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After Clarice: Lispector’s Legacy

Our conference “After Clarice: Lispector’s Legacy” not only commemorated 40 years since the death of the celebrated Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, but also aimed to analyse her legacy and influence as it has developed in the decades since. One of our objectives was to challenge and move beyond the tendency to read her global status within the context of Anglophone translation and rewriting. We discussed the ways her works have evolved through translation into other languages, genres, media and cultures, including the presence of her image and words on the internet.

Lispector is one of the most widely translated and re-translated Portuguese-language writers of the twentieth century. Internationally acclaimed writers, from Hélène Cixous to Ali Smith and Colm Tóibín, have acknowledged the transformative influence of her writing on their own work. A recent issue of the U.S. journal The Scofield was dedicated entirely to translations and rewritings of Lispector, not to mention art and photography inspired by her oeuvre. “After Clarice” addressed the place and status of Lispector in twentieth/twenty-first century configurations of world literature by bringing together a variety of “readers” of her work: twenty-two academics, five translators (Katrina Dodson and Magdalena Edwards [U.S. English], Xuefei Min [Mandarin], Yael Segalovitz [Hebrew] and Paloma Vidal [Latin American Spanish]), two novelists (Hélia Correia [Portugal] and Martin MacInnes [UK]) and a performance artist (Magdalena Edwards). The delegates ranged from established scholars to postgraduates who travelled from across the globe to participate in the conference.

The conference papers were presented in seven panels: The Multiplicity of Genre, Jewish Lispector, Lispector and Music, Global Lispector, Translating Lispector, Objects and Images, and Posthuman Bodies and Texts. A Translation Roundtable followed the translation panel, featuring a multilingual reading of her short story ‘A Quinta História’ (The Fifth Story) in Mandarin, Hebrew, Spanish and English. On the evening of the first day, the internationally-recognized Lispector scholar Marta Peixoto (New York University) delivered a keynote lecture on Lispector’s legacy and the possibilities afforded by reading her work through affect theory. Following the keynote, Edwards explored the relation between author and translator in her multimedia performance entitled “The Body in Clarice Lispector’s The Chandelier: A Dramatic Conversation between The Protagonist, the Author, and the Translator.” Recordings of Peixoto’s keynote, Edwards’s performance, and the translation panel and round table session will be made available online in due course (afterclarice.wordpress.com).

The conference included an exhibition of Lispector’s work, including texts in translation, special journal issues dedicated to the author, catalogues of exhibitions, first editions and memorabilia. The poster and programme featured collages designed by Lispector’s grand-daughter, graphic artist Mariana Valente. An edited volume that will include the conference proceedings, as well as additional contributions, is currently in preparation.

Of course, such an undertaking would not have been possible without the generosity of our sponsors. We are grateful to the TORCH 'Humanities & Identities' Conference and Workshop Fund for its support of our conference.