A Literature Without Literature

Ferraz, Eucanaã. A Literature Without Literature. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2021. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2021/08/09/a-literature-without-literature/. Acesso em: 28 May 2024.

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. I read and reread those almost eight hundred pages many times, going from beginning to end, then back to the beginning, and I came to leap from one wonder to another. A single page would launch me into an unsettling experience. I returned to those illuminations so many times over the years that, despite my terrible memory for everything, I realized, at a certain point, that I knew several passages and phrases by heart. The new edition, now with the title Todas as crônicas (All the Chronicles), was enough for me to reread again, and once more, all of those texts to which the new editor, Pedro Karp Vasquez, added another 120 theretofore uncollected texts.

But I had discovered Clarice Lispector before The Discovery of the World, when I read Água Viva, a book published in 1973. As a young and beginning reader, I experienced the deep impression of a disturbing work, which was absolutely not a novel, which did not concern poems either, which resembled a diary, though it was not, which was somewhat similar to a philosophical essay, even though its twisted, strange movement sought nothing but to express sensations about writing and artistic creation. And it was not enough to say that it was a bundle of loose notes about the things of the world and about time. Aware of the irresolute and experimental character of the book, the author classified it as “fiction.” It was a way of explaining without explaining, or rather, of escaping from the narrow limits of so-called literary genres. When I first read the texts of The Discovery of the World, I recognized, as if I were dizzy, passages I had read in Água Viva. I do not know if I came to think what seems so clear to me today: that the pages of the Jornal do Brasil, detached from their source, muddled the signs that distinguished book writing from newspaper writing.

Writers are not—and never have been—preoccupied with preserving boundaries between genres.  If the chronicle is difficult to circumscribe, describe, or simply approach, the grouping of Todas as crônicas not only does not help to set limits, but also makes any demarcation impossible.  If it concerns, on the one hand, the characteristic indeterminacy of the hesitant prose that has long frequented newspapers and magazines, there is, on the other hand, a fluidity that moves beyond that, disturbing perspectives, disorganizing systems, refusing laws.

Intrinsically communicative, factual, ephemeral, light and transparent, the chronicle would be unfeasible for an author whose short stories and novels were defined by a writing opposed to such characteristics. Clarice, however, assumed the task of writing every week without abdicating what publication in mass media demanded of her. The flagrant contradiction, instead of dissolving into an easy and comfortable outcome, ended up engendering a creative process that would display its dilemmas, conflicts, and perplexities to the eyes of the reader. Thus, already in her third week collaborating with the Jornal do Brasil, the chronicler affirmed: “I still feel a little uncomfortable in my new role which cannot be strictly described as that of a columnist. And besides being a novice in the art of writing chronicles, I am also a novice when it comes to writing in order to earn money. I have had some experience as a professional journalist without ever signing my contributions. By signing my name, it automatically becomes more personal. And I somehow feel as if I were selling my soul.”1

Even though the passage consolidates a dilemma mentioned by other authors — the more or less conflicting difference between writing literature, on the one hand, and, on the other, writing for money (for a newspaper) —, the declaration, considered in the set of chronicles, leads to another ponderation, that apart from the easy antagonism there was in the soul of Clarice a more powerful and subterranean unrest: the vague but decisive refusal of literature.  With this I mean that by immediately consigning that she was writing “to earn money,” she took another step — a way already cleared — outside the literary institution, a gesture to be understood less as a frivolous circumstance and much more as a rejection in depth, no matter to what extent the writer was aware of it at the moment.  Such an attitude, it should be noted, was not limited to the mere demystification of the image of the writer as someone who does not take part in vile and pragmatic matters. The financial injunction would return later, once again displayed uncloudedly, but the assertion now would be above all provocative: “They pay me to write. So I write.”2

Rubem Braga

It is commonplace to consider the chronicle a minor genre, despite its virtues and the excellence of its practitioners. Clarice did not aggrandize it. Let us say that, on the contrary, she diminished herself to its size and made a point of making clear the course that she was taking. Furthermore, if she did not intend to elevate the genre, she exercised it in a process of vehement diminishment, as if she were seeking to shrink the genre until making it disappear. We read at a certain point: “To be frank, this can scarcely be called a column. It is simply what it is. It does not correspond to any genre. Genre no longer interests me. What interests me is mystery.”3

Therefore, instead of refusing the trademarks that define the secondary character of the chronicle — those that distance it from literature, or even from everything that, under such a code word, is considered major —, Clarice, at first, adopted the characteristic features of the genre seeking to adjust to it, but soon began to activate them, finding in this operation a freedom as extreme as it was risky, which certainly gave it the real dimension of writing something so minor that it was no longer literature or anything else except writing—just that, beyond all classification.

In this sense, “The Case of the Gold Fountain-Pen” is exemplary, bringing into play an allegory that ironizes the demand for a major writing: “are the words written with a gold pen also made of gold? Would I be obliged to write more elaborate sentences because my implement was so much more precious? And would I end up writing in a completely different style? And if my style were to change, surely that would have the effect of changing me as well. But in what way? For the better? And there was another problem: what would happen if I were to find, like King Midas, that everything I wrote with my gold pen turned out to have the brilliance and unyielding hardness of gold?”4

It is easy to see how much Clarice discovered in the chronicle a complete way to escape from the “brilliance and unyielding hardness” demanded of literature. But the escape was not a program to be executed in an unreflective way, for if the chronicle seems, by nature, to permit the escape from literary gilding, it does not fail to offer its models, artifices, and genre traits, albeit minor. Dissonantly, the new chronicler readily probed her suspicions and indecisions. She shed light, for example, on obstacles that sounded insurmountable: “I want to speak without speaking, if possible.”5

