This site claims to be the most complete collection of short stories by the Brazilian author Machado de Assis ever assembled. 205 of the total 217 short stories on the site are generally recognized as having been written by this author; ten more are attributed to him by R. Magalhaes Junior. In additon, there are two other stories included on the site that are generally treated as cronicas, a journalistic genre that is usually shorter in length than the typical short story.
Students of Brazilian literature and of Machado de Assis in particular can enhance their knowledge of his works. Students of Portuguese can develop reading proficiency at an advanced level.
Target Student Population:
Advanced students of Portuguese and readers with native fluency.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Advanced reading proficiency in Portuguese.
Type of Material:
Users can print stories or read them on-screen. Comprehension and essay questions can be written to accompany the individual stories.
The author warns of possible slow loading times depending on one's computer setup. He also says that viewing can be effected if the user's browser does not recognize style sheets.
Evaluation and Observation
Having all of Machado de Assis's short stories at one's fingertips is a real plus for students of Brazilian literature. The pages are clearly designed on a background that looks like parchment. Mouseovers of some old place names reveal the modern day names. Notes appear in the right margin on the same page. Pages may be printed individually by clicking the Imprimir button. Stories are arranged alphabetically and chronologically.
There is some very interesting information on the orthographic and grammatical differences in the Portuguese language from Machado's time to the present. The site's author documents any modernizations that are used to accommodate the modern reader.
An enhancement would be the inclusion of background information on the author as well as links to literary criticism of his work. A timeline of the Brazil of Machado's time would be another nice feature to add.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
The site's simplicity is a strength. An entire course could be designed around the many texts contained here. Learning assignments to accompany the short stories could easily be written and placed in MERLOT treating the various texts.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
The site is very easy to navigate. The author takes great pains to cover all details in his technical notes. The sources of all materials are duly noted on the Sources and Credits pages.