Lispector, Clarice

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Lispector, Clarice

Clarice Lispector (klâr´Ĭs lēspĕk´tər), 1925–77, Brazilian author, b. Ukraine as Chaya Pinkhasovna Lispector. She immigrated to Brazil as an infant when her Jewish family fled the Russian pogroms. An editor, translator, newspaper columnist, and law student as well as a fiction writer, Lispector was married to a diplomat and traveled widely; she was renowned for her exotic beauty as well as for her literary talents. In 1959 she divorced and returned to Brazil. Lispector burst on the Brazilian literary scene in 1943 with the publication of her first novel, the semiautobiographical Near to the Wild Heart (tr. 1990). Her avant-garde modernist fiction—elusive, mysterious, and relatively plotless with a collagelike and elliptical stream-of-consciousness style—has been extremely influential in Brazil, where she is both popular and highly regarded critically, and in Europe. In North America, however, she was little known until the early 21st cent. Many of her nine novels, e.g., The Apple in the Dark (1961, tr. 1967), The Passion According to G. H. (1964, tr. 1988), The Hour of the Star (1977, tr. 1986), and nine short-story collections, e.g., Family Ties (1960, tr. 1972) and Soulstorm (tr. 1989), focus on human isolation, alienation, and moral uncertainty, and particularly on the unhappiness of women. Her complete stories were published in English translation in 2015. She also wrote four children's books.

See her newspaper columns in Selected Crónicas (tr. 1996); biography by B. Moser (2009); D. E. Marting, ed., Clarice Lispector: A Bio-Bibliography (1993); studies by E. E. Fitz (1985 and 2001), H. Cixous (tr. 1990), M. Peixoto (1994), M. J. S. Barbosa (1997), and C. P. Alonso and C. Williams, ed. (2002).

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