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Handwritten letter from Machado de Assis (1903)

Handwritten letter from Machado de Assis (1903)

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At the beginning of 1903, Machado de Assis congratulates Mário de Alencar, recently promoted to the Ministry of Justice.

  • Handwritten letter from Machado de Assis to Mário de Alencar.
  • A leaf.
  • 14.5cm x 21.5cm.
  • In Portuguese.
  • No location information, January 3, 1903.
  • Average condition.
  • Unique piece.

My dear Mario,

This is what it means to enter the new year well. Receive a big hug from here for the promotion, and if it arrives (I believe there are plenty) share it among the whole family. Old friend.

Machado de Assis


Machado de Assis (1839-1908), probably the most renowned Brazilian writer inside and outside Brazil, even if he was not always considered that way, covered all literary genres and his books became classics of literature in Portuguese.

He wrote this letter in 1903, in the last period of his life, before publishing his last works and falling into a deep depression, as a result of his wife 's death. The recipient of this friendly text is Mário de Alencar (1872-1925), writer and son of José de Alencar (1829-1877), a great friend of Machado . Mário de Alencar, a civil servant, had just been promoted to advisor to the Minister of Justice and Interior Affairs, José Joaquim Seabra.

Machado de Assis had José de Alencar as his esteemed father. During the founding of ABL, he chose him as his patron and helped him sponsor the publication of the book Iracema. History repeated itself with Mário de Alencar and some experts on the works of Machado de Assis , consider that the writer was a kind of substitute father (and even biological, but there is no proof) for Mário de Alencar, 33 years younger, who was orphaned by his famous father at just five years old .

The few letters of Machado de Assis preserved to this day were, for the most part, written when he was a civil servant at the State Secretariat of the Ministry of Agriculture, Commerce and Public Works, a position he assumed the year following the publication of his first novel, and which guaranteed his subsistence until the end of his life. Letters with more personal content, like this one, are even rarer and sought after by collectors. The majority of them are found in public institutions, such as the Brazilian Academy of Letters.

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