Esaú e Jacó Machado de Assis

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Esaú e Jacó  by  Machado de Assis

Esaú e Jacó by Machado de Assis
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Because this has one whole chapter with my favorite game as the centerpiece, and because it has moments which has made me chuckle, I have decided to more than like this book.I read this like I was analyzing a chess game. This last (1904) of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assiss four great novels (1880, The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas aka The Epitaph of a Small Winner- 1891, Quincas Borba- 1899, Dom Casmurro). After this, only Quincas Borba remains in my to-read list. But Dom Casmurro, I suspect, would forever be my favorite.I could have swore that the Santos twins here (upon which the story revolves) were really sired by the diplomat Aires.

But Dain Borges had patiently dissected this novel in his excellent Foreword and there was nary a hint of this imagined scandal. So it must have been just a faulty analysis on my part.As my personal reference, I reproduce here the chess chapter (the 13th) entitled The Epigraph--Well, that is precisely the epigraph of the book, if I wanted to write one for it and none other occurred to me.

It is not only a way of completing the characters in the narrative with the ideas they evoked, but it also serves as a pair of spectacles with which the reader can penetrate what is less clear or totally obscure.On the other hand, there is an advantage in having my characters collaborate in the story, helping the author, through an act of solidarity, a kind of exchange of services, between the chess player and his pieces.If you accept the comparison, you will distinguish the king and the queen, the bishop and the knight, knowing that the knight cannot substitute for the rook nor can the rook become the pawn.

There is also the difference of color, white and black, but that does not restrict the movements of any piece, and finally one or the other can win the game, which is how the world works. Perhaps it would be a good idea, from time to time, to insert a diagram of beautiful or difficult positions, just as they do in chess literature. Not having a chessboard, this means of following the moves is a great help, but it could be that you have enough vision to reproduce by memory the different moves.

I think so. Away with diagrams! Everything will happen as if you really were watching a game between two players, or more clearly, between God and the Devil.



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