The Alienist

Translated by W.L. Grossman

Part of The Art of the Novella

Brilliant physician Simão Bacamarte sacrifices a prestigious career to return home and dedicate himself to the budding field of psychology. Bacamarte opens the first asylum in Brazil hoping to crown himself and his hometown with “imperishable laurels.” But the doctor begins to see signs of insanity in more and more of his neighbors. . . .

With dark humor and sparse prose, The Alienist lets the reader ponder who is really crazy.


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MACHADO DE ASSIS (1839–1908), was a Brazilian novelist, poet, playwright and short story writer. He is widely regarded as the greatest and most influential writer of Brazilian literature.

W.L. GROSSMAN was the first English translator of Machado de Assis.

The Alienist glitters with Swiftian satire. Machado’s shrewd, even devious work with the point of view of his narrators positions him alongside Henry James.” —The Guardian