Today in History

Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Machado de Assis. A few months ago I read his second and third novels (the first has not been translated into English), The Hand and the Glove and Helena, and yesterday started Dom Casmurro: more on them when I gather my thoughts. As for his short stories, I have a perverse fondness for the gruesome and Swiftian ‘Alexandrian Tale’, which features crooked philosophers at the Museum of Alexandria and human vivisection performed by Herophilus himself. A characteristic sentence: “Be patient, be patient. One does not acquire a vice in the same way one sews a pair of sandals.”

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