Machado de Assis is a kind of miracle, another demonstration of the autonomy of literary genius in regard to time and place, politics and religion.
The supreme black literary artist to date.
Besides, I like epitaphs. Among civilized people they're an expression of that pious and secret selfishness that induces us to pull out of death a shred at least of the shade that has passed on.
There is truly only one misfortune: that of not being born.
Man is...a thinking erratum, that's what he is. Every season of life is an edition that corrects the one before and which will also be corrected itself until the definitive edition, which the publisher gives to the worms gratis.
For some time I debated over whether I should start these memoirs at the beginning or at the end, that is, whether I should put my birth or my death in first place. Since common usage would call for beginning with birth, two considerations led me to adopt a different method: the first is that I am not exactly a writer who is dead but a dead man who is a writer, for whom the grave was a second cradle; the second is that the writing would be more distinctive and novel in that way. Moses, who also wrote about his death, didn't place it at the opening but at the close: a radical difference between this book and the Pentateuch.
Life is so beautiful that even the idea of death must be born before it can be realized.
Everything comes to an end, reader. It is an old truism to which may be added that not everything that lasts, lasts for long. This latter part is not readily admitted; on the contrary the idea that an air castle lasts longer than the very air of which it is made is hard to get out of a person's head, and this is fortunate, otherwise the custom of making those almost eternal constructions might be lost.
Destiny is not only a dramatist, it is also its own stage manager. That is, it sets the entrances of the characters on scene, gives them letters and other objects, and produces the off-stage noises to go with the dialogue: thunder, a carriage, a shot.
How many wicked intentions climb aboard a pure and innocent phrase, after it is already on its way! It is enough to make one suspect that lying is, many a time, as involuntary as breathing.
Imagination has been the companion of my whole existence lively, swift, restless, at times timid and balky, most often ready to devour plain upon plain in its course.
The greatest sin, after the initial sin, is its publication.
I even thought her heart taught me something, in spite of its inexperience, or perhaps precisely because of it, for in matters of love one unlearns with practice, and the novice is the learned one.
The best definition of love in the world is not worth one kiss from the girl you love.
Lifeis an enormous lottery: the prizes are few, the failures innumerable. Out of the sighs of one generation are kneaded the hopes of the next. That's life.