• 05/02/2019

In love with love

, In love with love. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2019. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2019/02/05/amar-o-amor/. Acesso em: 02 March 2024.

Before publishing her first book, while still a law student, Clarice Lispector had worked in the press as a reporter and editor for the National Agency and in periodicals such as the magazine Vamos ler! (Let’s Read) and the newspaper A Noite (Night). At the end of the 1960s, already famous, she accepted the invitation to assume an interview section in the celebrated Manchete. For almost a year and a half, important figures from literature, theater, music, visual art, and sports underwent the writer’s question-and-answer sessions, including friends such as Lygia Fagundes Telles, Rubem Braga, Maria Bonomi, and also Vinicius de Moraes. 

What immediately calls for attention in the conversations with Clarice is a sort of unsuitableness for the job with respect to journalistic technique: she is too personal, she is at times indiscrete, and the worst of heresies, she talks about herself as if she were being interviewed. It could not have been any different, and of course, the magazine knew it – the session would be called “Possible Dialogues with Clarice Lispector.” Instead of possible, it would perhaps be better to say improbable.      

In the interview with Vinicius, published in 1969, the first approach immediately sounds like a provocation: “Vinicius, did you ever really love someone in life?” Now, in theory, that was no question to ask, even more so without warning, to the famous lover of women and great proponent of love lyric in Brazil, author of sonnets that are monuments of the Portuguese language and correspond to those of Camões in importance.

The writer explains that she had telephoned one of the poet’s ex-wives, who had told her that when he is in love he gives his all: to children, women, friendships. That is why Clarice arrived at the idea that what Vinicius really loved was love, and women were included in it. “It’s true that I love love,” he answered, “but that doesn’t mean I didn’t love the women I had. I have the impression that, to those I really loved, I gave my all.”  

Clarice, certainly because she knew the biography of the poet, about to marry for the seventh time, proceeds: “I believe you, Vinicius. I really do. Although I also believe that when a man and a woman are in true love, the union is always renewed, no matter what the fights and disagreements are: two people are never permanently the same and this can create new loves in the same pair.”  

A beautiful reflection on love, however totally in contrast with that of the poet, who argues: “Of course, but I still think that the love which lasts for eternity is passion-love, the most precarious, the most dangerous, certainly the most painful. That love is the only one which is as big as the universe.”  

The interviewer retakes the floor, undismayed: “Do you break up because you meet another woman or because you get tired of the first?” 

In my life it’s as if one woman had placed me in the arms of another. Maybe because this passion-love is unable to survive due to its own intensity. I think this is expressed aptly in the final couplet of my “Sonnet of Fidelity:” “Be not immortal since it is flame/  But be infinite while it lasts.”

The interview continues, but for the meantime let us stop here. With such direct and disconcerting questions, Clarice intuitively touches sensitive points of the amorous personality of Vinicius. Passion-love is one of them. According to the philosopher Alain Badiou [1], romantic love highlights the initial ecstasy of the first encounter, which would not be, for him, the most important moment in an amorous relationship. Such a love is based, rather, on a lasting construction, to which he also gives the name of “stubborn adventure.” Thus, unlike the apprehension of the instant as the only temporal dimension of eternity, he proposes a conception that is “less miraculous and more hard work, namely a construction of eternity within time, of the experience of the Two, point by point.”    

Clarice would agree with Badiou. For Vinicius, however, love should be experienced in paroxysm: “but to love is to suffer, but to love is to die of pain,” he sings in one of his Afro-sambas, “Canto de Xangô,” in partnership with Baden Powell. The poet wishes to merge with his loved one, but the acute awareness of misfortune causes him suffering. Going into the heart’s reasons of which reason itself is unaware, he seeks to make the impossible possible in the rebirth of love in new relationships. The opposite of Clarice’s approach, to create new loves in the same relationship.  

Thus would come the feeling that, for the author of “Sonnet of Fidelity,” his life was as if one woman had placed him in the arms of another. That is also why, in his verses, there is often the analogy between real women and the imagined ideal woman, such that the former assumed the qualities of the latter. No poem better exemplifies such a fusion than “Epitalâmio” (Epithalamium). In this poem, at the end of a long list of women’s names – some of which antithetically reinforce archetypal qualities (Shadow / Dawn, Vandal / Saint, Lofty / Smooth), and others that evoke supposedly real women (Alice, Maria, Nina, Linda, Marina, Maja, Clélia) with whom he had some type of amorous experience – the poet is astonished:       

Vejo chegar alguém que me procura
Alguém à porta, alguma desgraçada
Que se perdeu, a voz no telefone
Que não sei de quem é, a com que moro
E a que morreu… Quem és, responde!
És tu a mesma em todas renovada?

Sou Eu! Sou Eu! Sou Eu! Sou Eu! Sou Eu!

(I see someone arrive looking for me
Someone at the door, some wretch
Who is lost, the voice on the telephone
That I do not recognize, the one I live with 
And the one who died… Who are you, answer me!
Is that you, the same in all of them, renewed?
It’s me! It’s me! It’s me! It’s me! It’s me!)

The “Sou eu!” (It’s me) that emphatically echoes in the last verse of the poem introduces a revealing ambiguity, for it can mean both the answer of a woman and the actual voice of the poet, who is confused with her or even with all of them – in this case, the polyphony would come from as many voices as the women evoked. It is an answer that combines in a single phrase poet, real women, and the ideal woman (“a mesma em todas renovada” [“the same in all them, renewed”]) and it performs in the poem, therefore, the fusion with the loved one that is impossible in real life.

For the poet, the love devoted to women was the most important way to plenitude in love. But it is not the only way. In his first answer to Clarice, he affirms: “I understand this love to be the sum of all loves, that is, the love of a man for a woman, a woman for a man, the love of a woman for a woman, the love of a man for a man, the love of a human being for the community of his or her fellow human beings.” The conversation between them continues, but all of a sudden, they grow quiet.   

Vinicius breaks the silence: “I have so much tenderness for your burnt hand….”

It is worth recalling that, three years earlier, Clarice had started a fire in her house after falling asleep with a lit cigarette. With serious burns on her body and on the brink of death, she spent two months hospitalized at the Pio XII Clinic in Rio de Janeiro, from where she left with sequelae, mainly on her right hand. 

