Clarice Lispector’s notebook – measuring exactly 17 cm x 10,5 cm and 58 pages – is made available here in full, for the enjoyment of researchers and readers of her work. The logbook, as it came to be called by the Literature team at the Moreira Salles Institute, was donated by the son and heir of the author, Paulo Gurgel Valente, in January 2012. After going through the process that is common for all documents deposited under our care, such as cleaning and cataloging, the notebook was digitized in high resolution and its content transcribed.

Throughout the reading, we will have countless moments of happiness to accompany, more than the recording of small details during the months of July and August 1944 during Clarice Lispector’s journey to Naples with stops at Fisherman’s Lake at Lisbon. One of the surprises is due to the passages, still in a rudimentary phase, from her second novel, O lustre [The Chandelier], which would be published in 1946, when the author was already in Switzerland, the country where she also wrote A cidade sitiada [The Besieged City]. We read in the notepad that working on the hitherto unnamed book was one of Clarice’s daily activities until she reached her final destination. Some characters from The  Chandelier, such as Adriano and Vicente, are mentioned in the notebook – this can therefore be considered a valuable document for those dedicated to genetic literary criticism.

Another happy find in the yellowed but preserved pages is one of her notes that would echo in the short story “The Smallest Woman in the World”, included in Laços de família [Family Ties], of 1960. Clarice records on July 31, 1944 the mutual astonishment generated from the meeting between her and the “beautiful, clean” black people of some villages in Liberia, “where the missionaries did not arrive”. It goes into the description of women and men, of the looks, of a small shop, and she confides: “How I liked those black people”. The fact seems to have provided inspiration for the aforementioned story, and the annotation is an almost ready text that would unfold into two others: “Africa”, included in Fundo de Gavetae [Back of the Drawer], of 1964, and “Corças negras”, published on April 5, 1969 in  Jornal do Brasil and later collected 1984 for the collection of chronicles A descoberta do mundo [published as English as Selected Crônicas].

Clarice Lispector was also in Lisbon for 12 days and recorded in this block of notes her days in the Portuguese capital, closely accompanied by the Brazilian diplomat and poet Ribeiro Couto. Motivated by the annotations in Lusitanian lands, Elvia Bezerra looked more closely at the relationship between the two in the text “Caderno de Lisboa”.

Still leafing through the pages, we recognize the authentic naturalness when we come across a note in which the urgency is revealed by the frequently illegible handwriting, numerous erasures, torn pages and lapses. To safeguard the reading from possible misunderstandings, there are words indicated in brackets, which, although somewhat legible, cannot be affirmed by us. The original punctuation was maintained, but the spelling was updated in accordance with the Portuguese Language Spelling Agreement of 1990, in force in Brazil since 2009.

We would like to express our special thanks to the Clarice Lispector researcher Nádia Batella Gotlib for the kindness of assisting in the transcription and preparation of the notes and to Paulo Gurgel Valente for choosing the Moreira Salles Institute as the guardian for this small and valuable logbook.

Elizama Almeida