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, September 26, 2015

"Profiles of Chosen Beings" by Clarice Lispector (1964)


"All this, paradoxically, increasingly gave the being the kind of profound joy that needs to be revealed, displayed, and communicated. In this communication the being was helped by his innate gift for liking. And this was something he hadn’t even gathered or chosen, it was a gift indeed. He liked the deep joy of others, through his innate gift he discovered the joy of others. Through his gift, he could also discover the solitude that other people had in relation to their own deepest joy. The being, also through his gift, knew how to play."  From "Profile of Chosen Beings"


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


With the publication of this collection, it is as if a star has exploded across the short story world.  Many will see the reading of her stories as among the greatest of their lifetime reading experiences.  Some will not feel her power.  Her stories have cast a spell on me, going beyond the mere reading of literary works.

I think soon her stories will be heavily analyzed by post-colonial scholars, feminist readers, South American studies, and those who follow the lead of Moser and see her as in the tradition of Jewish writers.  Historians of race and social class in Brazil will find her works a gold mind.  I also strongly urge the reading of Benjamin Moser's biography.  Her works will be studied as if they are texts in an ancient religion, ones for a dark time like those we may now be entering.  I know those who have not yet entered her world or even heard of her will find my words hyperbolic.  On the other side, there will be found those who will say I am holding back, not articulating her full power.  

My Prior Posts on Clarice Lispector 




"Profile of Chosen Beings" is "philosophical" short story, among other things.  The climate of opinion that made Existentialism an influential part of the culture after the war also influenced Clarice.  The story is partially a play on the notion that people create themselves through the chooses they make.  It I also can be seen with dealing with the religous notion of the chosen one.  Clarice repudiated all religions so it will take a lot of thought to unravel this.  Toward the end of the story she speaks of a statue so maybe it is also about Brazilian or other fascistic leaders who have chosen themselves to be the chosen one of history.  Is the chosen one  megalomaniac, is the concept of the one chosen by God being mocked?   There seems perhaps an underlying tone of mockery in the story.  I read it four times. 

Mel u

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