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Reading with Clarice Lispector

Reading with Clarice Lispector

Hélène Cixous
Edited, translated, and introduced by Verena Andermatt Conley
Volume: 73
Copyright Date: 1990
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 192
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  • Book Info
    Reading with Clarice Lispector
    Book Description:

    The foremost French feminist literary critic pays homage to the premiere Latin American woman prose writer of this century.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8330-7
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vi-vi)
    Verena Andermatt Conley
  4. Introduction
    (pp. vii-2)
    Verena Andermatt Conley

    The pages that follow have been excerpted from Hélène Cixous’s ongoing meditations between 1980 and 1985 on problems of reading, writing, difference, and related themes, including exchange and the gift, love and passion, poverty and riches. The texts gathered are all readings of Clarice Lispector or, rather, readings by Cixous with Lispector in the context of seminars given at the Université de Paris VIII—Vincennes at Saint Denis and at the Collège International de Philosophic. This in part dictates the format of the texts and an ordering reflective of Cixous’s preoccupations rather than one that would follow Lispector’s chronology as...

  5. Chapter 1 “Sunday, before falling asleep”: A Primal Scene
    (pp. 3-10)

    When we read a text, we are either read by the text or we are in the text. Either we tame a text, we ride on it, we roll over it, or we are swallowed up by it, as by a whale. There are thousands of possible relations to a text, and if we are in a nondefensive, nonresisting relationship, we are carried off by the text. This is mainly the way it goes. But then, in order to read, we need to get out of the text. We have to shuttle back and forth incessantly. We have to try...

  6. Chapter 2 Agua viva: How to Follow a Trinket of Water
    (pp. 11-59)

    Agua vivais a text that can produce resistance and anguish in the reader because it is governed by a different order.’ One could say that from the point of view of a classical order, it is completely disorganized. But as poets know and keep repeating, the law holds only through its name and by its name.

    Let us attempt an overview ofAgua viva, alighting here and there in the text, at various points. Others could have been chosen, but I prefer the following, which are like answers to the problem of the law, the word, writing, and the...

  7. Chapter 3 The Apple in the Dark: The Temptation of Understanding
    (pp. 60-97)

    The Apple in the Dark¹ is the lengthy story of a man who flees civilization, thinking that he has murdered his wife, and of his encounter with two women on an isolated farm in the Brazilian countryside. It can be read around questions of sexual difference and of different libidinal economies. The hero of the novel is called Martim. Martim is tuned into a mode of continuity-discontinuity with two women, Ermelinda and Vitória. In the last and most important part of the book, everything takes place between Martim and Vitória. In appearance, Martim is a man of failure and Vitória...

  8. Chapter 4 “The Egg and the Chicken”: Love Is Not Having
    (pp. 98-122)

    Chickens play an important role in many literary works. In Joyce, for example, the bizarre author ofFinnegans Wakeis an egg that has been laid by a cackling chicken walking along the text. It is an adoptive chicken, F.W., and is presented among other things like a gigantic letter. The letter plays on the signifier “litter,” as both litter and waste. Joyce enjoys putting into the text a chicken that explores the litter. It discovers an immense letter, that of F.W. The question of the chicken and the egg is everywhere, since the chicken in F.W. discovers in F.W.,...

  9. Chapter 5 “Felicidade clandestina”: The Promise of Having What One Will Have
    (pp. 123-142)

    In order to make a sketch of the landscape in which we are roaming about, I surround myself with elements from other countrysides. I will take a little text by Freud entitled “A Disturbance of Memory on the Acropolis: An Open Letter to Romain Holland on the Occasion of his Seventieth Birthday.”¹ We may wonder what the disturbance was all about. Freud narrates a series of memories that he examines with something that analytically goes very far, since it invokes a father-son relationship. It is upon the latter that psychoanalysis is founded, asThe Interpretation of Dreams, Freud’s first book...

  10. Chapter 6 The Hour of the Star: How Does One Desire Wealth or Poverty?
    (pp. 143-164)

    Clarice Lispector’s last text,The Hour of the Star, is similar to, yet very different from, her other texts.¹ In its density, it is the opposite ofThe Apple in the Dark. It is also a book on love. But whereasThe Apple in the Darkis a rich, almost abstruse book (though it may be about stripping away and beginning again) that examines the slightest movements of passion,The Hour of the Staris its opposite. Once more, we can take up the Kleistian metaphor and say that it is a passage through zero, to the infinite, a passage...

  11. Index
    (pp. 167-169)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 170-172)