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Brazil’s Malaise | Public Books
[via (the author):
https://twitter.com/_lucas_il/status/1163502471915941889

Still chewing over @magda8lena‘s essay about Ben Moser. In 2017, I reviewed a small book Moser wrote about Brazil. I noticed that his description of Brasília as a totalitarian nightmare bore a striking resemblance to the way Lispector describes it in her crônicas

I initially wrote “cribbed” to describe the relationship between the two texts, but after my editor flagged the word, I changed the word to “cites.” He does cite Lispector near the end of the essay - but only briefly, and without ref to the shared ideas about ruins and nightmares

Pains me to think how ready I was - in a piece of criticism, no less - to shy away from my initial instinct and give him the benefit of the doubt when the textual evidence was right there, in front of me.

Here’s that essay: https://publicbooks.org/brazils-malaise/ [image: "One can safely say that Moser’s thinking on Brasília is directly shaped by Lispector’s assessment of the capital city for a 1970 newspaper column. In “Creating Brasília,” Lispector reflects on the “great visual silence” of Costa and Niemeyer’s strange shapes. The city, in her eyes, began with “the starkest of ruins,” over which “the ivy had not yet grown.”2 Lispector’s Brasília lacks an entry point or an exit, and is utterly devoid of people. Moser cites Lispector’s cryptic reflections and adds to them his own more quotidian observations. Its main avenues, he notes, are impossible to cross by foot, and its buildings and homes are full of bored, wealthy Brazilians and diplomats who have already “seen it all” and can therefore tolerate life in a flattened, rigid place."]

An interesting wrinkle: in his translation, Giovanni Pontiero seems to have added a line (“The construction of Brasília: that of a totalitarian state”) that doesn’t exist in the original - and Moser’s essay is largely about how the monumentality of Brasília is totalitarian… [two images]

Anyway. If you haven’t yet, go read @magda8lena‘s essay: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/benjamin-moser-and-the-smallest-woman-in-the-world/
lucasibericolozada  brazil  brasil  brasilia  2017  brasília  benjaminmoser  claricelispector  cities  totalitarianism  2019  instinct  writing  howwewrite  editing  giovannipontiero 
august 2019 by robertogreco

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