The work of Clarice Lispector revolves around on two notions: the symbol and the thing. The thing, physics, and the symbol, metaphysics; the thing, immanence, and the symbol, transcendence; the thing, the body, and the symbol, language; the thing, existence, and the symbol, the saying; the thing, the event, and the symbol, the way to make it possible to read the nonsymbolizable thing.
The chronicles of Clarice Lispector were collected in a book for the first time in 1984, in The Discovery of the World, a volume edited by Paulo Gurgel Valente, the author’s son, who arranged in chronological order 468 texts published in the Jornal do Brasil between 1967 and 1973.
The numerous commentators who not only in Brazil but also throughout the world investigate Clarice Lispector’s work encounter several aspects to highlight in her multifaceted writing.1 From the fruitful tension between transcendence and contingence to the profound and refined attention to the human condition, one can encounter an immense variety of dimensions in her body of writings.
That was the first sensation which I had when I saw Clarice’s paintings: my whole body shivered in a flush that was shared with these two women who worked every day at the archive. A kind of slip, a discomposure, a “human dismantling.” As Clarice wrote, “She needs to move her whole boneless head to look at an object.”
Caetano Veloso says that when he showed the acoustic version of his song “Odeio” (I hate), which would be included on the Cê album, to his friend and composer Jorge Mautner, the latter cried and told him that it was the most beautiful love song that he had ever heard.
Every year, in the liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church, Carnival is followed by Lent, a period in which the faithful withdraw from mundane life to dedicate themselves to sacrifices, charity, and prayer.
Clarice Lispector wrote about sex only once. It was in the book A via crúcis do corpo (The Via Crucis of the Body).
For the journalist Laura Freitas, Clarice’s female characters hide the germ of nonconformity – “the women are wild,” she affirms.
In the interviews done by Clarice there is a sort of unsuitableness for the job with respect to journalistic technique. With Vinicius de Moraes, her first approach sounds like a provocation: “Vinicius, have you really ever loved anyone in life?”
It has become commonplace to say that Clarice Lispector’s writing seeks to overcome the limits of language which the author names “it,” “nucleus,” “thing,” “unsayable,” “silence.”