Machado de Assis reaches the 21st century – 09/04/2021 – Elio Gaspari

It is in the bookstores “Código de Machado de Assis”, by Miguel Matos (Migalhas). It is a visit to the work of the greatest Brazilian writer, his time and the world of laws. With a 21st century bonus, the book includes 116 QR codes that lead the reader to an image of the text from Machado’s original publication. Cosme Velho Sorcerer would be thrilled to hear of this.

Miguel Matos researched thousands of Machado’s texts, novels, short stories and chronicles. His focus was the writer’s relationship with the world of law, from constitutional issues to petty crimes in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. He found 80 lawyers and 23 judges in the novelist’s fiction.

As the “Code” summarizes novels, short stories and chronicles, always giving voice to Machado, reading it is a tour of Rio in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. electoral system and the ruin of the jails are still there today. In 1864 he complained: “Fidélis has been imprisoned longer, perhaps, than he would have served at the maximum of his sentence. It doesn’t stop here: the jail is filthy; Fidelis had gone there in perfect health, but when he went out to court he was a different person, he was so changed!”.

Reading Machado de Assis is a balm. Whoever does it, even for a few hours, writes better the next day.

Machado had one of his feet on every floor of Brazilian society. In 1861 he mocked the mania for decorations. Years later, he won the Order of the Rose. At the age of 28, in 1867, he was proud: “I don’t go to the Paço”. In 1870 there he was, greeting d. Peter 2nd.

With all his grandeur, Machado de Assis left behind two mysterious crumbs. Miguel Matos faces the first. Did Capitu betray Bentinho with Escobar? He explains: “Let’s not meddle in other people’s judgment. But that she betrayed, she betrayed”.

Not wanting to get involved in the riddle of real life contained in “Dom Casmurro”, Miguel is far from the suspicion raised by the writer Humberto de Campos and the centenary murmur that accompanies Machado. Capitu betrayed Bentinho and the story would have something autobiographical. (I eat a lot in the Sorcerer’s work). Machado would have been the father of Mario, the son of the novelist José de Alencar and the English girl Georgiana Cochrane.

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