Feminist Duration Reading Group: The Passion According to G.H. by Clarice Lispector
6 November 2018

Tuesday 6 Nov, 7 – 9pm
SPACE Mare Street
Free & open to all

The November meeting of the Feminist Duration Reading Group focuses on The Passion According to G.H. by Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector, in a session led by Roisin O’Sullivan.

Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) was a celebrated Brazilian writer whose work deals with ontological questioning and mystery. Breaking the boundaries of conventional writing and language, she seeks to open human experience and suffer its excesses and incomprehensibility.

“The world has no visible order and all I have is the order of my breath. I let myself happen.”

Avoiding all categorisation in the ways she uses words, Lispector creates imagery and forgoes the form and structure of traditional novels (in a similar way to that of Virgina Woolf). Despite her many female protagonists, Lispector did not align herself to the feminist movement or label; her mission was to articulate and give form to internal struggles lived unseen within people. Lispector fights within her writing to work beyond boundaries, categorisation and any sense of the binary, allowing what ‘is’ to happen without comment or judgement. It is this mystery that makes Lispector’s writing often impenetrable, but one which always leads her readers to uncharted places and internal territory. Language is a tool which Lispector uses to give voice and tangibility to the struggle that takes place within this medium of communication when expressing the incommunicable.

Lispector was a Brazilian writer born in Russia to Jewish emigrants. Although her writing does not overtly reference her Jewish origins, the continuing themes of displacement, diaspora and exile testify to the spiritual impact of Lispector’s early life on her work.

Together we will read extracts from The Passion According to G.H., which explores the theme of exile. (You can read an extract here). ‘Passion’ in this book describes the internal breaking down of the self to give way to something greater. Lispector narrates the internal, mystical journey of a middle-class woman who has a breakdown after crushing a cockroach in the door of the wardrobe.

Please bring copies with you. No advance reading is required as we will read together, out loud, on the night.

The Feminist Duration Reading Group focuses on under-known and under-appreciated feminist texts, movements, and struggles from outside the Anglo-American feminist tradition. Started at Goldsmiths, University of London, in March 2015, since July 2015 it has been generously hosted by SPACE in Hackney.

The group generally meets once a month, alternately on the first Tuesday of the month at 7pm at SPACE, and the first Saturday of the month at 4pm a non-institutional venue. Details of previous meetings can be found on the right-hand panel.

The Feminist Duration Reading Group welcomes feminists of all genders and generations to explore the legacy and resonance of art, thinking and collective practice from earlier periods of feminism, in dialogue with contemporary practices and movements. It is led by the Feminist Duration Working Group whose current members are Giulia Antonioli, Angelica Bollettinari, Lina Džuverović, Sabrina Fuller, Lily Evans-Hill, Félicie Kertudo, Mariana Lemos, Roisin O’Sullivan, Ceren Özpinar, Sara Paiola, Helena Reckitt, and Justin Seng.

If you would like to join the reading group mailing list, propose a focus for a subsequent session, or invite us to lead a meeting, please write to feministduration@gmail.com.