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Modern Humanities Research Association :: All Publications :: After Clarice
“After Clarice: Reading Lispector’s Legacy in the Twenty-First Century

Forty years after her death, Clarice Lispector’s startling oeuvre continues to fascinate readers and scholars. Internationally acclaimed writers, from Hélène Cixous to Colm Tóibín, have acknowledged the transformative influence of her writing on their own work. Translations of her novels and short stories appear every year in many languages, making her one of the most widely translated and retranslated Portuguese-language writers of the twentieth century. After Clarice: Reading Lispector’s Legacy in the Twenty-First Century brings together scholars, authors, artists, and translators working in a wide range of languages and disciplines to address Lispector’s place, as a Brazilian writer, in twenty-first century configurations of world literature. It aims to evaluate the fluctuations and swerves in Lispector’s critical fortunes, focusing on the way her works have been reread and transformed in other languages, genres, and media.

Gathering scholarly articles, works of fiction and poetry, personal essays and archival material, this volume explores Lispector’s status as a Jewish writer; issues of identity, class, race, gender and sexuality in her work; translation and reception, as well as the politics of publishing and marketing Lispector for international readerships. In addition to her stories and novels, After Clarice also examines Lispector’s journalism, writing for children, interviews, music and visual art collaborations, and considers how these activities have garnered her new readers in a wide range of disciplines.”
claricelispector  2020  books 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
Escritor Benjamin Moser é acusado de racismo por trecho em biografia de Clarice Lispector - Geledés
[via:

“I am reminded of the controversy around Moser’s racist remarks on Lispector’s bio, where he wrote that, alongside Clarice, ‘Carolina [Maria de Jesus, a black writer] looks tense and out of place, as if someone had dragged Clarice’s maid into the picture’ [“reminded” by: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/benjamin-moser-and-the-smallest-woman-in-the-world/ ]

For reference: [link to this article]”]

[See also:
https://twitter.com/sofiaperpetua/status/1162602714301456384

“Also, if you speak Portuguese, check out minute 50:56, where Moser makes a correlation between beauty and artistic genius in a woman, giving Sontag and Lispector as an example, “it is very common that very intelligent people are very beautiful””

points to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWIfQTH7vJA&t=3220s ]
claricelispector  benjaminmoser  2017  racism  brasil  brazil  anamariagonçalves  carolinamariadejesus 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
Brazil’s Malaise | Public Books
[via (the author):
https://twitter.com/_lucas_il/status/1163502471915941889

Still chewing over @magda8lena‘s essay about Ben Moser. In 2017, I reviewed a small book Moser wrote about Brazil. I noticed that his description of Brasília as a totalitarian nightmare bore a striking resemblance to the way Lispector describes it in her crônicas

I initially wrote “cribbed” to describe the relationship between the two texts, but after my editor flagged the word, I changed the word to “cites.” He does cite Lispector near the end of the essay - but only briefly, and without ref to the shared ideas about ruins and nightmares

Pains me to think how ready I was - in a piece of criticism, no less - to shy away from my initial instinct and give him the benefit of the doubt when the textual evidence was right there, in front of me.

Here’s that essay: https://publicbooks.org/brazils-malaise/ [image: "One can safely say that Moser’s thinking on Brasília is directly shaped by Lispector’s assessment of the capital city for a 1970 newspaper column. In “Creating Brasília,” Lispector reflects on the “great visual silence” of Costa and Niemeyer’s strange shapes. The city, in her eyes, began with “the starkest of ruins,” over which “the ivy had not yet grown.”2 Lispector’s Brasília lacks an entry point or an exit, and is utterly devoid of people. Moser cites Lispector’s cryptic reflections and adds to them his own more quotidian observations. Its main avenues, he notes, are impossible to cross by foot, and its buildings and homes are full of bored, wealthy Brazilians and diplomats who have already “seen it all” and can therefore tolerate life in a flattened, rigid place."]

