Thursday, December 9, 2010

Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920)

From the review:

“What the legendary soccer player Pelé is to sport in Brazil, the author ‘Clarice’ is to that country's literary culture. Stunningly brilliant, beautiful and enigmatic, the daughter of Russian-Jewish émigrés achieved instant celebrity at the age of 23 with the publication of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart. From that auspicious beginning in 1943, she emerged during the post-war decades as one of Latin America's greatest modernist writers and ambassadors of Brazilian culture and avant-garde thought.”

 Clarice Lispector, like many writers with a mingled heritage, wrote little directly about her background; although she attended a Yiddish-speaking school, she became highly acculturated into Brazilian life, and she married a Brazilian diplomat and also lived abroad. She's claimed as the voice of Brazilians, feminists, and so on. I suspect that those who see Jewishness in her work are associating Jewishness with Otherness and a sense of alienation. That happens a lot.

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