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Seven decades after its original publication, Clarice Lispector’s third novel—the story of a girl and the city her gaze reveals—is in English at last

Seven decades after its original publication, Clarice Lispector’s third novel—the story of a girl and the city her gaze reveals—is in English at last. Lucrécia Neves is ready to marry. Her suitors—soldierly Felipe, pensive Perseu, dependable Mateus—are attracted to her tawdry not-quite-beauty, which is of a piece with Sao Geraldo, the rough-and-ready township she inhabits. Civilization is on its way to this place, where wild horses still roam. As Lucrécia is tamed by marriage, Sao Geraldo gradually expels its horses; and as the town strives for the highest attainment it can conceive—a viaduct—it takes on the progressively more metropolitan manners that Lucrécia, with her vulgar ambitions, desires too. Yet it is precisely through this woman’s superficiality—her identification with the porcelain knickknacks in her mother’s parlor—that Clarice Lispector creates a profound and enigmatic meditation on “the mystery of the thing.” Written in Europe shortly after Clarice Lispector’s own marriage, The Besieged City is a proving ground for the intricate language and the radical ideas that characterize one of her century’s greatest writers—and an ironic ode to the magnetism of the material.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780811226714
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 205,985
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Clarice Lispector(1920–1977), the greatest Brazilian writer of the twentieth century, has been called “astounding” (Rachel Kushner), “a penetrating genius”
(Donna Seaman, Booklist), and “a truly remarkable writer” (Jonathan Franzen). “Her images dazzle even when her meaning is most obscure,” noted the Times Literary
Supplement, “and when she is writing of what she despises, she is lucidity itself.”

Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics' Circle award. At New Directions, he edits the new translation of Clarice Lispector's work, of which The Besieged City is the eighth volume. For promoting her work around the world, the Brazilian government awarded him the first State Prize in Cultural Diplomacy. A former books columnist at Harper’s Magazine and The New York Times Book Review, his latest book, Sontag: Her Life and Work, is published by Ecco Press.

Johnny Lorenz, son of Brazilian immigrants to the United States,
was born in 1972. He received his doctorate in English from the
University of Texas at Austin in 2000, and he is an associate professor at
Montclair State University. In 2013, he was a finalist for Best Translated Book for his translation ofA Breath of Lifeby
Clarice Lispector (New Directions). His book of original poems, Education by
Windows, was published in 2018 by Poets & Traitors Press; it includes his translations of the poet Mario Quintana, for which he received a Fulbright grant. He has published articles on
Brazilian literature in journals such asLuso-Brazilian ReviewandModern Fiction Studies. He is also the translator of Lispector's The Besieged City (New Directions).

Table of Contents

Obyezloshadenie Benjamin Moser vii

The Besieged City

1 The Hill in the Pasture 3

2 The Citizen 24

3 The Hunt 28

4 The Public Statue 58

5 In the Garden 81

6 Sketch of the City 93

7 The Alliance with the Outsider 105

8 The Betrayal 117

9 The Exposed Treasure 121

10 The Corn in the Field 149

11 The First Deserters 174

End of the Construction: The Viaduct 192

Appendix: A Response to a Response 203

Acknowledgments 213

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