Chronologically accompanying the many uncertainties, we distinguish the fluctuation of a subjectivity that is expressed by acceptance and reception, but also by constant doubt, to the point of exasperation: “The Jornal do Brasil is making me popular. I get roses. One day I’ll stop. To become transformed.” And, further on: “I know that what I write here cannot be called a chronicle or a column or an article. But I know that today it’s a scream. A scream! I’m tired!”6

The enthusiastic response from the readers lent her some security, to which was added a lively contentment, to the point that, remaining foreign to the métier, to the extent that she wrote something which she could not name except as “a kind of chronicle,” she designates herself as a columnist and chronicler, and even though she does not understand the mystery of being one of them, she feels like one of them: “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’s that chroniclers, at least those from Rio, are much loved. And writing the kind of chronicle on Saturdays has brought me even more love. I feel so close to whoever reads me.”7

However, the favorable, loving reception of the readers did not eliminate other suspicions. Furthermore, the public’s love somehow fostered uncertainties, generating a spiral of inquiries about the act of writing and about the indecipherable bonds that unite work, author, and reader, inquiries expressed with astonishment one moment and with tranquility the next, which endured as a nerve, either implicit or explicit, in those texts. As for being a chronicler, certainty and indecision went hand in hand: “I know that I’m not, but I’ve been meditating a bit on the matter.” And furthermore: “Actually, I should talk to Rubem Braga about it, since he invented the chronicle. But I want to see if I can fumble my way through the matter alone and see if I come to understand it.”8 Here are manifested both the desire of the beginner who yearns to adapt to the genre and the appetite of the apprentice for discovering her own solutions, one of which is the unusual and constant exposure of her voluntary isolation and of her confrontation with the craft.

At the Typewriter’s Pace 

The collection of chronicles recomposes the weekly dialogue with the readers as a continuous speech, for whom the “columnist” frankly unveiled not only anxiety and confusion, but also the joy of maintaining a loving closeness. Often the anguish seemed overcome and the writing was resolved beyond literary expectations: “As you all can see this is not a column, it’s just conversation.”9 If the problem of genre — compliance with certain standards — would be overcome by an exception attained within the genre itself, another resistance persisted: the exposure of intimacy. This time, Rubem Braga was actually summoned to rescue the author, who declared: “Memorandum: one day I telephoned Rubem Braga, the master of the so-called crônica, and confided in despair:  ‘Rubem, I am no columnist, and what I am writing for the newspaper is becoming exceedingly personal. What am I to do?’ He assured me: ‘When you are writing chronicles it is impossible not to get personal.’ But I do not want to tell anyone about my life: my life is rich in experience and vivid emotions, but I never intend to publish an autobiography.”10

The judgment pronounced by the master did not placate the restlessness, which would be mentioned many times: “I have noted something extremely disagreeable. These articles I write for my weekly column are not exactly chronicles, in my opinion. I am beginning, however, to understand our greatest chroniclers. Because they sign their work, they ultimately reveal themselves. Up to a certain point we are able to know them intimately and to recognize their style. And personally I think this is a good thing. When I write my books, I remain anonymous and discreet.”11 

The poignant difference between book writing and newspaper writing consisted, therefore, in the propensity for a kind of nakedness that was irrepressible in texts that demanded periodicity. Another quote is in order: “in writing a weekly column I am allowing readers to know me. Am I in danger of losing my privacy? What am I to do? I type out my articles at the typewriter’s pace, and when I look to see what I have written, I realize I have revealed something about myself. I even believe that if I were to write an article about the over-production of coffee in Brazil, I should end up sounding personal. Am I in danger of becoming popular? The thought horrifies me. I must see if anything can be done to remedy the situation. Words by Fernando Pessoa which I read somewhere give me some reassurance: ‘To speak is the simplest way of becoming unknown.’”12

The good-humored hypothesis — humor is a decisive feature of Clarice’s chronicles — of an objective writing (her approach to the “problem of the overproduction of coffee in Brazil”) reveals an unrealizable zero degree of writing, that is, the author’s inability to remain shielded in impersonality, which, finally, coincides with Rubem Braga’s lesson. Thus, what is the reason for the permanent discomfort with the observation that in the “column” the person of the writer was made known? And what is the full scope of the affirmation that she did not want to tell anyone about her life and that she never intended “to publish an autobiography?”

By saying she was “anonymous and discreet” in her books, Clarice transferred to the chronicle the entire load of intimacy and biographism, as if she were being driven by an uncontrollable force. And, interestingly enough, her strength seems to come from outside her. Not from a higher, mystical, or divine force, but from something quite prosaic: her typewriter. Thus, both her non-compliance with literary principles and her manifestation of intimacy emerge through the force of a mechanism whose performance in time is capable of defining her creative process — speed would determine writing, and the chronicler, more than once, guarantees that she writes “at the typewriter’s pace.”

