The judgment of Verissimo upon Machado de Assis differs somewhat from that of his distinguished compatriots. Both because of the importance of Machado de Assis to Brazilian literature, and as an insight into Verissimo's delightful critical style, I translate somewhat at length from that writer.
"With Varias Historias," he says in his studies of Brazilian letters, "Sr. Machado de Assis published his fifteenth volume and his fifth collection of tales . . . To say that in our literature Machado de Assis is a figure apart, that he stands with good reason first among our writers of fiction, that he possesses a rare faculty of assimilation and evolution which makes him a writer of the second Romantic generation, always a contemporary, a modern, without on this account having sacrificed anything to the latest literary fashion or copied some brand-new aesthetic, above all conserving his own distinct, singular personality . . . is but to repeat what has been said many times already. All these judgments are confirmed by his latest book, wherein may be noted the same impeccable correctness of language, the same firm grasp upon form, the same abundancy, force and originality of thought that make of him the only thinker among our writers of