Clarice Lispector

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Clarice Lispector (December 10, 1920December 9, 1977) was a Brazilian writer. Acclaimed internationally for her innovative novels and short stories, she was also a journalist and a translator. A legendary figure in Brazil, renowned for her uncommon and unique writing style, her great personal beauty —— the American translator Gregory Rabassa recalled being "flabbergasted to meet that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf," —— and her eccentric personality.


  • Perhaps I have not been made for the pure, expansive waters, but for those which are small and readily accesible. And perhaps my craving for another source, which gives me the expression of someone in search of food, perhaps this craving is a whim - and nothing more. Yet surely those rare moments of self-confidence, of blind existence, of happiness as intense and serene as an organ playing - surely those moments prove that I am capable of fulfilling my quest and that this longing which consumes my whole being is not merely some whim? Moreover, that whim is the truth!
  • At first she dreamed of sheep, of going to school, of cats drinking milk. Little by little she dreamed of blue sheep, of going to school in the middle of the woods, of cats drinking milk from golden saucers. And her dreams became increasingly dense and acquired colours that were difficult to dilute into words.
  • Whether she won or lost, she would continue to wrestle with life. It would not be with her own life alone but with all of life. Something had finally been released within her. And there it was, the sea.
    • An Apprenticeship, or The Book of Delights
  • There it is, the sea, the most incomprehensible of non-human existences.
    • An Apprenticeship, or The Book of Delights
  • My life, the most truthful one, is unrecognizable, extremely interior, and there is no single word that gives it meaning.
  • Who hasn't asked oneself, am I a monster or is this what it means to be human?
  • Reality prior to my language exists as an unthinkable thought. . . . life precedes love, bodily matter precedes the body, and one day in its turn language shall have preceded possession of silence.

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