One of the most important critics of Clarice Lispector’s work, the Portuguese academic Carlos Mendes de Sousa, observes in Figuras da escrita (Figures of Writing; Instituto Moreira Salles, 2012) that Clarice’s novels originate from a slow pace, since they are operated by the slow machine of rewriting or from compositional effort, while the chronicles arise from a fast machine, conducive to the flow and to the association of ideas. In the latter case, the free and quick transit of sensations prevails, which often abruptly incorporate metalinguistic awareness: “Ah, this is neither a chronicle nor a column, I know. For once I don’t think it matters: the days go by, the typewriter goes on. But if I were a chronicler, ah, I would not lack topics!”13

The paraphrase is irresistible: there is a direct relationship between text and time; between the pace of days and the pace of the typewriter; between writing driven by the time of the typewriter, and of days, and not being a chronicler; between not being a chronicler and not having anything to say.  Everything takes place as if the typewriter determined the transit of writing, and this, then, escaped the control of the author, who, at certain moments, seems to be watching what takes place from the outside, surprising herself and recording her estrangement.  “The charlatan sells himself short. What was I about to say?”14

The mechanism becomes apparent here at the moment when the quick flow — without being interrupted — incorporates self-awareness. Something similar occurs in the following fragment: “My God, how love stops death! I don’t know what I mean by that: I believe in my incomprehension, which has given me an instinctive life, while so-called comprehension is so limited.”15 Sometimes, the awareness of the speed seems to interrupt the flow: “I’m writing very easily, and very fluently. I cannot trust that.”16 This record of mistrust and of the apparent interruption of the march may not be exactly a brake, but a moment of deceleration.

Even complaining about the loss of her “privacy,” Clarice accepted that writing “at the typewriter’s pace” exposed her, and she even came to want that, although she refused what she deemed autobiographical.  It is necessary to consider the gravity and, at the same time, the irony of the following statement: “I’m sorry to say, I’m a mystery to myself.”17 If there is a strong autobiographical dimension in Clarice’s chronicles, it is necessary to pay attention to another order of values ​​that is insistently staged: she did not fully know about what she was writing, since she sought the unknown in what was most banal, as if she found everything and everyone and above all herself strange; she also did not know how she wrote, surrendering to the “typewriter’s pace;” finally, she understood even less what she wrote—chronicles?  a “kind of chronicle?” articles?  conversations?  What would Clarice be biographizing, after all?  The only answer, which will seem oblique for being too direct, would be: ignorance. Or even: mystery.


There is no autobiographical project, or a stable issuing center, and this becomes clearer when the chronicles transcribe other people’s speech or texts, often letters from her readers.  More important, however, is the impression that emerges from the whole, that these hundreds of pages are a collection of unstable fragments, sudden flashes, remnants. When I used the expression “continuous speech” here, I was referring to the permanence of Clarice Lispector’s dialogue with her readers, which does not mean a linear and/or integral voice. On the contrary, the general effect is, let us say, one of accumulation and disorder, which results not in the strong and lasting presence of a subject, but in its dissipation.

Clarice’s chronicles resemble much more an act of emptying the subject, in which biographical fragments undoubtedly surprise.  Perhaps we could extract from them this pedagogical/ontological summary: speaking of oneself, excessively, quickly, mechanically, one ceases to be. And if I used the word “act” above, I deem the term ritual more accurate in its imprecision. Approaching mystery and silence, the impersonality of the typewriter and of animals, the sensation of death and of God, the author herself is surprised by the precipitation of her intimacy, as if she came back to herself — becoming again — and, in in the midst of the flow, wanted to retreat: “As in everything, in writing I am also somewhat afraid of going too far. What would that be? Why? I retain myself, as if I retained the reins of a horse that could gallop and lead me to God knows where. I keep my guard.”18

None of this, however, responded to an intellectual call. The demand came from intuition, from a rapture prior to the mechanisms of a strict rational knowledge.  Thus, Clarice speaks of an urge to write that can take place as “pure impulse – even when I have no theme.”19 And she adds: “But who? Who obliges me to write? That is the mystery: no one. Nonetheless, I still feel this compulsion to write.”20 Later, she would come to very clearly formulate her view of the creative process: “To tell the truth, one cannot think of content without form. Only intuition touches the truth without need of content or form. Intuition is the deep unconscious that does without form, while it itself works before surfacing.”21   

Recalling that Clarice incorporated some chronicles into her novel An Apprenticeship or the Book of Pleasures, I imagine that Todas as crônicas could be called “An Unlearning:” “I no longer know how to write but the literary aspect has become so unimportant in my life that not being able to write may be precisely what will save me from literature.”22 Writing, the chronicler learned how not to write, while literature became, consequently, a strange gift — “writing is a curse” —, for only by means of it, accepting its unimportance, would there be any chance of achieving that which really matters, the unknown object that writing promises: “So what has become important to me? Whatever it may be, it will probably manifest itself through literature.”23

These speculations about writing and its mysteries can sound quite amusing, thanks to declarations whose frankness disdains any shadow of pride: “When I am not writing, I simply do not know how one writes. And if this most sincere of questions did not sound childish and sham, I would seek out some friends who are writers and ask them: how does one write?”24

A rare faculty of knowledge is in action through instruments that are inaugurated at every use, such that the revelation of what will be said and the act of saying are confused, with no chance of paving some minimally stable, repeatable awareness, or even, without configuring an ability: “Sometimes people wishing to pay me a compliment tell me I am intelligent. And they are surprised when I tell them that being intelligent is not my strong point and that I am no more intelligent than other people. They then accuse me of being modest.” It is once again intuition that comes to the forefront, constituting an intelligent way of operating in the dark: “But often this so-called intelligence of mine is so limited that one would think I was stupid. People who refer to my intelligence are, in fact, confusing intelligence with what I would call a knowing sensibility. Now that is something I really do possess. […] I daresay this is the kind of sensibility I exercise when I write, or in my relationships with friends. I also exercise it when I come into superficial contact with certain people whose aura I can sense immediately.”25 

Such a willingness to attest to the feasibility of writing outside the contours of a formal intelligence concerning literature gives rise to clarifications that are never lacking in humor and irony. After proclaiming that she is not a “literati,” because she has not made writing books — written “spontaneously” — either a profession or a career, Clarice wonders if she is an “amateur.” And without answering, she continues: “I also find it difficult to dissuade certain people from calling me an intellectual. Once again, I am not being modest but simply… intellectual, one has to exercise, above all, one’s intelligence. What I exercise is not so much intelligence but intuition and instinct. To be an intellectual means being someone who is learned. I am such a poor reader that I must shamelessly confess that I really have no great learning. […] Nowadays, despite often being lazy to write, sometimes I am lazier when it comes to reading than to writing.”26

