- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (August 4, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 019538556X
- ISBN-13: 978-0195385564
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 1.5 x 6.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 19 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,202,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector 1st Edition
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Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: What the legendary soccer player Pelé is to sport in Brazil, the author "Clarice" is to that country's literary culture. Stunningly brilliant, beautiful and enigmatic, the daughter of Russian-Jewish émigrés achieved instant celebrity at the age of 23 with the publication of her debut novel Near to the Wild Heart. From that auspicious beginning in 1943, she emerged during the post-war decades as one of Latin America's greatest modernist writers and ambassadors of Brazilian culture and avant-garde thought. But, with only a few of her works available in translation, Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) has remained unknown to most English readers until now. Benjamin Moser's Why This World makes up for this long drought by offering a detailed and dramatic biography of Lispector's incredible life and times. Based on new interviews with family and friends, recovered manuscripts, and other fresh sources, Moser crafts a moving and tangible portrait of the famously inscrutable Clarice. --Lauren Nemroff
That rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf, Clarice Lispector is one of the most popular but least understood of Latin American writers. Now, after years of research on three continents, drawing on previously unknown manuscripts and dozens of interviews, Benjamin Moser demonstrates how Lispector's art was directly connected to her turbulent life. Born amidst the horrors of post-World War I Ukraine, Clarice's beauty, genius, and eccentricity intrigued Brazil virtually from her adolescence. Why This World tells how this precocious girl, through long exile abroad and difficult personal struggles, matured into a great writer, and asserts, for the first time, the deep roots in the Jewish mystical tradition that make her both the heir to Kafka and the unlikely author of "perhaps the greatest spiritual autobiography of the twentieth century." From Ukraine to Recife, from Naples and Berne to Washington and Rio de Janeiro, Why This World shows how Clarice Lispector transformed one woman's struggles into a universally resonant art. --Lauren Nemroff
Take a Look at Photographs of Clarice LispectorThese portraits from Why This World give readers an intimate look into the public and private life of a writer who was at once famous and enigmatic. (Click on any image to enlarge)
An early photograph
Following her marriage to a diplomat,
Lispector attends an embassy reception
in Washington, DC (1953)
On the beach in Rio de Janeiro
with her sons (1959)
At home in Brazil
From Publishers Weekly
This pioneering biography of Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector (1920–1977)—a genius of character as much as a literary magician—captures the luminescent and singular author for an English-speaking audience that may not be familiar with her. She was born Chaya Pinkhasovna in 1921; soon after, her family left pogrom-torn Ukraine, arriving in Brazil in 1922. She became a law student seeking justice for prisoners and then a journalist, and in 1943, around the time of her marriage to a career diplomat, Lispector published her first book, the critically esteemed Near to the Wild Heart. The life of the roving diplomatic wife took its toll on the visionary and strikingly beautiful Lispector, who also had a longtime love for the homosexual poet Lúcio Cardoso among others. One of her sons was diagnosed as schizophrenic, which further fostered Lispector's sense of isolation. Among her champions was Elizabeth Bishop, but Lispector remains under the Anglo-American literary radar. This well-researched biography by Moser, New Books columnist for Harper's, should send readers in search of this indescribable author, whose work in many ways is closer to cabalistic writing than to more contemporary modernists like Woolf, Kafka or Joyce. 37 b&w photos. (Aug.)
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Top customer reviews
"Art is not purity: it is purification. Art is not liberty: it is liberation."
"I want in music and what I write to you and in what I paint, I want geometric streaks that cross in the air and form a disharmony that I understand. Pure 'it'."
"What I write is all climax? My days are all climax: I live on the edge."
I get chills reading her work. She is unparalleled! HUGE LOVE!! Thank you, Benjamin Moser, for allowing me to read this brilliant being! You have made my life much richer because of your translations! DEEP LOVE!
Most recent customer reviews
It was just a matter of curiosity and willing to own and read the original book,...Read more
Easy and fun to read.