An interesting wrinkle: in his translation, Giovanni Pontiero seems to have added a line (“The construction of Brasília: that of a totalitarian state”) that doesn’t exist in the original - and Moser’s essay is largely about how the monumentality of Brasília is totalitarian… [two images]

Anyway. If you haven’t yet, go read @magda8lena‘s essay: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/benjamin-moser-and-the-smallest-woman-in-the-world/
lucasibericolozada  brazil  brasil  brasilia  2017  brasília  benjaminmoser  claricelispector  cities  totalitarianism  2019  instinct  writing  howwewrite  editing  giovannipontiero 
9 weeks ago by robertogreco
É lenta e quase não fala. Tem olhos hipnóticos,... - poetry & stuff
"É lenta e quase não fala. Tem olhos hipnóticos, quase diabólicos. E a gente sente que ela não espera mais nada de nada nem de ninguém, que está absolutamente sozinha e numa altura tal que ninguém jamais conseguiria alcançá-la. Muita gente deve achá-la antipaticíssima, mas eu achei linda, profunda, estranha, perigosa. É impossível sentir-se à vontade perto dela, não porque sua presença seja desagradável, mas porque a gente pressente que ela está sempre sabendo exatamente o que se passa ao seu redor. Talvez eu esteja fantasiando, sei lá. Mas a impressão foi fortíssima, nunca ninguém tinha me perturbado tanto." —Caio Fernando de Abreu (sobre Clarice Lispector.)
claricelispector  caiofernandodeabreu 
april 2018 by robertogreco
There’s a reason many more Indians might want to read the works of Clarice Lispector
"Soul over mind

The “grand witch of Brazilian literature” needs no introduction to readers around the world, and yet she remains – puzzlingly – relatively unknown in India. Readers are often expected, even encouraged, to read “foreign” literature to better understand cultures and people other than their own, but the higher purpose of literature, of any art, is to break down the very idea of the foreign, of revealing the essential and not the contingent human condition. Lispector’s writings force us to plunge into the metaphysics of our soul – as opposed to our minds. This is what makes her a writer uniquely important to the Indian sensibility.

Sometimes, reading between the lines of Lispector’s works, one arrives at a relative mysticism, somewhere between hermetic style and discrete metaphysics. For her, it’s not just one life that is in existence, but many lives. No definitive deity, but the destiny of the soul (dharma for many in India), an unreasonable search for happiness.

How, then, can we not be caught by this delicacy, by these intelligent meanderings to which she invites us? How to resist her? How not to be conquered? How, in short, not to read Clarice Lispector?

The value of incoherence

When reading her, one almost gets the feeling of being suddenly plugged into the supernatural in whose presence reason and pragmatism constantly fails and falters. In this, Lispector’s writing is also marked by an instinctive stand against the European insistence on the sole importance of reason. Lispector was a flamboyant believer in the soul, and her search for the unconscious and the divine have deep resonances with the idea of a transcendental supreme reality found in ancient Indian philosophy.
She preferred incoherence and inconsistency to order, and the death-like calm of Switzerland, which epitomised the European love for reason, bored and terrified her."



"And so, suddenly, while reading her, Rio de Janeiro turns into New Delhi, Macabea becomes a woman from Bihar, sitting with her palms stretched out in front of an astrologer on a sidewalk, G.H. is a woman in an apartment in South Bombay searching for god in her maid’s room, Clarice Lispector is a writer living in an Indian city filled with demons, the occult is everywhere like black magic, and poverty is unbearable.

We nod in recognition of the similar and not the foreign. There is no more foreign."
2017  claricelispector  saudaminideo  india  brasil  brazil  incoherence  spirituality  occult  mysticism 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Katrina Dodson on Clarice Lispector, "Brazil's Kafka" — Chapter & Verse
"The figure of Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) left two mysteries in her wake: the mystery of how her writing hits us so powerfully, and the mystery of how it came to be composed by this particular Brazilian-Jewish woman, who was, by turns, a law student, a glamorous journalist, a diplomat’s wife, a mother of sons, and, by the 1970s, perhaps the most treasured writer in Brazil’s literary firmament.

Katrina Dodson has spent the last several years grappling with Lispector's mysteries in a very tactile way: as the translator of her Complete Stories, a collection whose pieces range from the comic to the anguished, the mystical to the surreal, the journalistic to the experimental. In their variety Lispector's short stories serve as a perfect entry-point into her multifaceted genius, and so it's quite fitting that Dodson's translation of the complete short stories — which recently won the 2015 PEN Translation Prize — has helped touch off a full-fledged Lispector revival in the English-speaking world.

In this episode, Dodson reads two Lispector short stories in their entirety — the fable-like "A Chicken" and the intricate "The Smallest Woman in the World" — and reflects on how she tried to render Lispector's very special Portuguese in the English language.

Dodson's sensitive translation of Lispector's Complete Stories has been much acclaimed. In the citation for the PEN award, the PEN judges called Dodson's translation "a revelation that lays bare the breadth of both the author's and translator's talent...An extraordinary translation of an exceptional author." Dodson holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley."