The completely unencumbered humor often arises from misunderstandings concerning her intelligence or intellectual gifts, as in the episode in which a friend tells her that some consider her, Clarice, “highly intellectual” and deem that she is very cultured. Her friend says that the author of The Apple in the Dark should, “just not to be embarrassed,” take care of her bookcase, which seemed to her very diminished. The delightful conclusion of the scene comes in the following terms: “But really je m’en fiche. I secretly pretend to let them think whatever they want. Since I do not regret really being ‘diminished’ – in other things it hurts – I am pure when it comes to feeling the taste of success. […] In the beginning I tried to tell the truth: but they thought I was being modest, was lying, or was being ‘weird.’”27 

It is worth recalling that the vast majority of these texts were written from the second half of the 1960s until the middle of the following decade, a period marked by the counterculture and its ramifications. Clarice, calmly but vigorously defending a marginal place with regard to the literary institution, to its regulations and apparatus, seems to harmonize with that contestatory spirit, as if her more profound vocation had coincided with the youth of her time. It is quite eloquent, and moving, that on February 17, 1968 her non-chronicle is a letter to the Minister of Education, in which she refers to the unfair distribution of student openings at universities, whose conclusion comes with the following sentence: “Let these pages symbolize a march of protest on the part of young men and women.”28 A little later, on June 29 of the same tumultuous year of 1968, the chronicler, speaking directly to one of her readers, intrepidly asserts: “The students are shouting all over the world, Élcio. And I shout with them.”29

I realize at this point that I did not say what the recurrent themes of these chronicles are. In a very brief and hardly responsible list, I would include: taxi drivers, housemaids, animals, God, justice, the urgent need for us to preserve indigenous lands and undertake agrarian reform in the country, fear, her burned hand, indifference, Chico Buarque, the sea, readers, loneliness, silence, hunger, love, her children. I should also have mentioned the various, unusual interviews with people such as Pablo Neruda, Nelson Rodrigues, Millôr Fernandes, Tom Jobim, and Zagallo.

I shall quote one more passage, almost like a P.S. (it was a party, a meeting of Clarice and some friends, including the author of The Devil to Pay in the Backlands): “Guimarães Rosa then told me something I shall never forget, it made me so happy. He told me he read my books ‘not for the literature, but for the lessons in life.’ He quoted whole sentences by heart which I had written and I did not recognize any.”30 

* Translated by Marco Alexandre de Oliveira and edited by Sean McIntrye. All quotes from the Portuguese original are free translations unless otherwise indicated.
** This text was originally published on April 1, 2019 in the magazine Quatro cinco um.

Author’s note

Some texts published in The Discovery of the World are not in Todas as crônicas because they are part of The Complete Stories.


1 Clarice Lispector, Selected Crônicas. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: New Directions, 1996. 

2 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Pagam-me para eu escrever. Eu escrevo, então.”

3 Clarice Lispector, Selected Crônicas. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: New Directions, 1996. 

4 Clarice Lispector, Selected Crônicas. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: New Directions, 1996. 

5 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Quero falar sem falar, se é possível.”

6 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “O Jornal do Brasil está me tornando popular. Ganho rosas. Um dia paro. Para me tornar tornada; Sei que o que escrevo aqui não se pode chamar de crônica nem de coluna nem de artigo. Mas sei que hoje é um grito. Um grito! De cansaço. Estou cansada!”

7 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Sou uma colunista feliz. Escrevi nove livros que fizeram muitas pessoas me amar de longe. Mas ser cronista tem um mistério que não entendo: é que os cronistas, pelo menos os do Rio, são muito amados. E escrever a espécie de crônica aos sábados tem me trazido mais amor ainda. Sinto-me tão perto de quem me lê.”

8 The original quotes in Portuguese read: “Sei que não sou, mas tenho meditado ligeiramente no assunto;” “Na verdade eu deveria conversar a respeito com Rubem Braga, que foi o inventor da crônica. Mas quero ver se consigo tatear sozinha no assunto e ver se chego a entender.”

9 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “As you all can see this is not a column, it’s just conversation.”

10 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992. Note: Some fragments of the quote were unavailable and therefore translated freely.

11 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Noto uma coisa extremamente desagradável. Estas coisas que ando escrevendo aqui não são, creio, propriamente crônicas, mas agora entendo os nossos melhores cronistas. Porque eles assinam, não conseguem escapar de se revelar. Até certo ponto nós os conhecemos intimamente. E quanto a mim, isto me desagrada. Na literatura de livros permaneço anônima e discreta.”

12 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Nesta coluna estou de algum modo me dando a conhecer. Perco minha intimidade secreta? Mas que fazer? É que escrevo ao correr da máquina e, quando vejo, revelei certa parte minha. Acho que se escrever sobre o problema da superprodução do café no Brasil terminarei sendo pessoal. Daqui em breve serei popular? Isso me assusta. Vou ver o que posso fazer, se é que posso. O que me consola é a frase de Fernando Pessoa, que li citada: ‘Falar é o modo mais simples de nos tornarmos desconhecidos.’”

13 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Ah, isto não é crônica nem coluna, bem sei. Por uma vez acho que não importa: os dias correm, a máquina corre. Mas se eu fosse cronista, ah não me faltariam assuntos!”

