LITERATURE: Rediscovering Clarice Through Translation


Katrina Dodson provides insight into her experience translating Clarice Lispector's "Short Stories," and her perspective on "Lispectormania."

Translation is a way of deep reading, another point of entry after you’ve read a text more times that you can count. The first time I tried to translate the work of the beloved Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector was as a new graduate student in UC Berkeley’s Department of Comparative Literature. I wanted to understand one of her most puzzling stories, “O ovo e a galinha” (The Egg and the Chicken). The opening is simple enough — a woman looks at an egg on the kitchen table: “In the morning in the kitchen upon the table I see the egg. I look at the egg with a single gaze.” Yet as with most of Lispector’s writing, what begins as a concrete, objective thing slips from your grasp.

Katrina Dodson
Publication date: 
January 10, 2017
Publication type: 
Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies Article