• 09/12/2019

Clarice in a new reedition

, Clarice in a new reedition. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2019. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2019/12/09/clarice-em-nova-reedicao/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

In 2020, Clarice Lispector would turn 100 years old. A series of events has been scheduled to celebrate the occasion. The Rocco publishing house, which is responsible for the publication of her works, has already begun the commemorations with the reedition of the writer’s first three novels, written in the 1940s, when Clarice had not yet turned 30 years old: Near to the Wild Heart, The Chandelier, and The Besieged City. The rest of her complete works will be completely reedited by the end of next year.

The graphic design is under the care of Victor Burton, an award-winning book designer. The covers are illustrated with images and paintings by Clarice, most of which were done in 1975. The writer’s relation to visual art was never intended to be more than a pastime that expanded her creative processes; nonetheless, her production totals 22 paintings – two of which belong to the Moreira Salles Institute (IMS) collection – and earned a long reflection by the Portuguese critic Carlos Mendes de Sousa in the book Clarice Lispector: pinturas (Clarice Lispector: Paintings), which is also edited by Rocco. 

The new editions also include new afterwords, written by specialists in Clarice’s work, such as Nádia Gotlib, Clarisse Fukelman, Benjamin Moser, Aparecida Maria Nunes, Ricardo Iannace, Marina Colasanti, Eucanaã Ferraz, Teresa Montero, Arnaldo Franco Junior, and the author’s son, Paulo Gurgel Valente. The director of this project, Luiz Fernando Carvalho, who recently adapted the book The Passion According G.H. to the screen (with a premier set for next year), also wrote one of the texts.   

This first reedition, in 2019, contemplates Clarice’s first novel, Into the Wild Heart, which was a huge critical success, having received many positive reviews, including by the writer Antonio Candido, who at the time praised the author’s debut for the Folha de S. Paulo: “in our literature, it is a performance of the highest quality. The author – who seems to be a young novice – seriously considered the problem of style and expression.” The Chandelier (1946), her second book, on the contrary, had a lukewarm reception, which marked the beginning of the writer’s difficult relationship with publishers throughout her career. Lastly, The Besieged City (1949), which was written in Bern, Switzerland, when the young Clarice was accompanying her husband Maury Gurgel Valente on a diplomatic mission.  

Clarice’s early literature, which now arrives at bookstores with a new look, demonstrates in the themes, narrative techniques, humor, style, and existential disquiet the same qualities that – reiterated by critics and the public – would be the trademark of the great writer’s successful career.

Notes

Clarice in Paris

, Clarice in Paris. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2019. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2019/03/11/clarice-em-paris/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

The traditional Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company placed on special display the English version of the book The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector. Translated by Katrina Dodson, who won the 2016 PEN Translation Prize for her efforts, the edition was one of the reading suggestions made by the store’s team of booksellers, which is specialized in English-language literature.      

Shakespeare and Company Bookstore, in Paris.

The note that accompanied the book on display stressed that the collection of Clarice’s short stories in English was a great opportunity for a larger public to get to know the important Brazilian writer. They described her as possessing a poetic language and hypnotic rhythm, which “carried the reader in a fantastic way through the sublime universe of female characters, the human unconscious, and unrequited love.”  

The bookstore has a long history in the French capital. The first store opened in 1919, by the American Sylvia Beach, and became a meeting place for artists such as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Man Ray, Djuna Barnes, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot. In 1922, Shakespeare and Company published the masterpiece of modern literature Ulysses, by James Joyce, which at the time had been prohibited in the United Kingdom and the United States.    

It is worth recalling that it is from the epigraph of another book by the Irish writer, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (“He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life.”), that Clarice, without knowing, and accepting a suggestion by her friend Lúcio Cardoso, borrowed the name for her first novel.

The store, which had been located at 12 rue de l’Odéon since its opening, was forced to close in June 1940 during the German occupation in Paris. After the war, another American, George Whitman, opened the bookstore Le mistral at 37 rue de la Bûcherie, which was modeled after Sylvia’s bookstore. After her death in 1964, George, who six years earlier had received authorization to use the original name, changed his sign to Shakespeare and Company.  

Under new direction, the place was frequented at different times by writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Henry Miller, and Anaïs Nin, hosted friends (since it had rooms for this purpose), and housed, between 1978 and 1981, the headquarters of the literary journal Paris Voices. According to the owner’s definitions, the establishment could be considered “a socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.”    

In a photo published on the bookstore’s Instagram page, on March 8, 2019, Clarice’s face appeared next to singer and actress Marianne Faithfull and others, printed on book covers held by store patrons during the celebration of International Women’s Day.

Book cover for The Complete Stories, by Clarice Lispector, at the celebration party for International Women’s Day promoted by the Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company.

The emphasis given to the Brazilian writer by a bookstore that specializes in the English language – and that was, as we have seen, the publishing house of an illustrious inventor such as Joyce –, not only reaffirmed the already confirmed quality of Katrina Dodson’s translation and Benjamin Moser’s efforts to promote the author in English-speaking countries, but also gives an idea of the increasing prestige that Clarice has reached outside of Brazil.

Notes

“The Chandelier” is published in English

, “The Chandelier” is published in English. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2018. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2018/04/05/o-lustre-e-publicado-em-ingles/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

The Chandelier, Clarice Lispector’s second novel, published in 1946, was just translated into English by Benjamin Moser and Magdalena Edwards. The book is another of a series of translations of the author’s works that have been published in the past few years. In a statement to The New York Times, Moser observes that this may be the strangest and hardest book by the Brazilian writer (who was born in Ukraine in 1920). The British critic Christopher Ricks, for his part, sees it as a miniature of Clarice’s universe:

So many of the themes, philosophical inquiries and character types that appear [in The Chandelier] will return, honed as Lispector refines her style and hardens them into the diamond like perfection of her final books, which are narrated in jagged aphorisms – ‘anti literature’ she called them.