14 Clarice Lispector, Selected Crônicas. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: New Directions, 1996.

15 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Meu Deus, como o amor impede a morte! Não sei o que estou querendo dizer com isso: confio na minha incompreensão, que tem me dado vida instintiva, enquanto que a chamada compreensão é tão limitada.” 

16 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Estou escrevendo com muita facilidade, e com muita fluência. É preciso desconfiar disso.”  

17 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Com perdão da palavra, sou um mistério para mim.”

18 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Como em tudo, no escrever também tenho uma espécie de receio de ir longe demais. Que será isso? Por quê? Retenho-me, como se retivesse as rédeas de um cavalo que poderia galopar e me levar Deus sabe onde. Eu me guardo.”

19 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992.

20 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992.

21 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992. Note: Some fragments of the quote were unavailable and therefore translated freely.

22 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992. 

23 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992.

24 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992.

25 Clarice Lispector, Selected Crônicas. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. New York: New Directions, 1996. 

26 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992 Note: Some fragments of the quote were unavailable and therefore translated freely.

27 The original quotes in Portuguese read: “altamente intelectualizada;” “grande cultura;” “só para não se envergonhar;” “Mas realmente je m’en fiche. Brinco toda secreta de deixar que pensem o que quiserem. Como não tenho remorsos de ser realmente uma ‘desfalcada’ — em outras coisas me dói — estou pura para sentir o gosto do logro. […] No começo tentei dizer a verdade: mas tomavam como modéstia, mentira ou ‘esquisitice.’”

28 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Que estas páginas simbolizem uma passeata de protesto de rapazes e moças.”

29 The original quote in Portuguese reads: “Os estudantes estão gritando em todas as partes do mundo, Élcio. E eu grito com eles.”

30 Clarice Lispector, Discovering the World. Translated by Giovanni Pontiero. Manchester: Carcanet Press, 1992. Note: Some fragments of the quote were unavailable and therefore translated freely.

“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: 28 May 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


  • 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: 28 May 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.


“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: 28 May 2024.


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).


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


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..”


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.


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.


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.


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.


Clarice in Mexico

, Clarice in Mexico. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/12/13/clarice-no-mexico/. Acesso em: 28 May 2024.

Clarice Lispector’s birthday was last Sunday, December 10th, but the Clarice’s Hour celebrations continue in Brazil and abroad. In Mexico, the Fondo de Cultura Económica celebrated the date with a presentation of En estado de viaje (published by the FCE in 2017), an assemblage of texts from the period when the author was abroad (between 1944 and 1959). Check out excerpts from the reading in the video, with the participation of Tálata Rodriguez.

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: 28 May 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.


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: 28 May 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).     

Clarice Lispector and João Cabral: An Unprinted Story

, Clarice Lispector and João Cabral: An Unprinted Story. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2015. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2015/09/16/clarice-lispector-e-joao-cabral-uma-historia-tipografica/. Acesso em: 28 May 2024.

Understanding that literature is also a kind of health, as Deleuze would say, João Cabral de Melo Neto would open a small press in the 1940s while he was in Spain working as vice-consul. In a statement to the Cadernos de Literatura Brasileira he says: “I was having health problems and the doctor advised me to do gymnastics. Instead of doing Swedish Gymnastics, I decided to buy a hand-operated press. Working on it was almost the same thing as doing exercise.”  

The hand-operated press would give rise to the workshop “The Seamless Book,” in which Cabral would print fourteen books, all poetry, from Manuel Bandeira to Charles Baudelaire, including Vinicius de Moraes, Joaquim Cardoso, and the Spanish writers Alfonso Pintó and Juan Ruiz Calonja, in addition to two books of his own, Psicologia da composição (Psychology of Composition) and O cão sem plumas (The Featherless Dog).  

To debut his printer, Cabral would try to convince Clarice Lispector. At the time, the author was preparing the novel The Besieged City and the tragedy “The Choir of Angels.” The poet from Pernambuco seemed to prefer the play: “I am awaiting ‘The Choir of Angels.’ You speak so fabulously about it to me that my expectations are growing. Though I am certain you will like it when printed on good paper.”    

The idea of a work by Clarice inaugurating “The Seamless Book” likewise excited his friend Manuel Bandeira, who wrote to Cabral: “If your printer begins with Clarice Lispector, what could be a better way to begin?”  

Although the publication of Clarice by the printer was valued by two of the most important poets in Brazil, she declined the invitation. “I only regret not beginning with something of yours,” Cabral wrote.

The first book by “The Seamless Book” was, in the end, Psicologia da composição, by João Cabral de Melo Neto himself, but for a purely technical reason: “It took me a while to get it right and in order for Manuel’s [Bandeira’s] book [Mafuá do Malungo], which was in the machine, not to be damaged, I did mine. (…) It is undeniably the most difficult task of all to successfully print.”And the play that Cabral wanted, “The Choir of Angels,” would be published only in 1964 in the book Foreign Legion, by the Editora do Autor, with the title “The Woman Burned at the Stake and the Harmonious Angels.”


Pens, Paper, and Records

, Pens, Paper, and Records. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2014. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2014/07/22/caneta-papel-e-discos/. Acesso em: 28 May 2024.

Listening to music is not only a pleasurable activity but also an almost necessary task for those whose vocation it is to incorporate words – a mixture of sound and silence – as a way of illuminating existence. In the archives of Clarice Lispector, Otto Lara Resende, and Decio de Almeida Prado, there are several LPs that help us get to know a little about the musical taste of these three writers.   

Clarice Lispector, for example, was explicit in relation to what music meant to her.  In Água Viva, she confesses: “I see that I’ve never told you how I listen to music – I gently rest my hand on the record player and my hand vibrates, sending waves through my whole body: and so I listen to the electricity of the vibrations, the last substratum of reality’s realm, and the world trembles inside my hands.”

