Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis (Portuguese: [ʒwɐˈkĩ mɐˈɾi.ɐ mɐˈʃadu dʒi ɐˈsis]), often known by his surnames as Machado de Assis, Machado, or Bruxo do Cosme Velho (21 June 1839 – 29 September 1908), was a pioneer Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright and short story writer. Widely regarded as the greatest writer of Brazilian literature, nevertheless he did not gain widespread popularity outside Brazil in his own lifetime. In 1897 he founded and became the first President of the Brazilian Academy of Letters. He was multilingual, having taught himself French, English, German and Greek in later life.
Machado's works had a great influence on Brazilian literary schools of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 1941, the Brazilian Academy of Letters founded in his honor the Prêmio Machado de Assis (Machado de Assis Award), the most prestigious literary award in Brazil. For his innovation and audacity in early themes, Assis is often seen as a writer of unprecedented production, being known for his irony and wide vocabulary. Among his most famous works are Dom Casmurro (1899), Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas ("Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas", also translated as Epitaph of a Small Winner) and Quincas Borba (also known in English as Philosopher or Dog?). Machado de Assis was included on American literary critic Harold Bloom's list of the greatest 100 geniuses of literature; and although Machado de Assis was of mixed ethnicity, Bloom considers him the greatest black writer in Western literature.