Category Archives: clarice lispector

Clarice Lispector Coverage–Where’s the Beef?

I understand that Lorrie Moore's article in the NY Review is ostensibly covering a biography, but nonetheless I see six novels by Lispector below the title and two serious works of criticism about Lispector below those, and thus I develop certain expectations. That is, expectations for some textual and/or aesthetic analysis of Lispector's novels. (This is the New York Review, after all.) But that is in very short supply in this article.

I have to say, I'm a little disappointed. And I don't mean this to be just a criticism of Moore. For some reason people have actually been talking about Clarice Lispector because of this biography. It seems that reviewers have gone out of their way to enthuse about great she is, and how under-appreciated she is in the U.S. That's nice and all, but damned if anyone has shown very much interest in engaging her books in these reviews. And thus I develop the sneaking suspicion that some of these people giving off the impression that they have read Lispector haven't. (Shocking, I know)

Completely by coincidence (I didn't know the biography was in the works when the essay was assigned) we've just published an essay on Lispector that does consider one of her works to a significant degree. So, if you find yourself in my position, give that a shot.

Dwight Garner on Clarice Lispector

If I was Benjamin Moser, I’d kinda be feeling all like “I wrote a biography of Clarice Lispector and the Times gave it to Dwight Garner?”

New Lispector Bio

Clarice-lispector Chad mentions a new biography of Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector.

One of the fall books that I’m really looking forward to is Benjamin Moser’s biography of Clarice Lispector entitled Why This World, which, according to the back jacket, is “based on previously unknown manuscripts, numerous interviews, and years of research on three continents.”

I received a copy of this one last week and it looks pretty good.

I partially wanted to mention this bio just to have an excuse to announce that we'll be running an essay on Lispector in the fall issue of The Quarterly Conversation. The lack of attention Lispector has received in the U.S. mass media over the years is stunning. For a writer of her status, the amount of critical, non-academic writing available is really minuscule. So, we're happy to be able to discuss some of her work in-depth.

And if you haven't had the pleasure, I urge you to give her a shot. Lispector's writing is very hard to duplicate, and I haven't seen anyone who can do quite what she did. It's somewhat in the vein of the Sebaldian, autobiographical novel, although the voice is nothing like Sebald at all and Lispector plays very heavily on the fliudity of identity (whereas in Sebald identity tends to be static, since so much occurs in memory).


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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