The American newspaper furthermore celebrates the rediscovery of Clarice in the United States as one of the true literary events of the 21st century, highlighting the singularity of her writing, which is marked by a unique punctuation and syntax, in addition to a capacity to resignify words according to her own wishes – “No one sounds like Lispector (…). No one thinks like her,” the journalist Parul Sehgal concludes.

A few days after the American newspaper featured The Chandelier, the editor Gregory Cowles included the book on the list of ten reading suggestions that he made for the prestigious Book Review column.   

Read The New York Times article here. 

*Photo: Unidentified photographer/ Clarice Lispector Collection/ IMS

Notes

  • 19/01/2018

Clarice Lispector by Jorge Carrión

, Clarice Lispector by Jorge Carrión. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2018. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2018/01/19/clarice-lispector/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

The Spanish writer and critic Jorge Carrión recently published in The New York Times an essay about the life and work of Clarice Lispector (“La pasión según Clarice Lispector”). Starting from a reading of Por qué este mundo, the biography of Clarice written by Benjamin Moser and recently released in Spanish translation by the Siruela publishing house, the author addresses broader issues related to Clarice’s work:   

 “She did not like interviews and fiction – in her case – is much more important, incisive, and eloquent than nonfiction. By reading her novels and short stories, one might conclude that she is a hermetic author, close to mysticism. However, I believe, on the contrary, that she is an absolutely contemporary artist, who resolved in her work one of the great literary problems of our time: how to write, with abstract ambition, mental landscapes with figurative language.”  

That is, for Carrión, Clarice’s work is “corporeal, totally vital, and bloody,” although it is curdled with metaphors and mysteries. This characteristic brings her prose closer to poetry, according to the critic. That is why, perhaps, she wrote as if it were to save someone’s life, perhaps her own, as she said in A Breath of Life.Read Carrión’s essay, in Spanish, by clicking here.

Notes

  • 11/12/2017

Clarice’s biography now has a Spanish edition

, Clarice’s biography now has a Spanish edition. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/12/11/biografia-de-clarice-ganha-edicao-em-espanhol/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

Written by Benjamin Moser, Clarice Lispector’s biography Why This World (Oxford University Press, 2009) continues to circulate around the world. Also published in Brazil by Cosac Naify in 2009, and translated by José Geraldo Couto, a new edition of the work was released this year, this time by Companhia das Letras. Titled Clarice, the reedited biography includes new photos, rare images, letters, and manuscripts discovered by Moser himself.   

The book has now arrived in Spanish-speaking countries. The Madrid publisher Siruela released Por qué este mundo. Una biografía de Clarice Lispector (trans. Cristina Sánchez-Andrade) in September in Europe and began to distribute it in Latin America this month. The new releases will give Spanish-speaking readers the opportunity to get in touch with “a biography worthy of its great subject,” according to Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish Nobel Prize-winning writer. “One of the twentieth century’s most mysterious writers is finally revealed in all her vibrant colors.”    

Are you interested? You can read a passage of the work by clicking here.

Notes

Clarice Lispector’s hour and turn

, Clarice Lispector’s hour and turn. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/12/04/a-hora-e-a-vez-de-clarice-lispector/. Acesso em: 15 June 2024.

The year 2017 marked the 40th anniversary of The Hour of the Star, the last book written by Clarice Lispector and published in the year of her death. The event “Clarice’s Hour,” which is organized annually by the IMS to celebrate the writer’s birthday (December 10), will pay tribute to this legacy with a number of events at its various headquarters. In addition, other institutions will hold readings, releases, and presentations in Brazil and abroad.   

One of the highlights of the project is the performance of The Hour of the Star directed by Bruno Lara Resende, with the actors Ana Carina, Charles Fricks, Marcio Vito, and Raquel Iantas. At the IMS in Poços de Caldas, the professor Sérgio Roberto Montero Aguiar will talk about Maria Bethânia’s relationship with Clarice’s work using audio clips from shows, books, LPs, and projected images. In São Paulo, there will be an encounter with the writer and translator Idra Novey, who translated The Passion According to G.H. into English.   

This edition reaffirms the increasing recognition of Clarice’s work in the world. One of the most recent signs of this importance was the publication of The Complete Stories by the American publisher New Directions, considered by The New York Times as one of the hundred best books of 2015 and winner of the PEN Translation Prize. In 2017, another important translation was made public, this time in France: Des Femmes-Antoinette Fouque published Nouvelles – Édition Complete, a selection of 85 texts.     

 “Clarice’s Hour” is part of this great movement of international promotion of Clarice’s work. In this edition, activities outside Brazil include the release of The Passion of G.H in Turkey (by the MonoKL publishing house) and a celebration at the Brazilian Embassy in Holland, where a translation of the novel will also be published. In addition, in Portugal, also on the 10th, a biography of the writer titled Clarice, uma biografia (Clarice, a biography), written by Benjamin Moser, will be released.

As her notoriety grows abroad, her recognition in her homeland is becoming even stronger. One of Brazil’s most beloved writers, in addition to being an object of extensive and fertile criticism, Clarice arouses much interest, as can be noted by the several events scheduled to happen during the week of “Clarice’s Hour” in various regions of the country, from São Paulo to Caraúbas, at the Federal Rural University of the Semi-Arid Region (UFERSA).