• 09/12/2019

Clarice in a new reedition

, Clarice in a new reedition. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2019. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2019/12/09/clarice-em-nova-reedicao/. Acesso em: 17 June 2024.

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

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

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

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

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


Before the Hour, a preface by Paloma Vidal

, Before the Hour, a preface by Paloma Vidal. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/05/19/antes-da-hora-prefacio-de-paloma-vidal/. Acesso em: 17 June 2024.

To celebrate the 40-year anniversary of The Hour of the Star, the Rocco publishing house has prepared an edition of the novella with a new cover, which will be released at the Travessa Bookstore on May 22 at 7 pm.

The publication includes a new preface by Paloma Vidal based on the research of manuscripts – under the care of the IMS since 2004 and available for access here. We have reproduced a few fragments of this exploration into the collection in the next section.     

And now – a chronicle of the encounter with the manuscripts of The Hour of the Star (Paloma Vidal)

A pair of plastic gloves, a box so white it glows, in a small room with glass windows and artificial lighting. It all makes me think of a surgical operation. That’s what I wrote down. Then a question about how to make an emotion arise there. I wrote that down and raised my head, trying not to be seen as I looked at J., sitting at the desk facing mine, busy and vigilant. She was the one who offered me sheets of paper, which were also white, and a pencil, which she sharpened first, in a deliberately old-fashioned gesture. She spends hours inside this room, with lunch and snack breaks, watching how people open and close white boxes, which look like presents, not so much due to their own qualities than to the expectation of those who open them. She’s already seen this gesture so many times she could make a typology: there are those who laugh, those who cry, there are the disdainful and the disrespectful ones, those who roll their eyes, those who close them. There are those who are suspicious, like me. Everything is more or less expected. I wonder how many accept the sheets of paper she kindly offers along with the sharpened pencil, since the use of a computer is allowed. Notebooks and pens, no, computers, yes. (…)  

When I arrived at the small room in the Moreira Salles Institute, in Rio de Janeiro, and before opening the white box, I had already seen scanned copies of Clarice Lispector’s notes for The Hour of the Star. Along with the request to write a chronicle of the encounter with the book manuscripts, for a 40th anniversary commemorative edition of the novella, came the images of these papers, which I nonetheless decided I had to see in person. (…) 

In this small room, wearing gloves, J. hands me white sheets of paper and a pencil, which I accept, though I had brought my computer. I accept out of courtesy, because it is difficult for me to say no to something that is offered in kindness. But that’s not all: it’s an invitation to write by hand. J. makes me a rare invitation. An invitation, for its part, that could give meaning to this encounter. I would like her gesture to be mine. That’s what I wrote next, before deciding to finally open the white box. (…)  

Inside we encounter 34 manila folders of different sizes, numbered on the right, in pencil: 1/34, 2/34, 3/34, and so on. Soon we discover that the size of the folders depends on the size of the papers inside them – smaller when there are loose papers, bigger when there are legal writing pads – and we wonder if they were decorated by hand, custom-made. We also discover that the handwritten titles at the center of the folder covers correspond to the first words on the first page of the manuscripts contained in them. All this presupposes someone’s manual labor. “An archive presupposes an archivist, a hand that collects and classifies,” writes Arlette Farge in The Allure of the Archives. I think of these hands while I handle the folders, which I do not open yet. I think that this archive presupposes many hands, before mine own. And that many others will come, in search of this survival, this trace of the real, as alive as it is inaccessible. (…) 

I write by hand on the white sheets of paper that J. gave me, and I’m already somewhere else, while I copy what I wrote down on this computer screen. I end up disobeying the archive, wanting to be faithful to it. (…)  

 “The allure of the archive,” writes Farge, “passes through this slow and unrewarding artisanal task of re copying texts, section after section, without changing the format, the grammar, or even the punctuation. Without giving it too much thought. Thinking about it constantly. As if the hand, through this task, could make it possible for the mind to be simultaneously an accomplice and a stranger to this past time and to these men and women describing their experiences.”