[direct link to SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/chapterversepod/katrina-dodson-on-the-short-stories-of-clarece-lispector ]
claricelispector  tolisten  katrinadodson  brazil  brasil  2016  benjaminmoser  translation 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Literary Hub: Now Trending: Clarice Lispector
"Clarice Lispector has long been a literary darling in Brazil, where she is fondly referred to on a first name basis. Now, nearly 40 years after her death, she is gaining long-deserved international recognition. New Directions will publish 86 of her short stories in the forthcoming The Complete Stories, and the literary world is rejoicing; The New Yorker ruminated on her literary witchcraft, The New Republic declared that she will finally receive “the Bolaño treatment,” Slate proclaimed her to be a “genius on the level of Nabokov,” and Tin House celebrated with an entire week devoted to her.

Several of her stories, gathered below, have been published in anticipation of the collection.

• Amor
• Remnants of Carnival
• Better Than Burning
• Covert Joy
• Praça Mauá
• Report on the Thing
• Clandestine Happiness
• One Hundred Years of Forgiveness
• The Hen & Family Ties

Bonus: Rachel Kushner on Lispector, from Bookforum’s archives"
claricelispector  2015  brasil  brazil  literature 
october 2015 by robertogreco
Se eu fosse eu - Blog do IMS
"O Instituto Moreira Salles convidou a fotógrafa e educadora Tatiana Altberg, coordenadora do projeto Mão na Lata, para ministrar aulas de fotografia pinhole para adolescentes que vivem na Rocinha.

O resultado dessa atividade é a exposição Se eu fosse eu, com imagens e textos produzidos pelos alunos, que abre no Rio de Janeiro em 21 de dezembro, às 15h, na Biblioteca Parque da Rocinha/C4 (Estrada da Gávea, 454).

A oficina, com vinte alunos, foi ministrada ao longo de três meses e teve como proposta trabalhar a fotografia de maneira integrada com a literatura. Durante o curso, os alunos leram A mulher que matou os peixes, de Clarice Lispector, além de uma série de crônicas da mesma autora sobre a infância. Foi a partir dessas leituras que desenvolveram seus textos e fotografias, algumas das quais ilustram este post.

Além disso, os adolescentes tiveram a oportunidade de produzir suas próprias câmeras através da técnica de pinhole – construídas a partir de latas recicladas, revestidas internamente com material fotossensível e com um pequeno orifício para a entrada de luz."
brasil  brazil  photography  institutomoreirasalles  tatianaaltberg  mãonalata  seeufosseeu  riodejaneiro  2013  claricelispector  education  teaching  selfportaits  projectideas  classideas  pinholecameras  literature 
january 2014 by robertogreco
To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees | Grand Strategy: The View from Oregon
"“To see is to forget the name of the thing one sees.” This is a quote frequently attributed to Paul Valéry, and the line has a quality that is at once both searching and poetic, making the attribution reasonable. I don’t know if Valéry actually said it (I can’t find the source of the quote), but I think of this line every once in a while: my mind returns to it as to an object of fascination. A good aphorism is perennially pregnant with meaning, and always repays further meditation.

If seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees, and mutatis mutandis for the aesthetic experiences that follow from the other senses — e.g., to taste is to forget the name of thing one tastes, and so forth — we may take the idea further and insist that it is the forgetting of not only the name but of all the linguistic (i.e., formal) accretions, all categorizations, and all predications, that enables us to experience the thing in itself (to employ a Kantian locution). What we are describing is the pursuit of prepredicative experience after the fact (to employ a Husserlian locution).

This is nothing other than the familiar theme of seeking a pure aesthetic experience unmediated by the intellect, undistracted by conceptualization, unmarred by thought — seeing without thinking the seen. In view of this, can we take the further step, beyond the generalization of naming, extending the conceit to all linguistic formalizations, so that we arrive at a pure aesthesis of thought? Can we say that to think is to forget the name of the thing one thinks?

The pure aesthesis of thought, to feel a thought as one feels an experience of the senses, would be thought unmediated by the conventions of naming, categories, predication, and all the familiar machinery of the intellect, i.e., thought unmediated by the accretions of consciousness. It would be thought without all that we usually think of as being thought. Is such thought even possible? Is this, perhaps, unconscious thought? Is Freud the proper model for a pure aesthesis of thought? Possible or not, conscious or not, Freudian or not, the pursuit of such thought would constitute an effort of thought that must enlarge our intellectual imagination, and the enlargement of our imagination is ultimately the enlargement of our world.

