Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Saturday, March 28, 2015

"Fever Dreams" by Clarice Lispector (1941, from The Complete Short Stories of Clarice Lispector, translated by Katrina Dodson, forthcoming August 2015)

"Lavender colors hover in space like butterflies. Slender flutes extend toward the heavens and fragile melodies burst in the air like bubbles. The rosy shapes keep sprouting from the wounded earth. All of a sudden, thundering anew. Is the Earth bearing children? The shapes dissolve in midair, scared away. Corollas wilt and colors darken. And the Earth, arms contracted in pain, splits open into fresh black fissures. A strong smell of wounded earth wafts in dense plumes of smoke. A century of Silence" from "Fever Dreams" by Clarice Lispector 

"Fever Dreams" by Clarice Lispector is a very powerful evocation of a fever driven  dream.  The dreamer is a mature man who has left his family home in northern Brazil to go to the south to write, he lived in a rooming house.  In Brazilian culture the further south you go, the deeper into the tropics, tropics of the mind not just on a map.  The dream sequence is beautifully done, we see the man perhaps conflating sexual images of a "dark" girl who took care of him with the earth herself giving birth to amazing entities. We are not sure if the man had sex with her or not, nor is he. I have not read enough Lispector yet to comment much on this but to Brazilian upper class men, as the dreamer is, darker women are seen as somehow more appropriate and willing  targets for sexual urges than lighter skinned women.   This springs back, in part, to Brazill's days as a slave culture in which the only women available to Europeans were basically slaves. 

Look for many more posts on Clarice Lispector. 

(My publication date of 1941 is a guess, if you know the date, please let me know.

From New Directions Webpage

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.

Mel u

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