Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

“Miss Dollar” - A Short Story by Machado de Assis - 1870

A post occasioned by The burning of Brazil’s National Museum,
Founded 200 years ago, now a total loss
500,000 Literary Treasures were lost including
Original manuscripts of Machado de Assis,
Brazil’s Greatest Writer.  I think he mourns with us
The Reading Life Universe

The Collected Stories of Machado de Assis, translated by 

Margaret Jull Costa and Robin Patterson with a forward by Michael Wood

This collection will be a  major event in short stories in translation for 2018

Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis often known as Machado de Assis

Born -June 21, 1839 - Rio de Janeiro - his father’s parents were freed  slaves

1888 - Slavery Ends in Brazil

Dies -September 29, 1908 Rio de Janeiro

I was terribly saddened to learn that The Brazilian National Museum in Rio de Janeiro was this week totally destroyed in a fire.  Over 20,000,000 irreplaceable items were lost , including over Among the lost items were original manuscripts of works by Machado de Assis, considered by all Brazil’s greatest writer.  I have been to this wonderful museum.  I know that Brazilians who cherish their history and culture are in shock over this.  Imagine if the British Museum, the Louvre, or the Smithsonian were destroyed.  

I was very glad to find just recently published a full newly translated collection of the Short Stories of Machado de Assis, combining seven collections he published into one nine hundred page plus volume with seventy five stories. A preface by Michael Wood and informative introduction by the translators place him in cultural context.  His stories focus on life in Rio de Janeiro.  I have spent time there and even in stories written well over 100 years ago I am brought to mind the sensuality of the city, the beauty and the savage ugliness, the favelas, the beach at Copa Cabana and I know Machado de Assis would add the amazing women.  In the opening story I greatly enjoyed the extended description he gives of a Carioca woman with whom the narrator is infatuated.

My purpose today is to let my readers know of the new collection.  In a Kindle sample you can read the preface, the introduction and the opening story, “Miss Dollar”.   

“Miss Dollar”is told in the first person by a doctor that no
longer practices as he Invented a cure for a once dangerous disease.  His life now is devoted to his collection of dogs.  On a stroll in Rio he happens on a greyhound.  She is obviously a lost pet.  He takes her home hoping the owner will advertise.  He calls her Miss Dollar.  He does see a newspaper advertisement for the dog giving an address and offering a reward.  Caring nothing for the reward, he takes Miss Dollar to her home.  There he finds an affluent family, it is kind of jarring (slavery was legal when the story was first published) to reds that the maid is a slave.  At first he is greeted by an older lady then he meets her twenty three year old niece and is smitten.  

We meet also the narrator’s playboy friend who gives him his suggestions for courting the niece, a widow.  The story is fun to read.  The characters are very well realised 

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

Just looking at the photos of the museum burning was heartbreaking. I like the way you've commemorated the event however.