Wittgenstein famously wrote that the limits of my language are the limits of my world (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.6 — this is another wonderful aphorism that always repays further meditation). But the limits of language can be extended; we can systematically seek to transcend the limits of our language and thus the limits of our world, or we can augment our language and thus augment our world. Russell, Wittgenstein’s mentor and one-time collaborator, rather than focusing on limits of the self, developed an ethic of impersonal self-enlargement, i.e., the transgression of limits. In the last chapter of his The Problems of Philosophy Russell wrote:
All acquisition of knowledge is an enlargement of the Self, but this enlargement is best attained when it is not directly sought. It is obtained when the desire for knowledge is alone operative, by a study which does not wish in advance that its objects should have this or that character, but adapts the Self to the characters which it finds in its objects. This enlargement of Self is not obtained when, taking the Self as it is, we try to show that the world is so similar to this Self that knowledge of it is possible without any admission of what seems alien. The desire to prove this is a form of self-assertion and, like all self-assertion, it is an obstacle to the growth of Self which it desires, and of which the Self knows that it is capable. Self-assertion, in philosophic speculation as elsewhere, views the world as a means to its own ends; thus it makes the world of less account than Self, and the Self sets bounds to the greatness of its goods. In contemplation, on the contrary, we start from the not-Self, and through its greatness the boundaries of Self are enlarged; through the infinity of the universe the mind which contemplates it achieves some share in infinity.

The obvious extension of this conception of impersonal self-enlargement to an ethics of thought enjoins the self-enlargement of the intellect, the transgression of the limits of the intellect. It is the exercise of imagination that enlarges the intellect, and a great many human failures that we put to failures of understanding and cognition are in fact failures of imagination.

The moral obligation of self-enlargement is a duty of intellectual self-transgression. As Nietzsche put it: “A very popular error: having the courage of one’s convictions; rather it is a matter of having the courage for an attack on one’s convictions!”"

[Came here today because https://twitter.com/rogre/status/403632186944790528 + https://twitter.com/rogre/status/403632476154626048 + https://twitter.com/rogre/status/403636512656334848
thus the tagging with Robert Irwin, Lawrence Weschler, and Clarice Lispector]
paulvaléry  wittgenstein  thought  language  aphorism  mind  memory  senses  familiarization  robertirwin  lawrenceweschler  naming  categorization  predication  freud  bertrandrussell  self  philosophy  claricelispector  knowledge  knowledgeacquisition  self-enlargement  nietzsche  brasil  brazil  literature 
november 2013 by robertogreco
BOMBLOG: Dilated Heart: Alison Entrekin and Clarice Lispector by Sarah Gerard
"Alison Entrekin: Clarice was a native speaker of Portuguese, but her writing style definitely isn’t run-of-the-mill. Her turns of phrase are often peculiar, her word choices unconventional, and her syntax can be rather odd at times. Not always, but a lot of the time. There are places in her books where she is entirely idiomatic and makes perfect sense and places where every reader understands something different, because her sentences are open-ended, with words that contain a range of nuances, allowing for several different readings.

SG: Different challenges arise translating a work from any one language into another. What are some of the challenges you face translating a work from Portuguese into English?

AE: The answer to this question varies with each book and author, but with Clarice the big challenge any translator faces is allowing her to be herself. This is easier said than done. With unconventional writers, there is always a little niggling voice in the back of your mind telling you that readers of the translation are going to attribute any difficulties they have to the translator, not to the original, and I think that this—consciously or unconsciously—leads some translators to over-interpret what the author actually said and serve up a more domesticated version of the writing. I think some past translations of Clarice have tried too hard to “tidy her up” and have her make perfect sense where she was deliberately open-ended. I tried not to do this. There is almost always a more natural way to say the things she says, but it wouldn’t necessarily be a faithful translation.



SG: How does your translation of Near to the Wild Heart differ from Giovanni Pontiero’s? Do you feel you approached it differently? Was his translation useful to you in making decisions about your own?

AE: I deliberately avoided reading Pontiero’s translation until after I was done with my own. And even then, I didn’t read it all. I looked at the first few chapters and then just peeked at what he had done in some particularly difficult places to see his take on things, but I think we are completely different translators and tackled things in very different ways. I don’t want to run the man down, as he isn’t here to defend himself, but I feel that he took a few too many liberties with his translation, filling in a lot of Clarice’s little ellipses and making her sound more conventional than she was.

