Category Archives: Lispector

No technique

Perhaps I could enhance this story if I were to introduce some difficult terms? But that is the problem: this story has no technique, even in matters of style. It has been written at random. Nothing would persuade me to contaminate with brilliant mendacious words a life as frugal as that of my typist. During the day, like everyone else, I make gestures that are unobserved even by me. One of my most unobserved gestures is this story, which comes out as it will, independent of me.

— Lispector, The Hour of the Star (tr. G. Pontiero)

Little to say

She could speak, of course, but had little to say. No sooner do I succeed in persuading her to speak than she slips through my fingers.
I get the impression that her life was one long meditation about nothingness.

— Lispector, The Hour of the Star (tr. G. Pontiero)

For only when I err do I get away from what I know and what I understand. If ‘truth’ were what I can understand, it would end up being but a small truth, my-sized. Truth must reside precisely in what I shall never understand.

— Clarice Lispector


It’s only when I say that everything is incomprehensible that I come as close as possible to understanding the only thing it is given to us to understand.

— Ionesco

(via here)

This will be my courage

I want to walk naked or in rags; I want to experience at least once the insipid flavour of the Host. To eat communion bread will be to taste the world’s indifference, and to immerse myself in nothingness. This will be my courage: to abandon comforting sentiments from the past.


But let us return to today. As is known, today is today. No one understands my meaning and I can obscurely hear mocking laughter with that rapid, edgy cackling of old men. I also hear measured footsteps on the road. I tremble with fear. Just as well that what I am about to write is already written deep inside me. I must reproduce myself with the delicacy of a white butterfly. This idea of the white butterfly stems from the feeling that, should the girl marry, she will marry looking as slender and ethereal as any virgin dressed in white. Perhaps she will not marry? To be frank, I am holding her destiny in my hands and yet am powerless to invent with any freedom: I follow a secret, fatal line. I am forced to seek a truth that transcends me. Why should I write about a young girl whose poverty is so evident? Perhaps because within her there is seclusion. Also because in her poverty of body and soul one touches sanctity and I long to feel the breath of life hereafter. In order to become greater than I am, for I am so little. I write because I have nothing better to do in this world: I am superfluous and last in the world of men. I write because I am desperate and weary. I can no longer bear the routine of my existence and, were it not for the constant novelty of writing, I should die symbolically each day. Yet I am prepared to leave quietly by the back door. I have experienced almost everything, even passion and despair. Now I only wish to possess what might have been but never was.

— Lispector, The Hour of the Star (tr. G. Pontiero)