance us from it and confine us to irrelevance. Over the years, practically everything written here has been discussed p re fa c e 3 with friends and students, and I thank them most sincerely. I owe a special note of gratitude to Antonio Candido,* whose books and points of view have had a pervasive influence on me that the footnotes cannot reflect.

Many thanks, as usual, to Cristina Carletti and Nicolau Sevcenko for their hospitality in São Paulo, and to Elmar Pereira de Mello and Hilda White Rössle de Mello in Rio de Janeiro. Thanks, too, to Antônio Dimas and Elias Thomé Saliba for the loan of material for the writing of the introduction. xxxvi Preface What lies behind the vigor of the novels of Machado de Assis’s mature phase? Is there any relation between the originality of their form and situations peculiar to Brazilian society in the nineteenth century?

This literary form captures and dramatizes the structure of the country, which becomes, so to speak, the musical sta√, the order beneath the writing. And it is true that Machado’s narrative prose is one of the very few that, simply in their movement, constitute a complex sociohistorical spectacle, of the greatest interest, and in which the surface subject is of little moment. In this respect, comparisons could be made with the prose of Chateaubriand, Henry James, Marcel Proust, or Thomas Mann. Writing about the di≈culties inherent in the reading of Baudelaire, Walter Benjamin observes that his is a poetry that has absolutely not aged—not because it was young when it was written but because the circumstances that it does not speak of, but against which the poet com2 posed his voice and his character, are still in place and make Les fleurs du mal no less virulent and di≈cult today than the day they were born.

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