SG: Pontiero’s translation ended famously with, “I shall arise as strong and comely as a young colt,” whereas you’ve translated this as, “I shall arise as strong and beautiful as a young horse.” Can you explain this subtle difference?

AE: In her original text Clarice used bela, which is “beautiful.” I don’t see any justification for using a synonym for “beautiful” in this case, as it is a direct match for bela. “Comely” is a less likely choice, with subtleties of its own that are not present in bela. Clarice could have used a synonym for bela, but didn’t. Likewise, she used cavalo novo in the original, which is literally “young horse.” She could have used poldro or potro, the Portuguese for “colt,” but didn’t. My translation is simpler and perhaps less elegant, but I feel it is closer to the original.



SG: Even more than most writers, themes stretch across and seem to morph through Lispector’s books. In translating her first novel, was it difficult not to let your familiarity with her later works inform your choices too much, or was it actually an advantage to have access to those later works?

AE: I’m not a specialist in Clarice Lispector, nor have I read all of her books. But I do believe that a work of literature has to be approached as is; that is, as I said before, you have to translate the book that is in front of you. Of course, the better you know a writer, the better equipped you will be to identify their quirks, favorite words, themes, etc. but it probably won’t change the way you translate them.

Ultimately, I think one’s knowledge of the language and culture is still more important than expertise in a particular author (though obviously knowing the author’s oeuvre is better than not knowing it). For example, Clarice often said that so-and-so “dilated” their eyes in Portuguese, meaning “opened them wide.” I came across it a few times in Near to the Wild Heart, and have seen it in other stories of hers, too. As far as I have been able to ascertain, it is a quirk of Clarice’s. It’s nice to know, but it didn’t change my approach to it. It is just as odd a word choice in Portuguese as it is in English—pupils dilate, but we don’t usually say that eyes dilate—which is why I rendered it literally in my translation. On the other hand, I discovered quite by accident—while talking to a woman of Clarice’s generation in a doctor’s waiting room—that her use of another word, which I had found quite peculiar on first reading, was actually the current usage back when she was writing, though it isn’t so usual today. Needless to say, I rushed home and changed my translation of that word to something more conventional.

SG: Is there anything that you feel didn’t translate well from the Portuguese into the English in Near to the Wild Heart, and if so, what were the obstacles?

AE: I don’t really remember anything specific that I was terribly distraught about, but I do feel that, despite my best efforts to preserve her idiosyncrasies, the translation suffered certain losses. To some extent, this is all in a translator’s day’s work, as no language is a mirror copy of another, but with Clarice it is exacerbated by the fact that she frequently used words that could be interpreted in a number of ways. That’s fine when you’re reading her—a discerning reader will register several of those nuances and move on. When you have to translate her, it’s a different story. Often there isn’t a corresponding word or phrase that offers all of the possibilities contained in the original. So you have to choose—which is a very subjective process in itself—and, in so doing, you automatically narrow her down, pin her to what you think is most important.
claricelispector  translation  sarahherard  alisonentrekin  2012  interviews  portuguese  portugués  brasil  literature  brazil 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Unclassifiable Clarice Lispector | TLS
[now here: https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/unclassifiable-clarice-lispector/ ]

“Not much happens in a Lispector novel. In Near to the Wild Heart, Joana recalls her childhood, is orphaned and adopted by an aunt, attends boarding school, marries, chats with her husband’s mistress, takes a lover, and loses both husband and lover. But this “plot” is incidental to the life of her mind, where all the real action takes place.”

“Lispector can be a bafflingly elusive writer. But her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure, and when she is writing of what she despises she is lucidity itself.”

“Critics have found Lispector difficult to pin down. “Unclassifiable”, says Edmund White. “As though no one had ever written before”, says Colm Tóibín. Comparisons are invoked with Proust, Kafka, Joyce and, for the introspection, with Virginia Woolf. For Hélène Cixous, she is the very epitome of “écriture féminine” with her assault on binary logic and patriarchal logocentrism.”
plotless  plot  lifeofthemind  lucidity  binarylogic  patricarchallogocentrism  unclassifiable  novels  books  2012  colmtóibín  proust  jamesjoyce  kafka  hélènecixous  literature  brasil  claricelispector  brazil  marcelproust 
august 2012 by robertogreco

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