Eternity/Succession

26 01 2010

“Eternity was not that infinitely great quantity that exhausted itself; eternity was succession.
Then Joana suddenly understood that the greatest beauty was to be found in succession, that movement explained form—there was something so elevated and pure when one cried out: movement explains form!—and in succession one also discovered sorrow, because the body was much slower than the movement of uninterrupted continuity. Imagination captured and possessed the future of the present, while the body remained at the beginning of the road, living in another rhythm, blind to the experience of the spirit… Through these perceptions—by means of them, Joana made something exist—she connected with a happiness that was self-sufficient.”
—Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart

I read Clarice’s first novel, Near to the Wild Heart, written at age 23, late last year and found it to be slow but beautiful, filled with wonderful introspection like the above. I will definitely need to read more from her; I’m especially interested in reading The Hour of the Star. Clarice was once described, quite aptly, by Gregory Rabassa, the great translator of Julio Cortazar and others, as “that rare woman who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf.”

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