100 Years of Clarice Lispector’s Magic

© Clarice Lispector’s notebooks

2020 was certainly an eventful year. A year marked by a global pandemic, explosions, protests and uprisings, more explosions, and several other unprecedented events that any other year may have been the sole news headline, but not in 2020. Nevertheless, one particularly noteworthy event still managed to slip through the cracks.

In 1920, in the city of Podolia in Western Ukraine, a star was born. Her Jewish family had decided to escape the horrific circumstances brought on by World War I by moving overseas to South America, specifically to Brazil. Chaya Pinkhasivna Lispector was only an infant when her name was changed to Clarice. One hundred years later, her new name would be celebrated as one of the most important Brazilian authors in history.

Clarice Lispector © Claudia Andujar

Clarice Lispector was an author and translator who wrote about personal experience. Her magical, prosaic walks through tales influenced by Woolf’s abstract stretches of time and Hesse’s lyrical, philosophical quests evoke the rich experience of being a woman. Lispector’s unique way of writing from the gut with a passionate and intuitive voice matched her poised and powerful image. She influenced many different artists who were inspired by her unapologetic rhetoric on what it feels like to be a woman — or just simply to be. The list is extensive, and this proposition is a simple one. As a tribute to Lispector’s ever-present magic 100 years after her birth, and 43 after her death, the exhibition would display a collection of pieces influenced and inspired by the Brazilian novelist, creating a poetic and rich homage.

The exhibition could explore the many facets of her life.

  • Her literary life — i.e. her books, her entourage, and the publishing world — would be shown through a selection of manuscripts and letters, as well as excerpts from different texts displayed on the walls. The exhibit would highlight the different genres she explored, including children’s literature, short-stories, novels, and short non-fiction.
  • Her reception in France, the UK, and the U.S., depending on the location of the exhibition

  • Her translations, her relationship with her translators, and her translated works

  • The film adaptations of her texts

  • Her influence on other artists

  • Her unique sense of fashion

  • Her status as cultural icon

I would display different objects and artefacts alongside her portraits to emphasise the significance of her life and literary career which remain rather unknown in France.

Amanda Cunha Batista
Master 2 MC2L, Université Paris 8
Département d’Études des Pays Anglophones