Moved, the writer addresses the reader and acknowledges: “this man involves a woman with tenderness.”

By touching a painful issue in the life of Clarice, the poet corresponds to the emotional intensity established by the writer herself at the beginning of the interview. What the delicate observation by Vinicius reveals here is the amorous game in which both were entangled – for both, love and pain are inseparable feelings.  

A sort of diffused seduction involves the two. Clarice asks Vinicius for a poem. He improvises a precise and impressive portrait of the author of The Passion According to G.H. He reaches the center of her obsession, the incessant search for the “self” in its immanence, and, in the objective condition of Other (as a mirror), he subjectively returns to her the singularity of existence, concentrated in the couplet formed by her own name. He thus says: “You write one word above and the other below because it’s a verse:”   

Clarice
Lispector

 “I think your name is beautiful, Clarice,” he says in praise.

The interview is over, but the writer wishes for further verification; she telephones one of the poet’s ex-wives and asks her: “How do you feel married to Vinicius?” She answers: “Very good. He gives me a lot. And more importantly, he helps me to live, to get to know life, to like people.” She also talks to an “intelligent girl:” “Would you go out with him?” “No (…) I love another man. And Vinicius reveals to me, moreover, that I love that man. His music makes us enjoy love even more. And ‘suddenly, no more than suddenly,’ it becomes something else (…).”  

The epilogue ends up revealing the unavoidable ethical unfolding of Vinicius’ work, which is impregnated with life and at all times overcome by a contagious effect that transforms other lives. These lives, for their part, will not follow his model, but his courage to live.

Clarice ends by saying: “Because there is greatness in Vinicius de Moraes.”

[1] In the book In Praise of Love (2009)

*Highlighted photo: Vinicius de Moraes, 1971. By Alécio de Andrade. Pirelli/MASP Photography Collection.

**Bruno Cosentino is a singer and songwriter. He has released the albums Amarelo (2015), Babies (2016), Corpos são feitos pra encaixar e depois morrer (2017) and Bad Bahia (2020). He is the editor of the music criticism magazine Polivox and a PhD in Brazilian literature at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), with research about love and eroticism in the poetry and songs of Vinicius de Moraes.

Notes

Cazuza to the sound of Lispector

, Cazuza to the sound of Lispector. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2018. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2018/10/24/cazuza-ao-som-de-lispector/. Acesso em: 02 March 2024.

“I wanted to announce the following: the person I love most in life is named Clarice Lispector.” This affirmation was made by Cazuza, who was already a bit tipsy, during his participation in a Angela Ro Ro concert at Morro da Urca, in Rio de Janeiro, in 1988.[1] The artist then said to the audience that he would like to sing a “poem” by Clarice that he had set to music. The so-called poem was, in fact, a passage from Água Viva (1973), which was duly adapted to become the lyrics for the song “Que o Deus venha” (May God come).[2]    

The songwriter was also inspired by Clarice to compose “A via-crúcis do corpo” (The Via Crucis of the Flesh),[3] based on the book of the same name, which was published in 1974. Beyond these more direct relations, it is possible to find echoes of Clarice in several of Cazuza’s images, as well as in the recurrence of the theme of freedom, which is often projected in a process of apprenticeship through love and through pleasure (such as in An Apprenticeship Or the Book of Delights, from 1969) that is actually constructed through a sort of “unapprenticeship” of established social values.

It is also worth thinking about the proximity between the composer and the writer based on the timeline that connects them. Clarice Lispector’s work spans over 30 years, beginning in the 1940s (with Near to the Wild Heart, in 1943) and ending in the 1970s (with the author’s death in 1977). It can be seen that Clarice lives through a fundamental moment in the history of the 20th century, in a period that offers a glimpse of the bridge that leads from the existentialist discussions and gender debates developed in the first half of the 20th century (especially the respective works of Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir) to the liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s.  

Thus, the existentialist premises that existence precedes essence and that human beings are “condemned” to be free, as well as the understanding that the social roles linked to gender (but also to class, race, and sexual orientation) are socially constructed, allowed new perspectives on the issue of freedom. In this sense, the counterculture of the 1960s and 1970s proposed to contest the values of the bourgeois patriarchal society, refusing the establishment and pointing to new forms of experience. In this group, we should consider not only the hippie and punk movement, and May 1968, but also all of the identity movements that gained force at that moment. In addition, we need to look at the emergence of rock’n’roll and its derivatives, which functioned as the soundtrack for the youth protests of the time.   

Cazuza was born in 1958, and was therefore an adolescent during the 1970s, already under the influence of these countercultural movements. Somehow, his work in the 1980s reveals, in a peculiar way, the points of intersection between this universe and that of Clarice Lispector, also shedding light on the historical trajectory that involves all of these expressions. In addition, it is worth considering the impact of AIDS in the 1980s (and of the famous cases of overdose in the 1970s) in relation to these liberation movements, which served as raw material for the song “Ideologia” (Ideology) by Cazuza, released on an album of the same name in 1988, the same year as the show where the artist affirmed his love for Clarice and sang his version of “Que o Deus venha.”

According to a later statement by his bandmate Frejat, Cazuza had given him the draft of the song so that he could make adjustments, provoking surprise by explaining that it was a text by the writer: “I could never have imagined that it was a text by Clarice, since it was so similar to the way he writes.” To understand the similarities, it is worth quoting the original fragment:

I’m restless and harsh and hopeless. Though I have love inside myself. It’s just that I don’t know how to use love. Sometimes it scratches like barbs. If I received so much love inside and nonetheless am restless it’s because I need the God to come.  Come before it’s too late. I’m in danger like every person who lives. And the only thing I can expect is precisely the unexpected. But I know that I shall have peace before death and that one day I shall taste the delicateness of life. I shall notice – as we eat and live the taste of food. (LISPECTOR, 2012, p.49)

Cazuza’s adaptation is generally limited to shifting the lyrical I to a male speaker and editing the verses, highlighting the poetic (and musical) nature of Clarice Lispector’s narrative fragment, which undergoes only slight modifications. In relation to the content, it is possible to identify a feeling of disquiet, which is similarly manifested in the work of both the composer and the writer. 

