In a small, vast, and brilliant book called Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing, by Hélène Cixous (1993), the author is taken to three schools by writers that she loves: the School of the Dead, the School of Dreams, and the School of Roots. One of the books that transport Cixous to the School of Dreams is Clarice Lispector’s second published novel, The Chandelier.
[...] throughout all of Clarice’s work there is a dazzling – almost primordial, inaugural, Edenic – vision of gender, of the man-woman division. One notes a frightened fascination that there is a male-animal-man in the world, as we read, for example, in the short story “The Buffalo,” and also in another story about phantasmic and monstrous masculinity titled “The Dinner”.
Last December, Clarice Lispector’s new website, launched on the author’s centenary, on December 10, 2020, earned second place in the Best Digital Design category of the Brasil Design Award.
Michel de Certeau, in his La fable mystique, addresses an important aspect in the relation between idiocy and holiness in the first centuries, particularly in Christian literature, namely: a mode of isolation in the crowd. Idiocy, in the form of madness, is attributed to the crowd, and additionally, is established as a provocation, a transgression in the field of the “right-minded.”
The writer Ana Maria Machado had an unusual and emotional episode with Clarice Lispector. This happened in 1975. After having read an article by Ana Maria, published that very day in the Jornal do Brasil, about the birthday of the writer Roland Barthes, Clarice, who did not know her personally, insistently asked her for help to organize what in two years would be the book The Hour of the Star.
I believe that Clarice and I shared a common feeling: objects are not inanimate, on the contrary, they have a secret life. I do not know if the reader has already tried turning off the lights at night in your room and, little by little, noticed that your eyes adapt to the dark and finally you can perceive the living presence of things.
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.
In the 1960s, the Spaniard Jaime Vilaseca was a carpenter in Rio de Janeiro until a fateful encounter with Clarice Lispector, for whom he had gone to make a bookcase in her apartment in the Leme neighborhood.
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.”