On Clarice Lispector

The kind folk at The New Inquiry have published a longish essay of mine on Clarice Lispector’s mystical novel The Passion According to G.H. Originally, I was just going to write a review — which became then an essay — and then eventually the two kind of merged. I think it turned out okay. I very highly recommend most regular readers here give Lispector a go. The New Directions translations are a joy.

3 thoughts on “On Clarice Lispector

  1. Great essay! i have the Sousa translation and will now get the Novey. I felt that in your examples, the Sousa actually stood up very well and was better English; to my mind it might actually convey more than the Novey, but the estrangement from standard language in the Novey would, from your examples, offer a completely different reading.

  2. Yeah. Sousa pursues precision, & I am in no way questioning his success at achieving it. Which is to say, his choices may be better “conveyances.” But even he admits in his Introduction that this was done by way of sacrificing the poetic strangeness of the language. I’m intrigued by Novey’s pursuit of this strangeness over strict “conveyance.”

  3. Agreed. And that was why your essay was so good and so intriguing. I really liked your point that “exploring this inadequacy is itself the point of the original text.” But of course I’m going to have to reserve judgment on the success of the “strangeness” (for me) until I read the Novey translation.

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