Clarice’s characters see themselves faced with three great instances of imprisonment, which can be schematized in the following manner: the social condition (in which gender oppression is especially significant), the human condition (in which the lack of control over one’s destiny is problematic), and finally, language (which tries to apprehend and give meaning to reality). The clash between this convulsive interior world and these limitations provides material for a large part of the writer’s work.  

In Near to the Wild Heart (1943), for example, the character Joana affirms: “Freedom isn’t enough. What I desire doesn’t have a name yet.”[4] This celebrated fragment illustrates not only the centrality of this theme in Clarice’s work, but the very clash with language, that is, with the impossibility of giving precise names to the dimensions of the subjective world. In the same book, freedom appears as a heroic option, when it does not appear as an extreme and unnarratable desire, fruit of the anguish caused by the limitations of the human condition and by its likewise limited (and limiting) language – “Freedom? It’s my final refuge, I forced myself to freedom and I bear it not like a talent but with heroism: I’m heroically free. And I want the flow.”[5] In this sense, to “want the flow” would correspond to denying existential, social, and expressional frameworks. The option of being free is heroic to the extent that it carries all the burden of the gauchismo of Rio Grande do Sul, of the pain of not belonging, of the struggle against a pre-established system that is already addicted to pretense.   

The title Near to the Wild Heart (1943) itself – whose epigraph reveals a reference to James Joyce, who writes about someone who was alone, “near to the wild heart of life” – already foretells that the narrative will be centered in this subjective, untamable, and disquieted world. It is worth pointing out that a similar universe can be found in iconic songs by Cazuza, such as “Down em mim” (Down in myself) – “Eu não sei o que meu corpo abriga/ nessas noites quentes de verão/ e nem me importa que mil raios partam/ qualquer sentido vago de razão” (I don’t know what my body holds/ on these hot summer nights/ and I don’t even care if a thousand lightning bolts shatter/ any vague sense of reason) and of “Só as mães são felizes” (Only mothers are happy), in which precisely the mother figure is painted in a negative light in relation to the creatures who inhabit “the dark side of life:” “nunca viu Lou Reed/ walking on the wild side” (you’ve never seen Lou Reed/ walking on the wild side) or “você nunca ouviu falar de maldição/ nunca viu um milagre/ nunca chorou sozinha num banheiro sujo/ nem nunca quis ver a face de Deus” (you’ve never heard of curses/ never seen a miracle/ never cried alone in a dirty bathroom/ or ever wanted to see God’s face).   

According to critic Benedito Nunes, more than a preoccupation with philosophizing, establishing, or discussing doctrines, there is in the writer’s works “a sensible intuition to write about the threat of anguish that embraces us, when one yearns to live under the sign of the search for freedom.”[6] Without a doubt, this anguish and this disquiet, which are primarily linked to the desire for freedom, are points that profoundly unite the works of Clarice and Cazuza.

As already mentioned, Cazuza was also directly inspired by Clarice Lispector to write “A via-crúcis do corpo” (The Via Crucis of the Flesh), in reference to the writer’s 1974 book of short stories with the same name. The composition revisits Clarice’s universe, not only in general, but also through references to this specific work, such as in the verses: “Só não volta a infância perdida/ só não nos livramos de morrer à toa” (Our lost childhood never returns/ we never free ourselves from dying for nothing), “A dor pode ser disfarçada/ mas a via-crúcis do corpo/ já foi há muito traçada” (Pain can be disguised/ but the Via Crucis of the body/ has long been traced), and “Será que eu tenho um destino?/  Não quero ter a vida pronta/ como um plano de trabalho/ como um sorvete de menta” (Do I have a destiny?/ I don’t want to have a ready-made life/ like a work plan/ like mint ice cream). 

The song’s lyrical subject, mirroring the incomplete and disquieted narrator, asks himself about the pain of existence – the Via-Crucis of the body and the soul – and the doubt about human destiny, in which freedom is, at the same time, a blessing and a curse. Note that these verses also echo the book Água Viva, which gave rise to “Que Deus venha,” in which the delimited figure of God reveals the beginning and the end of all things, attributing meaning to life and to death, not only by bringing plenitude and quietude to subjects, but also by offering himself as an interlocutor for the questions about existence. Just as in “Só as mães são felizes,” the creatures on the dark side of life are precisely those who aspire to see God’s face.           

The specific fragment that gave rise to “Que Deus venha” touches a point of constant disquiet in Cazuza’s work: the inability to love, which is presented as the composer’s great pathos. The recurring affirmation of not knowing how to love (in tension with his intense desire for a loving relationship) pervades several of his compositions and becomes notorious in the verses “embora amor dentro de mim eu tenha/ só que eu não sei usar amor” (although I have love inside me/ I just don’t know how to use love).   

Similar formulations appear in the lyrics to “Malandragem” (Malandroism), “eu sou poeta e não aprendi a amar” (I’m a poet and I haven’t learned how to love); “Rock’n’geral” (Rock’n’general), “ou de um coração meio surdo que não sabe amar” (or from a half-deaf heart that doesn’t know how to love); “Não amo ninguém” (I don’t love anyone), “não amo ninguém e é só amor que eu respiro” (I don’t love anyone and I breathe only love); “Filho único” (Only child), “estou na mais completa solidão/ do ser que é amado e não ama” (I’m so utterly lonely/ being loved but unloving); “Nunca sofri por amor” (I’ve never suffered because of love), “será que nunca amei de verdade/ ou o verdadeiro amor é assim” (maybe I’ve never truly been in love/ or true love is like this); “Carente profissional” (Professionally needy), “levando em frente/ um coração deprimente/ viciado em amar errado/ crente que o que ele sente/ é sagrado/ e é tudo piada” (carrying on/ with a depressing heart/ that’s addicted to misguided love/ that believes what it feels/ is sacred/ and everything is a joke); and “Fracasso” (Failure), “mas eu tenho a impressão/ que todos nós somos fracassados/ eu, por exemplo: não amo…” (but I have the impression/ that all of us are failures/ me, for example: I don’t love…).