Covers from Clarice Lispector’s LPs: on the left, St. Matthew Passion, by J.S. Bach, performed by the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam; on the right, The Complete String Quartets of Ludwig von Beethoven, performed by the Budapest String Quartet. Clarice Lispector Archive / IMS Collection   

On the left, Jeanne D’Arc au bucher, by Arthur Honegger, performed by The Philadelphia Orchestra; on the right, Othello, by William Shakespeare, with Paul Robeson, José Ferrer, Uta Hagen, and Edith King. Clarice Lispector Archive / IMS Collection.


  • 10/06/2014

What Lies Clarice Has

, What Lies Clarice Has. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2014. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2014/06/10/que-mentiras-tem-clarice/. Acesso em: 28 May 2024.

What I write about myself is never the last word

Roland Barthes


It is not easy to talk about Clarice Lispector, an author who has broad repercussions. In the times of social networks, Clarice “cultivates” thousands and thousands of “followers,” “apps,” and “pages.” In the editorial context, the numbers are quite high. Her 22 titles published during her lifetime, among them novels, stories, and chronicles, have given rise to almost 210 translations and more than 500 publications, including theses, dissertations, and books dedicated to the life and work of the author.

Clarice’s numbers reveal that her texts do not respect geographical, cultural, or spatial-temporal boundaries, and remain very much alive by means of translations and reissues, even 40 years after the death of the author.


However, Clarice Lispector’s international literary fame may bring some distorted modes of interpretation. Much of her production is taken only as a self-writing, drenched in personality, in biographical traits. A way of reading that foresees a mirroring of Clarice’s life and work may not be a fruitful option. As Roland Barthes affirms: “The more ‘sincere’ I am, the more interpretable I am, under the eye of other examples than those of the old authors, who believed they were required to submit themselves to but one law: authenticity” (BARTHES, 1997, p. 120). 

In the case of Clarice Lispector, despite the fact that, yes, the writing is introspective and subjective in character, the reader is responsible for feeling the literature in the “gut.” That is, the almost “soul” identification between the reader and Clarice has more to do with the reader’s intention, his or her interpretation, than with the intention of the author’s writing. To unite, indistinctly, the pair author-individual is an interpretive operation – one which is certainly not a big problem. However, this operation can weaken the power of the text when it stops being one mode, one operation, and becomes the mode, the interpretation. There is no doubt that information about an author’s biography sheds light upon the writing, both are in contact, but it cannot be the only light to guide the path of the reader through the text.

To think of the self on the razor’s edge, in a biographical illusion, in a death of the author (to give life to fiction), can constitute very rich spaces for reading.


The mythification on the part of the readers may have been constructed, in part, by Clarice herself. Throughout her life, some “slips” were made. I use the term “lie” not in a Manichaean or biblical sense, but as a jesting way to classify Clarice Lispector’s statements that at some point – and on some level – may have contradicted the facts. Mistakes of a biographical and bibliographical nature, due to a memory slip or due to distraction. Before attributing to “liar” negative epithets, it is good to recall what Nietzsche conceptualizes as truth in the famous essay “On Truth and Lies in an Extramoral Sense:”

[Truth] is a mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are, metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; (…).  (NIETZSCHE, 1873)

The definition is quite inspiring if we think of metaphor as an eminently literary device; we would therefore all be poetic, creating and recreating the word. Neither lies, nor truth: metaphors. In this sense, we bring forth some lies (metaphors) told by Clarice that have been calcified in order to think of the relevance they bring to her oeuvre.


I’m totally Brazilian, the fact that i was born in Russia means nothing. I was two months old when I came to Brazil and my first language was Portuguese. (LISPECTOR apud ROCHA, 2011, p.50)

My homeland did not leave a mark on me, except for my genetic heritage. I’ve never set foot in Russia. (LISPECTOR apud IMS, op. cit., p. 59)

Clarice Lispector declared that she was two months old when she arrived in Brazil. Yet biographical history shows that the Lispectors landed in the city of Maceió in 1922, thus a simple accounting would show that Clarice was almost two years old. Would this reduction in age be an attempt to reduce her memories to the minimum possible? As if she could deny, could forget the various situations that her family had to go through en route from Ukraine to Brazil: robberies, epidemics, hunger.

In fact, the tension with her country of origin would be a glaring theme in her interviews. The condition of being Brazilian was irrevocable. Upon being asked if she would ever leave Brazil, she is emphatic: “Never, but I’ve never even considered this possibility.” The Portuguese critic Carlos Mendes de Sousa considers the author as “the first and most radical affirmation of a non-place in Brazilian literature.” And here is the non-place of her writings: the novelty of a deterritorializing literature in the midst of her contemporaries who turned to Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, and to the northeastern backlands. I quote Lêdo Ivo:

There will certainly be no tangible and acceptable explanation for the mystery of Clarice Lispector’s language and style. The foreignness of her prose is one of the most compelling pieces of evidence in our literary history and, moreover, of the history of our language. This borderline prose, emigrating and immigrating, does not resound with any of our illustrious predecessors […]. One could say that she, a naturalized Brazilian, naturalized a language. (IVO apud IMS, 2004, p. 48)

Carlos Drummond de Andrade also recorded in the poem “Visions of Clarice Lispector,” published in Discurso da primavera & Algumas sombras (Discourse of Spring & Some Shadows, 1977), this non-place of Clarice in verse:

Within her
the ballrooms, stairways
phosphorescent roofs, long steppes,
lantern towers, bridges of Recife shrouded in fog,
formed a country, the country where Clarice
lived alone and ardent, building tales. 

