Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction and Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel and post Colonial Asian Fiction, Yiddish Literature, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality historical novels are some of my Literary Interests

Saturday, April 18, 2015

"Day Dreams and the Drunkenness of a Young Lady" by Clarice Lispector(1955?)

The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lipsector, to be published August, 2015, translated by Katrina Dodson, edited and introduced by Benjamin Moser)

"Day Dreams and the Drunkenness of a Young Lady" is replete with levels of irony and perceptivity.  In time I think perhaps once her full set of short stories is published and digested those into what I guess is called "women studies" will find them a very rich fascinating resource.  In this story, narrated by a somewhat intoxicated woman I see, as I have in her prior stories, a woman looking at herself looking at her self looking at herself.  She also fixates on how she thinks others look at her.  She is competive in comparing her looks to other women, denigrating a woman for wearing a hat.  She is comfortably upper middle class, married with children and servants. She, during a business dinner with her husband and a wealthy male client, during which she is a bit drunk, she imagines the man is checking out her body.  Somehow it is, in her mind, acceptable for a married woman out with her husband to be a bit drunk, but she sees single upper class women out alone as obviously on the make.  Lispector makes us feel Braźil in the rhythm of her style.

There is a lot to ponder in thus story on narrative method.  I think it would make for good class room discussion.

Clarice Lispector (1920–1977) was Brazilian journalist, translator and author of fiction. Born in Western Ukraine into a Jewish family who suffered greatly during the pogroms of the Russian Civil War, she was still an infant when her family fled the disastrous post-World War I situation for Rio de Janiero. At twenty-three, she became famous for her novel, Near to the Wild Heart, and married a Brazilian diplomat. She spent much of the forties and fifties in Europe and the United States, helping soldiers in a military hospital in Naples during World War II and writing, before leaving her husband and returning to Rio in 1959. Back home, she completed several novels including The Passion According to G.H. and The Hour of the Star before her death in 1977 from ovarian cancer.  - from New Directions Publishing web

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