In a broad sense, Água Viva speaks of the mystery of the instant that is life and death at the same time – creation and destruction. Beginning with the “alleluia” of a childbirth, the “human howl of the pain of separation,” but which is a “shout of diabolic joy,” speaks of the explosion of birth, of transition, of the existence that occurs in the limit between pain and joy, always advancing to the next instant, which provokes fear and fascination, for it concerns the unknown. The adapted verses of Cazuza concentrate these feelings by pointing out the danger of life, the always unexpected.    

It is also worth noting that there are several words that are repeated in this book, as well as in all the writer’s work: “shout,” “burn,” “pulse,” “vibrate,” “flow.” As already mentioned, these words are directly connected to an untamable interior space, which is imprisoned by the limits of the human condition, by the social frameworks that are imposed, and by discourse. This same set of words (or at least their meanings) pervade Cazuza’s compositions to a great extent. Additionally, the “screaming object” that is narrated in Água Viva is also closely related to the rock’n’roll universe, from where the artist takes the nature of his songs and cries.        

Finally, it is worth thinking that “the dark side of life,” or that which is found “near to the wild heart,” would not have as much strength if there were not a tension between the sacred and the profane, the cries and the silence, the flux and the limit, transgression and redemption, theft and the rose. And thus, the lyrics that begin with the “harsh,” “disquieted,” and “hopeless” subject projects the hope of finding peace before death, and furthermore, a deep desire for delicacy. And it is in this space of conflict that the works of Cazuza and Clarice Lispector are mutually illuminated.          

[1] The audio recording of Angela’s show, in which Cazuza makes this declaration and sings “Que Deus venha,” is available at www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3JzJHJg758. Accessed on 07/2018.  
[2] “Que o Deus venha” (Frejat/ Cazuza/ Clarice Lispector). Originally recorded by Barão Vermelho on the album Declare Guerra (1986) and rerecorded by Cássia Eller on Cássia Eller (1990). The only recording with Cazuza’s voice is precisely the informal audio recording from this show by Angela Ro Ro.  
[3] “A via-crúcis do corpo” (Cazuza). Text not set to music.
[4] In: Perto do Coração Selvagem (LISPECTOR, 1998:70)
[5] In: Água Viva (LISPECTOR, 1998, p.16)
[6] NUNES quoted in HELENA, 2006:38.

Writing for Newspapers

, Writing for Newspapers. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2018. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2018/08/22/todas-as-cronicas-de-clarice-lispector/. Acesso em: 02 March 2024.

This August, Todas as crônicas [All the Chronicles] will be released, a volume that brings together for the first time all the texts of the genre written by Clarice Lispector for newspapers and magazines. The edition, organized by Pedro Karp Vasquez, contains 124 articles never published before in book form.

The writer had a longstanding connection with the press. Even before she became known for her books, she had been a writer and reporter for the National Agency, a job obtained through a declaration of love for her country in a letter sent to President Getúlio Vargas. At that time, she did not yet sign the stories. Only a few years later, after launching her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, did she start to sign her name in O Jornal, owned by her friend Samuel Wainer. In the 1960s, sparingly, she also published short stories and chronicles in Senhor magazine. Distinction as an author of crônicas, however, would come starting in 1967, when she took up a column in the Jornal do Brasil, for which she wrote weekly for six years.

That being said, it may seem that Clarice’s familiarity with the newspaper text has always been peaceful; on the contrary, she showed discomfort more than once with the overly personal tone assumed in the chronicle. In “Fernando Pessoa me ajudando” (Fernando Pessoa Helping Me), for example, she writes:

In the literature of books I remain anonymous and discreet. In this column I am in some way letting myself be known. Am I losing my secret intimacy? But what to do? It’s just that I’m writing at the typewriter’s pace [ao correr da máquina] and, when I look up, I’ve revealed a certain part of myself.

The difference between “writing for newspapers and writing books” was still a reason for reflection in the chronicle of the same name: “In a newspaper one can never forget the reader, whereas in books one speaks more freely.”

Clarice was always apprehensive about signing her name indistinctly in one medium and another. Therefore, in the three experiences in which she was at the head of columns dedicated to the female public, during the 1950s and 1960s, she preferred to protect herself under three different female names: Tereza Quadros, Helen Palmer, and Ilka Soares. Distrust of newspapers also included writing for money. However, despite feeling as if she were “selling her soul,” as she once confessed, Clarice built a columnist’s oeuvre that is now placed on the same level as the short stories – as proves the edition of Todas as crônicas in a single volume, with the same graphic design of Todos os contos, released in 2015.

Todas as Crônicas is divided into three parts. The first and most extensive encompasses the chronicles written for the Jornal do Brasil, which had previously been compiled in A descoberta do mundo (Discovering the World). In this first edition, sixty texts were left out. This was due to the fact that, in the space reserved for the column, the writer sometimes published different independent fragments instead of a single text; in these cases, some were chosen over others. This new edition fills this gap. And, according to the organizer, it is now possible to discover, for example, Clarice’s opinion about some important writers, such as Rubem Braga, Nelson Rodrigues, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel García Márquez, among others.

The second part presents texts from Senhor and Joia magazines and the newspapers Última Hora and O Jornal that had never been published in a book. The selection is the result of research by Larissa Vaz in the archives of the Moreira Salles Institute, the National Library, and the Rui Barbosa House Foundation. The third part, finally, reproduces the chronicles extracted from the section called “Back of the Drawer,” originally published as part of the storybook The Foreign Legion, and later collected in Not to Forget.

An interesting fact is that, among the chronicles published by the author throughout her life, many were reused in different versions or simply repeated (from the collection of stories to the periodical or from the periodical to the book) with intervals that sometimes reached more than a decade between one and the other. This shows that, despite the author’s harsh judgment, there did not seem to be such a clear line between “writing for newspapers and writing books.” In addition, the newspaper also served Clarice as a space for her work in progress, in which she published embryonic texts that would take a refined form in future tales and novels, as is the known case of An Apprenticeship or The Book of Delights, wherein almost entire passages could have been previously read in the pages of the Jornal do Brasil.

One difference is clear: the newspaper’s deadline imposed on the writer the rhythm of a “typewriter’s pace,” hence the often proclaimed fear of being rudimentary. But, as is well known, Clarice was not a predictable person. In the midst of the recurring complaints, there was always a lucid acceptance of what caused her discomfort with the quick text, because, intimately, she was likely to feel it as a means of experiencing the limits of her writing. In view of this, the same writer who declares “I’m very demanding of myself” or “I’m afraid: writing a lot and all the time can corrupt the word” also confesses to being “fond of the unfinished, the poorly made, that which awkwardly attempts to fly and falls flat on the ground.” 

