The currency of Machado de Assis's criticism

Marlene de Castro Correia About the author


The exercise of criticism is difficult for Machado de Assis. It is difficult neither for personal reasons (his notorious shyness or "aversion to controversy") nor for contextual ones (the scarceness of Brazilian literary production at the time), as has been claimed by analysts of different generations. It is difficult, she claims, because it is hardly possible to reconcile the urbanity he imposed on himself as a critic (as he had stated in "The critic's ideal", 1865) with the irony and humour which are the mark of his aesthetic manner. The paucity of Machado's pieces of what Professor Castro Correia calls "pure" criticism, however, is balanced by the literary criticism that he makes within his own fiction. Machado's "impure" criticism (in her terms, the one he carries out not in articles, but in his novels and short stories) chastises most of all commonplace, bombast, mannerism, and fustian, pedantic writing.

criticism; short story; novel; aesthetics; metafiction

Universidade de São Paulo - Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 403 sl 38, 05508-900 São Paulo, SP Brasil - São Paulo - SP - Brazil