The Paris Review – Arts and Culture News

The Paris Review – Arts and Culture News

  • First Person

    The Discovery of the World

    By

    Clarice Lispector at work. Courtesy of Paulo Gurgel Valente.

    In 1967, the Jornal do Brasil asked Clarice Lispector to write a Saturday newspaper column on any topic she wished. For nearly seven years, she wrote weekly, covering a wide range of topics—humans and animals, bad dinner parties, the daily activities of her two sons—but the subject matter was often besides the point. These genre-defying missives are defined by a lyricism and strangeness that readers of her fiction will recognize, though they are a thing apart in their brevity and interiority. Too Much of Life: The Complete Crônicas will be published in English by New Directions this September. As her son, Paulo Gurgel Valente, has written, “Enjoy the columns, I know of nothing quite like them.” Today, the Review is publishing a selection of these crônicas.

    July 6, 1968

    The Discovery of the World

    What I want to tell you is as delicate as life itself. And I want to use the delicacy that exists inside me along with the peasant coarseness that is my saving grace.

    As a child and, later, as an adolescent, I was precocious in many things. In sensing an atmosphere, for example, in picking up on someone else’s personal atmosphere. On the other hand, far from being precocious, I was incredibly backward as regards other important things. Indeed, I continue to be backward in many areas. And there’s nothing I can do about it: it seems there is a childish side of me that will never grow up. Read More

  • The Review’s Review

    Ghosts, the Grateful Dead, and Earth Room

    By

    “The Ghost in the Stereoscope,” Metropolitan Museum of Art, licensed under CC0 1.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

     When my wife was giving birth to our child, she saw—waiting at the door of the delivery room—her grandmother, my grandmother, and the grandmother of our sperm donor. In daily life all three of these women are dead. In the delivery room my wife’s grandmother was a reassuring presence, my grandmother—and here my wife is likely influenced by my own childhood reports—held herself at some distance, and our donor’s grandmother held a sign in the style of the airport pickup, welcoming our child. Never before had my wife felt the presence of the dead, but in the months of our baby’s babyhood they have been a recurring presence: a tiny man dressed in rags, muttering Latin by our baby’s bed; a man rocking in our nursing chair whom she first identified as my grandfather, then my father. I am scared of the dark and do not take the pleasure she takes in these appearances. But if there is satisfaction to be had from her morning announcements, it is the way they keep present, alongside the dead, David Ferry’s poem “Resemblance,” from his 2012 collection, Bewilderment. In the poem, the speaker describes seeing his dead father in a restaurant in Orange, New Jersey:

    It was the eerie persistence of his not
    Seeming to recognize that I was there,
    Watching him from my table across the room;
    It was also the sense of his being included
    In the conversation around him, and yet not,
    Though this in life had been familiar to me
    .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .
    Where were we, in that restaurant that day?
    Had I gone down into the world of the dead?
    Were those other people really Shades of the Dead?
    We expect that, if they came back, they would come back
    To impart some knowledge of what it was they had learned

    Except for the man muttering Latin, none of the dead speak to my wife. She knows what she needs to know from their presence, from the fact that they’ve come to be near our child. Where she feels clarity and reassurance, I feel, as I do about most things, bewildered. “Unable to know is a condition I’ve lived in / All my life,” Ferry writes in the poem. Earlier in the book he quotes a letter Goethe wrote a friend whose son had died: “It’s still, alas, the same old story: to live / Long is to outlive many; and after all, // We don’t even know, then, what it was all about.” 

    —Harriet Clark, author of “Descent

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  • Arts & Culture

    The Face That Replicates

    By

    Sylvia refused to wear her glasses, which is why she saw me everywhere on campus. It seemed like it was every day that she’d come to our dorm’s living room and tell me about the not-Katy. “I yelled at her again,” she sighed, flopping onto the worn couch. “It wasn’t you.” It never was.

    There wasn’t only one not-me. There were several other girls on our small liberal arts campus who had dirty-blond hair and shaggy bangs, girls who wore knee-high boots and short skirts, low-rise jeans and V-neck sweaters and too many tangled necklaces. In 2005, I didn’t stand out. I still don’t. My face, I suspect, is rather forgettable. I’m neither pretty enough to be remarkable nor strange enough to be interesting. This is true for the majority of people, though I have wondered if I have “one of those faces” that is particularly prone to inducing déjà vu. Some people seem like permanent doppelgängers. I became hypervigilant, on the lookout for not-mes that were also, sort of, me.

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  • Studio Visit

    Infinite Dictionaries: A Conversation with Marc Hundley

    By

    Marc Hundley. Photograph by Na Kim.

    Marc Hundley, whose portfolio of posters appears in the Reviews Summer issue, first moved to New York City in 1993 to model for Vogue with his twin brother, Ian. They were twenty-two and modeling was a means to an end—funding what Hundley calls their “club kid” lifestyle. As their final job in the industry, Marc and Ian walked Comme des Garçons runway shows in Paris and Tokyo alongside the supermodel Linda Evangelista, for a payout of two thousand dollars each. The two brothers then moved from Manhattan to the apartment in Williamsburg where Marc still lives. In the late nineties, he worked as a carpenter and still-life photographer before beginning to make T-shirts and posters for his friends in the downtown club scene, which led him to an interest in text-based art. His prints and drawings often take the form of flyers that play with the associative potential of text and imagery. He still works across various disciplines including graphic design, carpentry, photography, and fine art. 

    Hundley’s portfolio for the Review’s Summer issue constitutes something like a diary of several weeks he spent exploring the magazine’s archives this spring. The posters he created connect imagery and text in unexpected ways: each includes a particular phrase that caught his eye and pays homage to a work of art found in the same issue. (Four of these posters are now available to purchase in the Review’s online store.) In June, we sat down in his large studio in Bed-Stuy on chairs he had built. We shared a bottle of natural wine and talked about his work, the intimacy of being a twin, and how to write a love letter to a stranger. 

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  • Re-Covered

    Re-Covered: Lucy’s Nose by Cecily Mackworth

    By

    PHOTOGRAPH BY LUCY SCHOLES.

    In the winter of 1892, in his consulting room at his home on Vienna’s Berggasse, Sigmund Freud treated an otherwise healthy but “laconic” English governess suffering from both a loss of her sense of smell and olfactory hallucinations. The most unsettling of these was a pervasive odor of burnt pudding that worsened whenever she was feeling agitated. Miss Lucy R., as Freud refers to her in his and Joseph Breuer’s Studies on Hysteria (1895), was a thirty-year-old woman, originally from Glasgow, living in the home of a managing director of a factory on the outskirts of the city. She was looking after his two children whose mother, a distant relative, had recently died. Freud interpreted Lucy’s symptoms in accordance with his—then, still nascent—theory of hysteria, a condition in which the troubles of the mind manifest themselves in torments of the body. After nine weeks of sessions, Freud came to the conclusion that Lucy was secretly in love with her employer. When this hypothesis was proposed to her, Lucy agreed immediately, her symptoms disappeared, and the analysis was brought to an end. Read More

  • On Dance

    Odysseus’s Kinesphere

    By

    Paul is lying on the couch talking to someone on the phone and he’s telling them that he’s reading The Odyssey and it reads like a blockbuster movie, and I interrupt from the kitchen to ask which movie, but he doesn’t hear me because

    the radio is on.

    I am a choreographer by trade, and it’s an unusual profession: to make and sell dances. The material, the stuff of dance, is the body, and turning that into something transactional has always struck me as contradictory, because when people first danced, it was essentially a community in physical agreement executing poeticized, ritual actions

    in a circle.

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