I go ahead. I feel like I can’t get too fixated, expecting each of these notes to give me a revelation. I begin to go quicker through the notes and folders, making small piles that alarm J.: “will you know how to put them back in order?”, she asks me, removing her earphones and breaking the silence that had apparently been arranged after our roles had been distributed. I answer what she already knows: that the folders are numbered and that, yes, yes, everything is under control. She must have noticed my restlessness. My feeling of unpreparedness. She’s not the first person this has happened to. There are those who know what they want and those who only seek, without knowing where to begin. “How do you start at the beginning, if things happen before they happen?” (…)I jump. The complicity I seek could come from a note in folder 8/34. With very tremulous handwriting, in four lines, without punctuation, Clarice writes on the back of a checkbook: “I swear this/ book is made/ without words/ It is a mute photograph.” The image of the back of the checkbook was not included in the scanned notes I received, and if it weren’t for the later encounter, it would have likely been impossible for me to know the origin of the paper on which these lines were written. In the image, one saw a texture, thin beige lines covering the manila paper, with a slightly darker border. I think of the frequency of these notes in Clarice’s writing, when the words come unexpectedly, when the need to jot them down comes, at any time, in any place. In these folders, there are envelopes, torn papers, loose sheets, this checkbook. I see the fascination caused by the recording of a writing that comes all of a sudden and can’t be contained. The recording of an instant. Of the instant in which something is created. Besides, of course, the witnessing of a method, that only later, having opened a few more folders, will be possible to see better.

For the time being, I pause at this note. The encounter between these words and this paper. Any type of paper could have served for these notes, I know, including this one, which nonetheless, unlike the others, indicates a date, September 15, 1976, an account number, and a bank branch. “Lido,” of the National Bank. In this specific case, the writing comes to exist in time and in space, in a much more concrete relation to the real of which it is part and of which it has become a trace. It gives visibility to a body, of one who inhabits and passes through a certain place in the city, at a particular time, with its singular characteristics. (…)

On the last pages of the handwritten pad, we arrive at Macabéa’s death. The author makes a detour and the parentheses appear: “(I could turn the clock back and happily start again at the point when Macabéa was standing on the pavement – but it isn’t for me to say whether the fair-haired looked at her with eyes it doesn’t matter what color. But– but I’ve gone too far and there is no turning back. But at least I didn’t speak of death and only being run over.)” How to narrate death is one of the questions that the manuscripts make us see in astonishment. Here is the “grand finale” announced by the author, carefully refuted by the interventions that, in putting the book together, Clarice will make in the continuous text, many of them written down in the fragments that are in these folders. Through them, the book will refute the truth about life being a trajectory that goes from a beginning to an end. The “fatal line” will be cut out. In parentheses, in the book, these opening words are taken up again: “Truth is always an inexplicable inner contact. Truth is unrecognizable.” (…)


Illustration and Affect, A Conversation with Mariana Valente

, Illustration and Affect, A Conversation with Mariana Valente. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/04/10/ilustracao-e-afeto-conversa-com-mariana-valente/. Acesso em: 17 June 2024.

Starting next May, the shelves of Brazilian bookstores will display copies of A mulher que matou os peixes (“The Woman Who Killed the Fish”) with a new look. Published originally in 1968 by Sabiá, the second children’s book Clarice Lispector published during her lifetime will feature a reproduction of the dedication the author wrote for her children, Pedro and Paulo, and for her unborn grandchildren.

In this new edition from Rocco, our attention is drawn, above all, to the curious illustrations made from affective collages, “nostalgic materials that are relics laden with history and affect,” signed by, of all people, Mariana Valente, artist, native Rio de Janeiro designer, and Clarice’s granddaughter, who spoke with us here at the blog.

You have been working for some time on new editions of Clarice’s work for Rocco, such as As palavras (2013) and O tempo (2014), and are preparing A mulher que matou os peixes. For you, how is this approach and proximity to Clarice’s work?

