O Here Here: Clarice Lispector put her eyes on James Joyce, by Dirce Waltrick do Amarante
Atualizado: Jan 21
O Here Here: Clarice Lispector put her eyes on James Joyce
Dirce Waltrick do Amarante
Writing by Ear: Clarice Lispector and the aural novel (University of Toronto Press, 2018), written by the lecturer of Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Cultures at Princeton University Marília Librandi, could be seen as a relevant work on James Joyce. The book highlights “the notion of listening in writing” in the work of the Brazilian writer (born in Ukraine) Clarice Lispector (1920 - 1977), however, as stated by Librandi: “this is not only a critical reading of Lispector's work: my aim is rather to show readers how to use: Lispector as a theoretical source capable of helping one to rethink fiction in general as an aural practice ”, since, for the Brazilian professor, the writer was“ the main theorist of what she refers to ' writing by ear '”.
James Joyce may have been a starting point for Clarician fictional aesthetics. The epigraph of Lispector's first book, Near to the Wild Heart (1943), is a phrase from The Portrait of a Young Man, by the Irish writer: “He was alone. He was unheeded, happy, and near to the wild heart of life”.
The epigraph unites Lispector's Bildungsroman to Joyce's, creates a bond between them, which however goes beyond these two works. Lispector seems to have been attracted also by the sonority of the Irish writer's work, and not by chance: like Joyce, Clarice lived between different languages (Russian, Yiddish, which her parents spoke at home, Portuguese, among other languages , since she lived outside Brazil for a while) and different accents (she lived in the Northeast of Brazil, in the city of Recife, and later in the Southeast, in Rio de Janeiro). So, Joyce and Lispector have their ears open for other kinds of speaking. From that, a work written in a singular language arises. Therefore, it would be up to James Joyce what Librandi says about Clarice Lispector's writing: “This particular 'mix of languages' makes Lispector an exemplary case of someone who writes language as a foreigner, making her specially responsive to hearing nuances, timbres, and intonations (material that precedes semantic comprehension)”.
How not to remember a fragment of Finnegans Wake?
So This Is Dyoublong?
Hush! Caution! Echoland!
The orality strength of Joyce's fiction gains maximum power in Finnegans Wake. Once, when asked about how to read his hermetic last novel, Joyce said: “It’s all so simple. If anyone doesn’t understand a passage, all he needs to do is read it aloud […] Hearing it out loud sheds different light on it ”.
Regarding the relevance of the ear / listening in Lispector's work, which also fits to think Finnegans Wake, Librandi adds that: “it is important to state that a focus on listening does not mean any backgrounding of the sense of vision”.
In Wake, Joyce gives some clues that the eyes have to be aware, because at least the English language, as in the sentence quoted above, "might be seen".
On the second page of Finnegans Wake, it reads: “What true feeling for their’s hayair with what strawng voice of false jiccup! O here here how hoth sprowled met the duskt the father of fornicationists”. I highlight in this fragment backwards, the words "here here": the eyes see the adverb of place "here", the ear also captures the verb "hear". Vision and hearing go hand in hand in this and other excerpts from the book.
In the first part of the sentence above, the highlight goes to “what strawng voice of false jiccup!”. The ear also confuses, Librandi quotes in his book a phrase from another Brazilian writer, Oswald de Andrade, who said: "'A gente escreve o que ouve, nunca o que houve' ('We write what we hear never what was here')”. And we hear what goes on by word of mouth, the story is a great gossip, as Joyce emphasizes in Finnegans Wake.
Sylvia Beach said that “Joyce compared history to ‘that parlour game where someone whispers something to the person next to him, who repeats it not very distinctly to the next person, and so on until, by the time the last person hears it, it comes out completely transformed”.
In fact, the story does not have a single version: that narrated by the people has as much value as the one written by a researcher. Clarice Lispector seems to know that, so that she said, as Librandi recalls, “I live bye ear. I live by having heard [others] speak”.
Like Joyce that in Finnegasn Wake stated that there was “one thousand and one stories all told, of the same”, “Lispector would write in The Hour of the Star”, as we read in Librandi's book, “It's going to be hard to write this story… The facts are sonorous but between the fact there's a whispering. It’s the whispering that astounds me”.
Living by ear is a synthesis of a literary and political thought as well that believes the speech of the people is much more important than the facts that history insists on gathering, categorizing and calling true.
It is also worth remembering, as underlined by Librandi that “Writing bye ear can takes different forms in each of the writes […], but it has a unique common trace in all of them: it implies the notion that these authors write at the orillas (ie, in colonial and postcolonial settings) of Europe tradition […] ”. In the case of Joyce, he writes at the orillas of British Empire.
Finally, one cannot forget, says Librandi, that “Writing by ear also requires readers who are able to 'hear' a written text, in order to capture precisely that which passes between the lines, like the form and design of an intonation , a tone or a timbre ”.