Clarice in the memory of others

Mona Hatoum, Suspended, 2011


Presentation of the recently released book, organized by Nádia Battella Gotlib

Gaze impressions

The fifty-seven parties and sixty-five collaborators gathered here have the same purpose: to recover the image of Clarice Lispector. The colors and lines that the declarative voices lend to the composition of the fiction writer's profile are also generous in the construction variables: interview, testimony, letter, chronicle, poem.

Through these genres, impressions come to us from different people – those who have blood ties with the author (son, cousins, great-niece), otherwise, those who are part of the family nucleus (in the case of the sister-in-law), as well as from friends, colleagues and acquaintances (some closer; others less so). Hence the tonal plurality. Hence the personalized way of shaping testimonial gestures. Hence the assorted mosaic of records with a fundamentally memorial scope.

In fact, the expository voices throughout the pages of this book frame her character from multiple angles. Family members refer to the family tree: they therefore illuminate travel stories (ancestry, exodus), and memories that signal monetary deprivation are anointed with feelings of affection and longing.

From these archived experiences, the child, teenager and adult Clarice emerge in unique gestures, in furtive glimpses. She reappears in flashes, crossing squares and streets of Recife; she expresses uniqueness and precocious talent for literature (always the beautiful youngest, connected with her father and united with her sisters). In this recovery, old Russia and the Brazilian northeast fortunately expanded into cultural constellations.

In the accounts of her friends rest the memories of the woman whose behavior attests to dissonance with protocols, averse to standards, conventionalities – ignoring compliance with etiquettes that enable social acceptance; however, those close to her never spared efforts to serve her (Clarice Lispector fluctuates in her mood and makes phone calls at inappropriate times – sometimes she closes herself off from the world, sometimes she demands the immediate presence of the few people she entrusts with her proximity –, and this at any time of day). She orders them to drive her to a restaurant; when not, without the slightest patience, she imposes urgency on returning to the apartment.

There are occurrences that allow analogy with a certain everyday life stamped in the discovery of the world (1984), but from another point of view, obviously. That is, with a change of narrator; that is: narrators (accomplices) of Clarice Lispector's sensitivity, preferences and idiosyncrasies (visits and outings on weekends, going to the theater, lightning reception with sinister coloring in the home; accepted for participation, followed by a trip with a very strange stay , at a conference in Latin America; references to maids, Coca-Cola, cigarettes and work orders;

It tells about meetings in which circles of artists and writers are formed; tells about a range sui generis of things, however, with very rare exception, the author does not tell us about her intricate, tense and secret creation process. Without a doubt, this subject is almost silenced.

In the midst of this context (in fact, considerably familiar to the reader of Clarice Lispector) and the shared life experiences, the fluid rhetoric that constitutes the material of this collection gains importance, thanks to which indelible fragments are reintegrated, preventing them from slipping into oblivion.

They are mostly unpublished. A parenthesis: alongside these texts that are becoming public for the first time, there are the texts that over time the writer's critical tradition brought to the fore - however, in this volume, they reappear in full and, better, in the first person of the speech, strayed (as we somehow knew them) of essayistic productions that present them under the pretext of quotation or allusion.

When checking out such and such a place status To these records, Nádia Battella Gotlib shares with us an effort undertaken over four decades, because exactly in 1983 she taught her first subject on Clarice Lispector as a professor in the Postgraduate Program in Brazilian Literature at the Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences of the University of Sao Paulo. Reconciling the teaching exercise with research in different sources regarding the author of Close to the wild heart (1943), a robust, intelligently designed project was born, involving and welcoming young researchers who watched all this with enthusiasm and admiration.

The result culminated in reference books that my generation pored over, as my students did and future generations will pore over: Clarice, a life that is told (Ática, 1995; Edusp, 2009 [7.ed. 2013]) and Clarice photobiography (Edusp; Official Press, 2008 [3.ed. 2014]).

Of a biographical, exegetical and iconographic nature, the research required something beyond the interpretative acumen of the aesthetic construct, the survey and analysis of documents – the scholar claimed direct contact with personalities whose eyes caught sight of Clarice Lispector; and they allowed their speeches – whether in a statement structure or in an interview structure – to be transcribed. But not only that: there were those who gave Nádia Battella Gotlib a photograph, a note, a note, which materialize as complementary pieces, aiming at reading the person Ukrainian and Jewish woman who wrote stories in Portuguese, worried and impacted everyone who crossed her path in Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Naples, Bern, Washington and Italian lands and other territories where she passed.

In short, an alphabet from A to W – that is, from Ana Maria Machado to Walmir Ayala – animates this work, reserving for us translating incidents from the underground of the author who inscribed herself with a porous pen on the edge of the abyss and redemption.

*Ricardo Iannace He is a professor of communication and semiotics at the Faculty of Technology of the State of São Paulo and of the Postgraduate Program in Comparative Studies of Portuguese Language Literatures at FFLCH-USP. Author, among other books, of Portraits in Clarice Lispector: literature, painting and photography (Ed. UFMG).

The launch in São Paulo is today, April 22nd, starting at 19 pm, with a chat between the author and Manuel da Costa Pinto, at the Travessa-Pinheiros bookstore (Rua dos Pinheiros, 513).


Nádia Battella Gotlib (org.). Clarice in the memory of others. Belo Horizonte, Autêntica, 2024, 504 pages. []

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