Clarice talked a lot about how the public loved the chronicles. Since she started writing for the Jornal do Brasil on Saturdays, she also received a great deal of affection from the newspaper readers, who filled the newsroom with letters. She sincerely rejoiced:

I’m a happy columnist. I wrote nine books that made many people love me from a distance. But being a chronicler has a mystery that I don’t understand […] it has brought me even more love. I feel so close to whoever reads me.

Somewhere between the newspaper and the book, Clarice seems to be addressing issues dear to her lonely but loving personality, her hermetic but seductive writing. It is not by chance that in her fiction the everyday fact is the raw material from which a “state of grace” can be revealed, a notion that was developed by the author herself in a chronicle of the same name and that finds correlates in terms such as “exemplary instant,” “existential moment,” “amazement,” “flash,” “instant-now,” which are found in her work.

Therefore, Todas as crônicas, more than placing her books and newspaper texts on equal footing, in a diptych and alongside Todos os contos, reveals the sum of Clarice’s work, which is situated on the fine line between the ordinary and the sublime.

Notes

Clarice Lispector at the Buenos Aires Book Fair

, Clarice Lispector at the Buenos Aires Book Fair. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2018. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2018/04/19/clarice-lispector-na-feira-do-livro-de-buenos-aires/. Acesso em: 02 March 2024.

Clarice Lispector will be honored at the Brazil booth at the 44th Buenos Aires International Book Fair, which will take place between April 24 and May 14.

The project entails a multi-language exhibition about the Brazilian writer composed of a large poster board with her image, biography, and fragments of her work; books for sale in Portuguese and Spanish editions; video projections with interviews about her; and a replica of her statue, the original of which is located at Leme Beach, in Rio de Janeiro, where visitors can take photos. 

On May 5, a day dedicated to Brazil, the booth will also hold a reading of dialogues by the author, read by five Argentinian actors, followed by a performance of her texts by the actress Luísa Kuliok in an auditorium for up to a thousand people.  

*Photo: Unknown photographer/ Clarice Lispector Archive/ 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: 02 March 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

“Becoming”: Notes on Clarice Lispector’s “secret life”

, “Becoming”: Notes on Clarice Lispector’s “secret life”. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/12/21/tornar-se-notas-sobre-a-vida-secreta-de-clarice-lispector/. Acesso em: 02 March 2024.

1.

In this year in which we commemorate The Hour of the Star, the entry of Clarice Lispector and her alter ego (one of many), Macabéa, into the “própria profundeza (…) – a floresta”, the profusion of factual explanations for this or that character, narrative element or writing situation, in bonding and plastering a work already marked by biographical reading, one seems to lose sight of the essential lesson repeatedly stated by this writer and her writing known precisely for the rarity of plot, of facts. If the formulation of such a lesson appears in Agua Viva (“Não vou ser autobiográfica. Quero ser ‘bio’”), it is in the “Explanation” of the opening of The Via Crucis of the Body that it manifests (a key term in Clarice’s poetics) itself in all its radicalism. The very unmarked position in relation to the other thirteen texts that comprise the volume, which makes it impossible to distinguish graphically or by means of a paratextual element whether it is a preface (by the author) or already a fiction (by a narrator) is reinforced by what “Explanation” says: “É um livro de treze histórias. Mas podia ser de quatorze. Eu não quero. Porque estaria desrespeitando a confidência de um homem simples que me contou a sua vida. Ele é charreteiro numa fazenda. E disse-me: para não derramar sangue, separei-me de minha mulher, ela se desencaminhou e desencaminhou minha filha de dezesseis anos. Ele tem um filho de dezoito anos que nem quer ouvir falar no nome da própria mãe. E assim são as coisas”. The fourteenth story, told in the same gesture in which its omission is announced – an unconfident confidence –, thus resembles “the fifth story” and eponymous titled story in The Foreign Legion: the last, or first, of the stories is the story of the making of the stories, not only implying (folding inward) the life in the work, but also explaining (folding outward) the fiction in reality. In this sense, it is worth recalling that, according to the explanation, the genesis of The Via Crucis came from a commission for “three stories that (…) really happened” (emphasis added), and those are, according to the author (or narrator), “Miss Algrave”, “Via Crucis” and “The Body”, the three parts of the book that are furthest from the proposal, for they consist in, first of all, the parodic rewriting of other texts: in order, mystical experience of Catholic women, the incarnation of Christ, and a short story by Edgar Allen Poe, “The Tell-Tale Heart”, which Clarice had already translated (or rather, rewritten, giving it the title “The Denouncing Heart”). Like “Useless Explanation”, from “Back of the Drawer”, the second part of The Foreign Legion, which gained autonomy in Not to Forget, the “Explanation” complicates more than it supplies a key to reading for the relation of life to literary work and for the genesis (the birth) of fiction in reality – which was already foreshadowed in the book’s epigraphs, mixing Biblical passages and one attributed to “a character of mine still without a name” and another “I don’t know whose it is”. Thus, on the one hand, Clarice makes of a fiction of Poe (or takes it as) a story that really happened (what is written has happened, what one writes happens), in a paradoxical literary movement of deliteraturization, masterfully elucidated by João Camillo Penna, and that appears already in Near to the Wild Heart, when Steppenwolf, a character in the book of the same name by Hesse, and therefore a literary reference, figures as a life memory of Joana’s. On the other hand, in a game with the editor’s commission, she inserts into this book of stories, of fictions, three other stories (“The Man Who Showed Up”, “Day After Day” and “For the Time Being”) that sound, by the diction and resumption of dates and facts mentioned in the “Explanation”, like non-fiction, in every regard close to Clarice’s chronicles. That is, the writer at the same time complies to the letter and doubles the bet placed by the editor to fictionalize real facts: indeed, from the very opening of the book, as we have seen, life becomes fiction, but what is fictionalized (or realized) are not only certain facts, but the writing of the book itself, the commission and its realization, the life of the writer and of writing, in sum, the very relation between life and literary work, reality and fiction. It’s as if, for Clarice, literary fiction, the “as if”, constituted a two-way street, through which the non-existent gains  life only to the degree that ‘real life’ becomes unreal, that is, it occurs from a recreation of the given, as we can see in this famous passage in which the birth of writing coincides with the non-birth (death) of the writer, or rather, with reciprocal transformation (and intersection) – a face-to-face – of reality and of fiction: “Escrever é tantas vezes lembrar-se do que nunca existiu. Como conseguirei saber do que nem ao menos sei? assim: como se me lembrasse. Com um esforço de memória, como se eu nunca tivesse nascido. Nunca nasci, nunca vivi: mas eu me lembro, e a lembrança é em carne viva” (emphasis in the original).