The reference to the non-place can also be considered in relation to her life: born en route, she spent her childhood in Recife, and her youth in Rio de Janeiro, she married a diplomat, she lived in several countries, and finally, she returned to Rio and settled in the neighborhood of Leme.

Another controversial point that has not been very well clarified is not related to language, but to speech. During the Ukraine-Brazil voyage, the youngest Lispector had contact with several language: Yiddish, Russian, English, and finally, Portuguese. Current language acquisition and processing studies affirm that, until seven months of age, babies are able to assimilate the specific sounds of their language and internalize them, even though they cannot reproduce them. Those who have not only read, but also heard Clarice, remember her speech. A speech so undefinable that it is not a surprise. Might the internalization of these sounds mean her “tongue is tied,” as Clarice would say, a remnant of her contact with these different languages? The oldest sister, Elisa Lispector, said that at the house in Recife everyone spoke Yiddish.

My first language was Portuguese. Do I speak Russian: No, absolutely not. (…) my tongue is tied. (…) some people used to ask me if I was French, due to my accent. (LISPECTOR, 2005, p. 95)

Another slip is about her city of birth, Chechelnik. The Brazilian literature professor Nádia Battella Gotlib said she took Clarice’s statement literally and reproduced it several times in her classes: “I was born in the Ukraine, the land of my parents. I was born in a village named Tchechelnik, which is not on the map because it is so small and insignificant.” 1 Until a student brought in a map of Ukraine proving the existence of said village. This would highlight an aspect already mentioned about Clarice’s reluctance to associate her image with a pre-Brazil period. In the aforementioned excerpt, let us note the “land of my parents,” reiterating, once again, her integral Brazilianness.

(Warning: how might the investigation of lies – metaphors – enrich the reading of Clarice’s work?)


Leaving aside the more biographical news, we will analyze the untruths about her production.

In an interview with Affonso Romano de Sant’Anna and Marina Colasanti for the Museum of Image and Sound on October 20, 1976, Clarice Lispector states:

Affonso – You have your texts written in your head. And once you told me something that impressed me: you never reread your texts.

Clarice – No. I get sick of them. When it’s published, it’s like a dead book. I don’t want to deal with it anymore. And when I read it, it’s strange, I think it’s bad. So, I don’t read it! (LISPECTOR apud ROCHA, op. cit., p. 142)

In the Preface to the edition of The Passion According to G.H. published by Rocco, Marlene Gomes Mendes cites Olga Borelli, “Clarice Lispector’s great friend and companion (…) assured us that, in fact, Clarice did not look again at her texts after sending the originals to the publisher.” Clarice: “Sometimes I don’t even correct the proofs. I ask someone to read them. Finished things don’t interest me anymore.”The copy of The Foreign Legion (1964) from the personal library of Clarice Lispector at the Moreira Salles Institute, with notes made by the author herself, proves otherwise. In it she made changes to the punctuation, substituted a word here or there, and highlighted what had already been published in the Jornal do Brasil. This copy is the embryo of the book that would come in 1971, Covert Joy. The change of title is already indicated on the title page of the 1964 copy. The titles of the stories were also rethought; however, in the following volume only two would undergo modifications: “Evolution of a Myopia” to “Progressive Myopia” / “Sketching a little boy” to “Pen Drawing of a Little Boy.” On one page there are marks made with pens of different colors, which may indicate that the review was the result of readings at various moments. The shaky, insecure handwriting indicates that the revision was made after the fire in September 1966, which seriously compromised the movements of Clarice’s right hand. There was never a second edition of The Foreign Legion, which further accentuates the rarity of the copy catalogued on the IMS site and available for consultation.

Lastly, let us talk about Clarice Lispector’s activity as a columnist, an author of crônicas. Alongside contemporaries such as Rachel de Queiroz, Paulo Mendes Campos, Otto Lara Resende, and Carlos Drummond de Andrade, authors who felt at ease in the genre, and who today are her neighbors in the archive, Clarice, on the contrary, felt great discomfort in the profession, for three reasons that we will point out below.

Although she denied the title of columnist, Clarice wrote for the newspapers Comício, Correio da Manhã, Diário da Noite, and the renowned Jornal do Brasil, where she appeared weekly for six years, accounting for nearly 300 crônicas published, with a range of subjects from those related to meta-writing to critical analysis, translations, and  short fictional passages that would be used in her novels and stories. To the 300 texts for the Jornal do Brasil, we add the 450 chronicles published in other newspapers. Her productivity, and, above all, good reception from the public are two signs that make us recognize the columnist Clarice revealed herself to be. We can identify at least two phases of her performance for the press.

The first would be composed of three newspapers united by the same theme. Clarice wrote for Comício (a weekly, anti-Getúlio Vargas newspaper founded by, among others, Rubem Braga), under the pseudonym Tereza Quadros, the column “Entre mulheres” (Among Women); for the Diário da Noite, as a ghost-writer for the actress Ilka Soares, the column “Só para mulheres” [Only for Women]; and for the Correio da Manhã, as Helen Palmer, the column “Correio feminino” (Women’s Mail). It is no secret that she agreed to write about “pleasantries” to bolster the family income. When she participated in the latter two newspapers, she was a mother of two children and recently separated from the diplomat Maury Gurgel Valente, with whom she ended a marriage of more than ten years. In an interview with TV Cultura (1977), Clarice stated: “I’m not a professional, I only write when I want to. I’m an amateur and I insist on continuing to be an amateur. A professional is one who has an obligation to herself to write. Or else to another, in relation to another. Now I make a point of not being professional to maintain my freedom.” From the statement, it is understood that her position as the author of the women’s columns has little to do with Clarice, writer of novels and stories. 

