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PRELIMINARY REMARKS

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analysis, a way of loving mankind without esteeming it . . .

"The excellency with which the author of Yayá Garcia writes our language is proverbial . . . The highest distinction of the genius of Machado de Assis in Brazilian literature is that he is the only truly universal writer we possess, without ceasing on that account to be really Brazilian."

When the Brazilian Academy of letters was founded in 1897, Machado de Assis was unanimously elected president and held the position until his death. Oliveira Lima, who lectured at Harvard during the college season of 1915-1916, and who is himself one of the great intellectual forces of contemporary Brazil, has written of Machado de Assis: "By his extraordinary talent as writer, by his profound literary dignity, by the unity of a life that was entirely devoted to the cult of intellectual beauty, and by the prestige exerted about him by his work and by his personality, Machado de Assis succeeded, despite a nature that was averse to acclaim and little inclined to public appearance, in being considered and respected as the first among his country's men-of-letters: the head, if that word can denote the idea, of a youthful literature which already possesses its tradi-