2.

The “Explanation” appears to poetically formulate a much sought after and worked for solution, combined and of financial origin, to a double problem which plagued her: the necessity to write crônicas every day, and, therefore, to ‘talk about oneself’, take

3.

If, as Joana states, “nada existe que escape à transfiguração”, this feminine excess that is in everything that exists and that is confused with existence itself as a transformation (including, and this is the point, transformation of what is the female), the problem of gender shows itself right away as a problem of genre, with the progressive transfiguration of the narrative form of the novel, which, starting in the third person (unmarked position, i.e., masculine, and, in a certain sense, isomorphic to the divine omniscience of the phallic, Father creator ex nihilo) and with the father writing, gradually he is being contaminated by the female first person, the voice of Joana, who gives the last enunciation. The movement of formal transfiguration, the feminization of the narrative form, is not restricted to Near to the Wild Heart, but traverses through Clarice’s novels, having as its apex The Passion According to G.H., now entirely in the first person, with the protagonist narrator facing the challenge of not relying more on a “third person” and on the eye that “vigiava a minha vida” (the omniscient third person?), and, to that end, and in return, inventing a male path: from a he that creates and talks about a she, we pass to a she that creates and talks about a he. In Agua Viva, after this strange body (and, for this reason especially important) that is An Apprenticeship, she resumes the structure of G.H., but now free of any plot other than the writing itself and her desire to capture the “instant-already”, which is the “semente viva”, the “instantes de metamorfose”, the exact moment of transformation, of becoming oneself. It’s not startling, therefore, that it is not presented as a novel, but as “fiction” (or as “thing”, as Hélio Pólvora disparagingly—but attuned to Clarice—classified it in his opinion of Agua Viva for the National Book Institute). But as nothing in Clarice escapes transfiguration, the final two long prose works, The Hour of the Star and A Breath of Life (also not “novels”, but “novela” and “pulsations”, respectively), produce a further twist: in them, we find ourselves facing first-person male narrators writing books about (creating) female characters, in a gesture packed with critique of the criticism that Clarice – and women’s literature in general – suffered. Think, for example, of the old flaw of sentimental or intimate literature, that is, the accusation of always talking about oneself, and how Rodrigo S.M., “the most cynical narrator ever created by Clarice Lispector”, according to Ítalo Moriconi, cannot help but project himself and his stereotypes onto Macabéa, to the point where she sees his image when looking in the mirror – and this coming from an engaged writer, documentary, interested only in “fatos sem literatura”, and who complains that “escritora mulher pode lacrimejar piegas”. And, to talk about the “nordestina amarelada”, about the “cadela vadia”, in the name of Macabéa, Rodrigo S.M. must necessarily attribute to her not only the total absence of a voice and consciousness, as even, by narrative means, a name. On the other hand, however, it is emblematic that the final movement of A Breath of Life resumes that of Near to the Wild Heart, with Ângela, a character, coming from fiction to the world, and the Author losing the words, in an inversion of the fate of another creature, Macabéa:

“E agora sou obrigado a me interromper porque Ângela interrompeu a vida indo para a terra. Mas não a terra em que se é enterrado e sim a terra em que se revive. Com chuva abundante nas florestas e o sussurro das ventanias.

Quanto a mim, estou. Sim.

‘Eu… eu… não. Não posso acabar.’

Eu acho que..”

4.

In a crônica that confronts this series of issues– the classification of her books, in particular GH, the form of her narratives and the rarified plot, and the relation between life and fiction –, Clarice exposes in a theoretical key the coming into the world of Ângela (and other characters, such as Joana, since Near to the Wild Heart concludes in media res, with the protagonist traveling, leaving the bonds of the family and the narrator to another, unknown place): “O que é ficção? é, em suma, suponho, a criação de seres e acontecimentos que não existiram realmente mas de tal modo poderiam existir que se tornam vivos”. It’s not a matter of proximity or appearance of truth or reality (an internal or external verisimilitude), but of an entry into life: fictional creation names, for Clarice, a certain intensification in the way of being of the possible or the nonexistent (“de tal modo”), which makes it – transforms it– alive. In this sense, the Spinozist conception intoned by Joana, “Tudo é um”, should be read in the broadest sense possible – everything participates of the same substance, including fiction and nonexistent beings: “Tudo é um, tudo é um…, entoara. A confusão estava no entrelaçamento do mar, do gato, do boi com ela mesma. A confusão vinha também de que não sabia se entrara ‘tudo é um’ ainda em pequena, diante do mar, ou depois, relembrando. No entanto a confusão não trazia apenas graça, mas a realidade mesma. Parecia-lhe que se ordenasse e explicasse claramente o que sentira, teria destruído a essência de ‘tudo é um’. Na confusão, ela era a própria verdade inconscientemente, o que talvez desse mais poder-de-vida do que conhecê-la. A essa verdade que, mesmo revelada, Joana não poderia usar porque não formava o seu caule, mas a raiz, prendendo seu corpo a tudo o que não era mais seu, imponderável, impalpável.” If everything participates in the same substance, if the difference between things is not of nature, of essence, but of manner, of form, then there follows a continuity not only between human and animal, but also between the organic, live, and the inorganic, supposedly dead, and, moreover, between existing and non-existent beings: it is thus a matter of questioning the prerogative of human exceptionality, of biological life and ontological superiority of the currently existing, and, at the same time, since everything participates in the same substance, changing only its form, to postulate the universal possibility of metamorphosis and transfiguration, in short, of life. “Tudo é um” means that everything can be modified, that everything is alive – including, and this is the extension we want to emphasize, the fictional beings, who are as alive as existing beings. Following the Shakespearean maxim – “We are such stuff as dreams are made on” –, Clarice seems to postulate a radical monism, which can be seen in a series of her formulations or of her characters in which creation doesn’t refer to an other whose reality or life is inferior, as when G.H. states: “Terei que fazer a palavra como se fosse criar o que me aconteceu? Vou criar o que me aconteceu. Só porque viver não é relatável. Viver não é vivível. Terei que criar sobre a vida. E sem mentir. Criar sim, mentir não. Criar não é imaginação, é correr o grande risco de se ter a realidade”. Perhaps this explains why the experience of the “thing” is always accompanied by an experience of language in her fictions, because, when entering the “bio” before the biographical, the “neutral”, “it”, the “raw material”, the “forest”, the “forbidden fabric of life”, the zone prior to individuation and separation of genders, where “She/he” reigns, the “He/She” of Where You Were at Night, the Clarice characters feel the need to write, fictionalize, for they see, like Joana, their bodies connected by a root to everything that is no longer theirs– all the other things, all the other beings, among them the non-existent. “Having the reality” of the experience of the oneness of the world therefore implies creating, as a gesture of becoming alive, of intensifying a way of being that normally appears not only dead, but nonexistent. Thus it is not by chance that, in Agua Viva, the narrator-protagonist, after experiencing the “state of grace”, describing it as “se viesse apenas para que soubesse que realmente se existe e existe o mundo”, states that “depois da liberdade do estado de graça também acontece a liberdade da imaginação. (…) A loucura do invento”. The “state of grace” comes only to know that one really exists and the world exists – and that, among them exists the non-existent, which fiction has the power to make alive.

