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

Monday, April 13, 2015

"Letters to Hermengardo" by Clarice Lispector (1941)

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

"This preamble also serves as an apology. It is because I realize, even through the sweetest words that the miracle of your breathing inspires in me, my destiny is to throw stones. Never get angry with me for that. Some are born to cast stones. And after all, (here is where my task begins) why would it be wrong to cast stones, unless because they will hit things that belong to you or to those who know how to laugh and adore and eat? Once this point has been clarified and you allow me to throw stones, I shall speak to you of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony."

As I read and post on the short stories of Clarice Lispector I feel a bit bad as right now only those who can read Portugese or have an advance review copy of her collected stories can read her them.  I hope to read and post individually on each of her 86 stories prior to the scheduled August 2015 publication date.  

In "Letters to Hermengardo" the very high intelligence of the woman narrator 
 begins to show itself, not hiding in the shadows.  She wrote this story in an era when high intelligence was not a greatly characteristic of women.  Lispector knows high intelligence can harm those who have it in ways most cannot fathom.  In this story I think we see a woman trying to unravel her thoughts, find her anchor.  In just a few pages Lispector takes us deeply into the narrator's very complex psyche.  

I will note I am guessing  based on a Google search that this story was first published in 1941, when the author was 21.  I really wish this collection included date and place of first publication information.  

Mel u

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