Esau and Jacob: A Novel

Esau and Jacob: A Novel

Esau and Jacob: A Novel

Esau and Jacob: A Novel

Synopsis

Esau and Jacob is the last of Machado de Assis's four great novels. At one level it is the story of twin brothers in love with the same woman and her inability to choose between them. At another level, it is the story of Brazil itself, caught between the traditional and the modern, and between the monarchical and republican ideals. Instead of a heroic biblical fable, Machado de Assis gives us a story of the petty squabbles, conflicting ambitions, doubts, and insecurities that are part of the human condition.

Excerpt

The Library of Latin America series makes available in translation major nineteenth-century authors whose work has been neglected in the English-speaking world. The titles for the translations from the Spanish and Portuguese were suggested by an editorial committee that included Jean Franco (general editor responsible for works in Spanish), Richard Graham (series editor responsible for works in Portuguese), Tulio Halperín Donghi (at the University of California, Berkeley), Iván Jaksić (at the University of Notre Dame), Naomi Lindstrom (at the University of Texas at Austin), Francine Masiello (at the University of California, Berkeley), and Eduardo Lozano of the Library at the University of Pittsburgh. The late Antonio Cornejo Polar of the University of California, Berkeley, was also one of the founding members of the committee. The translations have been funded thanks to the generosity of the Lampadia Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

During the period of national formation between 1810 and into the early years of the twentieth century, the new nations of Latin America fashioned their identities, drew up constitutions, engaged in bitter struggles over territory, and debated questions of education, government, ethnicity, and culture. This was a unique period unlike the process of nation formation in Europe and one which should be more familiar than it is to students of comparative politics, history, and literature.

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