5.

An Apprenticeship or The Book of Delights opens with the protagonist Dori facing a situation of extreme anguish, fictionalizing, in a succession of “make-believe” described as “os movimentos histéricos de um animal preso”, which “tinham como intenção libertar, por meio de um desses movimentos, a coisa ignorada que o estava prendendo”. This transvaluation of a typically (stereotypically) feminine scene, associating, as in Agua Viva, creation and freedom, brings us to the true Clarice date, or rather, Clarice time par excellence, between two dates, possibly invented in the writing of The Via Crucis of the Body. If “Explanation” states that “Today is May 12, Mother’s Day”, the date on which the three stories that “really happened” would have ended, the “P.S.” that supplements it (or rewrites) and on which other stories of the volume would have been written is dated another today, after the “domingo maldito”: “Hoje, 13 de maio, segunda-feira, dia da libertação dos escravos – portanto da minha também”. One can read this sequence, this association or succession between motherhood and freedom in two ways, not necessarily contradicting each other. On the one hand, as the liberation from slavery of the characters, especially the feminine ones, from the social, family role, epitomized in reproduction, in maternity – the transition from mother to liberated. In this sense, it would be about the radicalization of the movement that intensifies in Clarice’s writing starting with what José Miguel Wisnik called the separation trilogy– Family Ties, The Foreign Legion and The Passion According to G.H. In it, family bonds, socially familiarized, not only unite, but also bind, arrest, serving as instruments of domestication that allocate each to their place. Yet, on the margins of the familiar, the edges of the ties of the domesticated, a series of figures that will dominate Clarice’s later fiction begin to emerge: crazies, servants, animals (hens, dogs, cockroaches, horses, etc.), “natural” spaces domesticated in the city, surrounded by it (gardens – private, zoological or botanical), etc. Like a true foreign legion – in a sense completely opposite to the military formation with that name –, these figures increasingly gain more and more the center of the scene, questioning and revealing the violence of the domesticated and domesticating relations to the point where, in The Via Crucis, multiplicity can longer be alien to the family body of that time– gays, lesbians, transsexuals, prostitutes, nuns and widows full of carnal desire, beggars, in short, “everything that has no worth”, to use the words of a worthless politician. Thus, for example, the duo of short stories “Monkeys” and “The Smallest Woman in the World”, articulating racism and speciesism, brings out the role of violent exoticism, even when pious, which is at the base of the process of familiarization (of humanization) in our society. Such questioning, however, is not limited to a denial of the given, a reverse affirmation; rather, it seeks to convert the affirmation into a question, in what appears to be a movement that runs through Clarice’s writing: “Este livro é uma pergunta”, claims Rodrigo S.M.; “Escrever é uma indagação. É assim: ?”, we read in A Breath of Life; “sou uma pergunta”, says the narrator in Agua Viva, a phrase that is also the title of a crônica; and, to offer just one more example, the strongest of them: “O único modo de chamar é perguntar: como se chama? Até hoje só consegui nomear com a própria pergunta. Qual é o nome? e este é o nome.” It is thus not only about denying existing ties, or of affirming others in their place, but to open space for the experimentation with other relations– that is why liberation is only the first step in a movement of inquiry that cannot stagnate at an affirmation, at a name: “Liberdade é pouco. O que eu quero ainda não tem nome”. Take the short story “The Foreign Legion”. In it, we are faced with a family configuration that is at minimum strange. The members of the narrator’s own family are not named and hardly appear. Who occupies the place of prominence, in the first moment, is a chick who, terrified, makes the children ask their mother that she be the mother of that animal, of someone who doesn’t properly belong to the family, and not even to the human race – a motherhood role that the narrator says she doesn’t know how to fulfill. It is this “unfamiliar” scene (to use a term that appears three times in Family Ties, and is a possible translation for Freud’s Unheimlich) that makes her remember another, the familiarity with Ophelia, the daughter’s neighbor and another stranger to whom she was a mother. If, on the one hand, the narrator seems to hold a certain attraction for her, to the point where the child visits her every day, on the other hand, the relationship seems socially inverted, for it is Ophelia who behaves like an adult, as the embodiment of obedience to behavioral social norms (the theme will reappear in a tragic way in “The Obedient Ones”), it’s up to the hostess to indeed bow and define the tie between them paradoxically: “já me tornara o domínio daquela minha escrava”. The turning point comes when Ophelia hears a chick (another) in the kitchen, and the narrator allows her and encourages her to play with the animal, which she ends up doing, against all the rigidity imposed on her by her own family. It’s not surprising that in the description of the event again we come across an image that has already become familiar: “A agonia de seu nascimento. Até então eu nunca vira a coragem. A coragem de ser o outro que se é, de nascer do próprio parto, e de largar no chão o corpo antigo. (…) Já há alguns minutos eu me achava diante de uma criança. Fizera-se a metamorfose”. It is in a relationship that is not exactly maternal that motherhood gains an opening of meaning, that new ties between the narrator and Ophelia, between this girl and the world and with herself, can be experienced: here, motherhood (‘improper’) designates the opening of the door to disobedience, so that one can get out of family ties, so that one can make contact with the stranger, and thus modify oneself, “be the other that one is”. Thus we can return to the succession of dates of “Explanation” and see them in another way, complementary to this first: motherhood as a liberation from given relationships, possibility of recreation of the given, including motherhood itself, since the most maternal figure (including literally) of The Via Crucis of the Body is the transsexual Celsinho/Moleirão, “mais mulher que Clara”, her friend (‘biologically’ a woman) and rival.

