By Machado De Assis
Machado de Assis (1839-1908) is the nice Brazilian writer of thinker or puppy? and Epitaph of a Small Winner, whose paintings is widespread by way of writers as diversified as Salman Rushdie, Carlos Fuentes, Woody Allen and Susan Sontag. Taken from his mature interval, those brilliant tales echo Poe and Gogol, expect Joyce, and feature been in comparison to the writing of Chekhov, Maupassant and Henry James, but his sleek sensibility and clear-eyed humour stay completely distinctive.
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Additional info for A Chapter of Hats: Selected Stories
The hierarchy of pleasures goes together with that metaphysics of work and activity (practical and theoretical, thus occasionally contemplative) which is mixed up in the history of Western reason. Here again, Adorno and Horkheimer correctly point out that drug culture has always been associated with the other of the Occident, with oriental ethics and religion (Dialectic 63). So it cannot be said that the pleasure of drug use (la jouissance toxicomanique) is in itself forbidden. Rather we forbid a pleasure that is at once solitary, desocializing, and yet contagious for the socius.
This prohibition and this law are thus not simply products of artifice, not artifacts like any other—they are the very condition for the possibility of a respect for the law in our society. A prohibition is not necessarily bad, nor must it necessarily assume brutal forms—its methods may be complex and symbolically overdetermined; however, no one can deny that the survival of our culture presupposes this prohibition. It belongs fundamentally to the very concept of our culture, etc. From the moment we recognize the institutional character of a certain concept of drugs, drug addiction, narcotics, and poisons, two ethicopolitical axiomatics appear in conflict.
The drug addict, in our common conception, the drug addict as such produces nothing, nothing true or real. He is legitimate only in certain cases, secretly and inadmissibly, for certain portions of society, and only inasmuch as he participates, at least indirectly, in the production and consumption of goods. . A: With certain writers, those of the “Grand Jeu,”3 Burroughs currently, Artaud when he was with the surrealists, in his “Letter to the Legislator,” drugs are advanced as the object of a political battle, indeed the definitive political battle.
A Chapter of Hats: Selected Stories by Machado De Assis