University of São Paulo: Machado de Assis’ treasures in the reader’s hands


The reader of Machado de Assis will have a rare encounter with the writer’s work. On August 25, at 6 pm, USP’s Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin (BBM) officially launches the virtual exhibition Machado de Assis: Primeiras Edições e Raridades and the printed and digital catalog Primeiras Edições de Machado de Assis at Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita and José Mindlin , with the reproduction of 47 works by the author of Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas . The exhibition website can now be accessed. It makes available for consultation all the first editions of works by Machado de Assis, published between 1861 and 1908.

“These books contain some of the most outstanding characters and plots in Brazilian literature, which for over a century have enchanted and challenged readers and critics around the world. The 47 copies that make up BBM’s Machadiana are also testimony to several stories: from literature, the press, book publishing, graphic resources, literary sociability and collecting. This exhibition shows how books allow us to better understand each of these aspects of literate culture in Brazil.”

Of these 47 copies, 37 were fully digitized. The exhibition enchants for the illustrations and the comments. “The idea of ​​making the virtual exhibition and the catalogs arose from the face-to-face exhibition held in 2018 at USP’s Biblioteca Brasiliana Guita e José Mindlin, in which we brought together and exhibited BBM’s Machadiana for the first time”, says professor Hélio de Seixas Guimarães, from the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences (FFLCH) at USP, curator of the show. “As the in-person exhibition is ephemeral and the public is restricted to those who can visit the exhibition, we thought it was worth having a more perennial record, which would allow broader access, which is provided by the virtual exhibition and the digitized volumes, which can be accessed for free from anywhere.”

The exhibition highlights Machado de Assis’ pioneering participation in the country’s cultural history. “The books in the collection bring elements that make them unique, such as autographs, dedications, catalogs from bookstores and publishers. These elements allow us to know the context in which Machado de Assis’ works were produced and circulated for the first time, as well as aspects of Brazilian cultural and social history, such as literary, press, publishing, collecting and printing history.”

“The books in the collection bring elements that make them unique, such as autographs, dedications, bookstore and publishing catalogs.”

The exhibition’s printed and digital catalog is coordinated and organized by professor Hélio de Seixas Guimarães, literary critic Ieda Lebensztayn, PhD from the Institute of Brazilian Studies (IEB) at USP, and researcher Luciana Antonini Schoeps, PhD in Letters from FFLCH.

In the catalogue, in addition to the 47 works present in the exhibition, reproductions of two translations into Castilian of Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas and Esaú e Jacó were added , respectively, published in 1902 and 1905, while the writer was alive. “There are 49 volumes collected by Rubens Borba de Moraes, Guita and José Mindlin in more than 80 years of careful mining”, observe the authors in the presentation of the catalogue, referring to the famous collectors who formed what is today the BBM collection. “These book lovers shared their findings, which are now available to the public at USP. Among the more than 400 items directly related to Machado de Assis belonging to the collection, we highlight here the books by Machado de Assis published during his lifetime.”

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