It’s very curious how I resisted for a few years before diving alone into the beautiful abyss that is to read Clarice. I tried The Passion According to G.H. when I was fifteen, but the warning at the beginning of the book made me rethink and realize that I was far from being someone who was fully formed. I understood that I should wait a bit more. I also read Family Ties in school, for a Portuguese exam, and I was a bit detested by friends in the class who didn’t really understand what they had read well enough to manage the exam. Thus my first contact with the work of my grandmother was a little traumatic. But I started to watch some excellent plays in honor of Clarice, and I felt an enormous urgency to get to know this woman who was so close to me and yet at the same time so distant and mysterious. That was when I read An Apprenticeship at 16 and stopped resisting. Then came Água Viva, and from then on there was no turning back. One cannot likely read Clarice and be the same person as before reading her. The moment I chose (by then I was already an adult) to take up Passion According to G.H. again was very much a revelation for me. One of the most painful and lovely subjective experiences I have ever had. I feel like she helped me to grow through her books. This in particular was a motif for much investigation in therapy! I have more difficulty doing a project that involves my grandmother, because I get very emotional and become fragile, and I feel an enormous responsibility to find a way to translate her work graphically.

Still within the scope of literature and collage production, last year the renowned Portuguese chinaware brand Vista Alegre launched a tureen and special edition of A paixão segundo G.H. (The Passion According to G.H.), both illustrated by you. Recently, at the end of 2016 there was also the exhibition Lendas de Clarice (Clarice’s Legends) inspired by the book Doze lendas brasileiras – como nasceram as estrelas (How the Stars were Born: Twelve Brazilian Legends). Is there a difference among working with the production of objects, exhibitions, and graphic projects?

I think the biggest difference is the medium in which the work takes place, but the process for any new project is more or less the same. If I already have an idea of what I want to do, I go in search of the material (manual or digital), select the images, and then comes the cutting and fitting process. I always photograph this part of the process, because it helps me to see the gaps and flaws to correct. The last phase is to glue and join the parts together. But normally the Clarice splices take more time.

And with regard to your work process, how does it function? What’s the relation between text and image, memory and affect?

In the same way that the writing and reading of Clarice’s texts is done in an almost experimental way, in a stream of consciousness and in the raw, the work with collage also has a similar effect on those who do it and those who observe it. The whole process is very symbolic, and I try to resignify the image in the image itself, much as Clarice resignifies the word in the word itself.

This brings us to our fourth question: Mariana Valente as a reader of Clarice Lispector and Mariana Valente as a granddaughter of Clarice Lispector. Are there boundaries between them? Which came first?

The granddaughter, no doubt. When I was younger and someone found out that I was Clarice’s granddaughter, the person would be emotionally moved and I didn’t understand. I didn’t know her personally but it seemed that everyone who read her knew her deeply. Thus I suspected that reading her work would be very revealing. Like it was, and like it is.


  • 15/02/2017

40 Years of The Hour of the Star

, 40 Years of The Hour of the Star. IMS Clarice Lispector, 2017. Disponível em: https://site.claricelispector.ims.com.br/en/2017/02/15/40-anos-de-a-hora-da-estrela/. Acesso em: 17 June 2024.

One of Clarice Lispector’s most translated books, The Hour of the Star was published almost 40 years ago by the José Olympio publishing house in October of 1977. 

The Rocco publishing house, which as of 1998 assumed the republication of Clarice’s works, is preparing a special volume to celebrate the occasion. Expected to arrive in bookstores in May, the hardcover publication will include six essays written by scholars of the author, among them Nádia Gotlib, Eduardo Portella, Colm Tóibín, Hélène Cixous, and Paloma Vidal.

With a new look, the book will also have an extra section with a facsimile reproduction of the novella’s manuscripts. A part of these manuscripts, in the care of the IMS since 2004, has been scanned and can be accessed here.

Original manuscript of The Hour of the Star / Clarice Lispector Collection / IMS

In addition to the originals for The Hour of the Star, the Clarice Lispector Collection, which is entirely catalogued and available for research in person, is made up of the manuscripts of the novels A Breath of Life and Água Viva, family correspondence, two paintings by the author, LPs, photographs, negatives, and a personal library with around one thousand items, such as books and periodicals.