Professionalism takes away her freedom; it is not the author delivered to her creation. It is the paycheck. “Having to” write “for” are two reasons for her discomfort in the profession.² Writing chronicles for the female public was not in the cards. The use of pseudonyms was a way of safeguarding the author of the novels Near to the Wild Heart and The Chandelier, already published at the time. Protecting her, in truth, from a pedestrian and frugal-themed column.

I still feel a little uncomfortable in my new role which cannot be strictly described as that of a columnist. And besides being a novice in the art of writing chronicles, I am also a novice when it comes to writing in order to earn money. I have had some experience as a professional journalist without ever signing my contributions. By signing my name I automatically become more personal. (LISPECTOR apud IMS, op. cit., p. 64)

In her personal library there are some titles of feminine topics. We will cite three: A arte de beber e recepcionar (The Art of Drinking and Hosting), Personal Beauty and Charm and Beleza e personalidade –O livro azul da mulher (Beauty and Personality: The Woman’s Blue Book). In a search, we found several tips adapted from these books that were published in the columns in which she worked. Material that proves the professionalism with which she treated the pages of “pleasantries.” Work. Limited creation. The books cited could be sources for Clarice the columnist to guide wives, mothers, and homemakers, together with her experience as ex-wife of a diplomat and mother of two children; in addition to her natural female authority in women’s matters.

The second moment of her activity as a columnist, now no longer for the female public, is during her time at the Jornal do Brasil. There, Clarice Lispector points out the third reason for not recognizing herself as a columnist: the risk of personal exposure, of the self on the razor’s edge. Since there was no specific theme geared to a specific public, as in her previous experience, in other words, there was a certain liberty, the writer confesses a fear of exposing in her writings her “past and present” life. It is clear in the following quote, once again, the distinction she imposes on the two worlds, the private and the public, the crônica and the novel, the reader of newspapers and the reader of her works:

As I write here, I’m becoming too personal, running the risk of soon publishing my past and present life, which I do not intend. Another thing I’ve noted: it’s enough for me to know I’m writing for a newspaper, that is, for something easily opened by everyone, and not for a book, which is only opened by someone who really wants to, so that, without even feeling it, my way of writing is transformed. It’s not that I don’t like changing, on the contrary. (…) But to change just because this is a column or a chronicle? To be “lighter” just because the reader wants me to? To have fun? To pass a few minutes of reading? And another thing: in my books I deeply want to communicate with myself and with the reader. Here in the newspaper I only speak to the reader and I’m pleased that he is pleased. I’ll tell you the truth: I’m not happy. And I really think I’m going to have a conversation with  Rubem Braga because by myself I’ve been unable to understand. (LISPECTOR apud IMS, op. cit., p.65)

For the sake of clarity, Rubem Braga is cited because it was upon his invitation that Clarice started writing a column for Comício. If Clarice were not an author of crônicas it would not be Rubem Braga, a renowned author in the genre, whom Clarice herself called the “inventor of the crônica,” who would recognize in the author of important novels of Brazilian literature an excellent writer of crônicas.


In 1953, the possibility arose for Clarice to sign a new column for the magazine Manchete. She confesses to her friend Fernando Sabino just how uncomfortable this experience could be, as she would have the impression of being present in person, “probably stuttering from embarrassment.” She would probably be stuttering from embarrassment today if she knew that her biography is practically superimposed on her work.

Having seen all this, I find it pleasurable to observe in her a behavior for which the reliability of information does not always matter, in which reality and fantasy/biography and fiction intersect. Information on her origins, age, language, past: truth is a metaphor. It is all boundary, it is all a non-place. What Clarice Lispector published has to do with the “health of literature” that Gilles Deleuze refers to in “Literature and Life:” literature as an invention of a missing people; literature is not fables written with memories – unless they become the collective origin or destiny of these people.

In order to think about the modes of reading that can overinterpret literature and exceed the game of fiction it prescribes, I will conclude with the Minas Gerais native, Paulo Mendes Campos: “Whoever doesn’t know that literature is made up of words hasn’t arrived there yet.”


BARTHES, Roland. Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes. Trans. R. Howard. London, McMillan, 1977.
DELEUZE, Gilles. Essays Critical and Clinical. Trans. Daniel W. Smith and Michael A. Greco. London, Verso, 1998.
INSTITUTO MOREIRA SALLES, Cadernos de Literatura Brasileira: Clarice Lispector, ns 17 e 18. São Paulo: IMS, 2004. LISPECTOR, Clarice. Outros escritos. Rio de Janeiro: Rocco, 2005.
MOSER, Benjamin. Clarice. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2009.
NIETZSCHE, Friederich. “On Truth and Lies in an Extra-Moral Sense,” 1873. Essay available at: https://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl201/modules/Philosophers/Nietzsche/Truth_and_Lie_in_an_Extra-Moral_Sense.htm 
ROCHA, Evelyn, org. Clarice Lispector – Série Encontro. Rio de Janeiro: Azougue, 2011.
SOUSA, Carlos Mendes de. Clarice Lispector – Figuras da escrita. São Paulo: IMS, 2012.

1 In the months of February and March, 2012, the Moreira Salles Institute hosted the course “Clarice: An Apprenticeship,” with the participation of Benjamin Moser, Vilma Arêas, Carlos Mendes de Sousa, and Professor Nádia Battella Gotlib.
2 Recently, Globo Network made a series about Correio feminino (Women’s Mail) and, in an flawed manner (for the purposes of dissemination, perhaps?), they fell into the trap of mirroring Clarice as a writer and a woman, once again crossing the line between the individual and the author, attaching biography to literary work; in the case of the crônicas, attaching biography to the work performed.