6.

The strength and uniqueness of Clarice’s conception of fiction, and its relation to life, lies in this attention to those who/that are on the margins, as if the power to make fiction alive, its power to liberate, were related to the “power-of-life” of the radically other– and “attention” is another of the crucial words, also associated with the feminine, with her writing: “Lóri era uma mulher, era uma pessoa, era uma atenção, era um corpo habitado olhando a chuva grossa cair”. In her beautiful text on The Hour of the Star, Hélène Cixous points out the minutia of this attention and its consequences: “The greatest respect I have for any work whatsoever in the world is the respect I have for the work of Clarice Lispector. She has treated as no one else to my knowledge all the possible positions of a subject in relation to what would be “appropriation”, use and abuse of owning. And she has done this in the finest and most delicate detail. What her texts struggle against endlessly and on every terrain, is the movement of appropriation: for even when it seems most innocent it is still totally destructive. Pity is destructive; badly thought out love is destructive; illmeasured understanding is annihilating. One might say that the work of Clarice Lispector is an immense book of respect, book of the right distance. And as she tells us all the time, one can only attain the right distance through a relentless process of de-selfing, a relentless process of deegoization. The enemy as far as she is concerned is the blind self.” Thus, for Clarice, paying attention to the other would require a “depersonalization” or “objectification” of oneself, the entry into the neutral, the “non-birth” of oneself, movement without which her conversion into an “inhabited body” is not possible, the “Involuntary Incarnation” a story/crônica speaks of and that seems to be a good name for fiction according to C.L.: “Às vezes, quando vejo uma pessoa que nunca vi, e tenho algum tempo para observá-la, eu me encarno nela e assim dou um grande passo para conhece-la (…) Já sei que só daí a dias conseguirei recomeçar enfim a minha própria vida. Que, quem sabe, talvez nunca tenha sido própria, senão no momento de nascer, e o resto tenha sido encarnações”. Exemplified by the incarnation in a missionary and later in a prostitute (an always present pairing), the operation, which I have called oblique, often occurs before, or in relation to, figures of an extreme otherness, especially animals. It is a matter of adopting the perspective of the other and, in this way, estranging oneself (hence the importance of the intensity of the difference), as in “Dry Sketch of Horses” (“E veria as coisas como um cavalo vê”), or in “In Search of a Dignity”, in which the perspective of inversion is fully enunciated: “Ulisses, se fosse vista a sua cara sob o ponto de vista humano, seria monstruoso e feio. Era lindo sob o ponto de vista de cão. Era vigoroso como um cavalo branco e livre, só que ele era castanho suave, alaranjado, cor de uísque. Mas seu pelo é lindo como a de um energético e empinado cavalo. Os músculos do pescoço eram vigorosos e a gente podia pegar esses músculos nas mãos de dedos sábios. Ulisses era um homem. Sem o mundo cão” (The children’s book Almost True will pull this thread even further, as it is narrated by the “same” dog Ulysses, Clarice’s life companion, and it is up to her to transcribe or translate his barking into writing). However, the movement does not end there: we would not be faced with a true birth, a true becoming, a transformation, if such an incarnation were not to establish a relationship with life, were not to become alive itself, we would not be changed, it would not make us reborn. It is necessary, therefore, that the perspectivist  transformation be a way of looking at each other through the eyes of the others and that we be looked at by them, not only to see the world through the eyes of the others, but also to see ourselves by this gaze, see ourselves in another way, changing us. At least, this seems to be the “experiência maior” which Clarice speaks of, and that her fictions keep searching for: “Eu antes tinha querido ser os outros para conhecer o que não era eu. Entendi então que eu já tinha sido os outros e isso era fácil. Minha experiência maior seria ser o outro dos outros: e o outro dos outros era eu. “A experiência maior”, while becoming another from contact with the other is not reduced to being the others (an experience not flush with reverse egotism); rather, it constitutes an experiment of subjectivity anchored in transfiguration, through which, traversing the non-birth of oneself and the birth of the other in us, we access the “terra em que se revive” of which A Breath of Life speakswhere we recreate– or we are recreated. Fiction makes the other alive in us, to make our life another. It provides the liberty to question oneself and one’s ties to the world and to inquire of other relations, for which we do not yet have names, for which the question is the only possible name.

7.

Starting from a mirrored formulation of A Breath of Life, “A sombra de minha alma é o corpo. O corpo é a sombra de minha alma”, the young scholar of Clarice’s works Letícia Pilger said that the author’s relationship with the posthumous book could be defined in an analogous way: indeed, the fictional work is the shadow of Clarice’s life, provided we take the reciprocal as true, namely that Clarice’s life is also the shadow of her fiction. After all, to paraphrase Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, if everything, including fictional beings, is alive, then life is also a fiction, is something else – everything is one (becoming).

Alexandre Nodari is Professor of Brazilian Literature and Literary Theory at the Federal University of Paraná, where he is also a collaborator in the graduate programs in Humanities and Philosophy. He is also editor of the periodical Letras and coordinator of SPECIES – speculative anthropology research group: http://speciesnae.wordpress.com.

Notes

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: 02 March 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: 02 March 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).