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Description de l’éditeur
A love story by the great Clarice Lispector that asks: Just how might two people be joined?
Lóri, a primary school teacher, is isolated and nervous, comfortable with children but unable to connect to adults. When she meets Ulisses, a professor of philosophy, an opportunity opens: a chance to escape the shipwreck of introspection and embrace the love, including the sexual love, of a man. Her attempt, as Sheila Heti writes in her afterword, is not only “to love and to be loved,” but also “to be worthy of life itself.”
Published in 1968, An Apprenticeship is Clarice Lispector’s attempt to reinvent herself following the exhausting effort of her metaphysical masterpiece The Passion According to G. H. Here, in this unconventional love story, she explores the ways in which people try to bridge the gaps between them, and the result, unusual in her work, surprised many readers and became a bestseller.
Some appreciated its accessibility; others denounced it as sexist or superficial. To both admirers and critics, the olympian Clarice gave a typically elliptical answer: “I humanized myself,” she said. “The book reflects that.”
Lispector's dense and singular romance (after The Besieged City), first published in Brazil in 1969, arrives in a rich new translation from Tobler and illuminating afterword by Sheila Heti. L ri, a primary school teacher leading a solitary existence in Rio de Janeiro and unable to stomach her "bourgeois middle class" milieu, becomes captivated by the elusive Ulisses, a philosophy professor and self-described excellent teacher ("basically I like to hear myself talk about things that interest me," he explains). The two speak on the phone, meet for drinks, and visit a local swimming pool, but Ulisses tells L ri she's not ready for the relationship he wants, a claim that drives the bulk of Lori's stream-of-consciousness analysis ("she was bound to him because she wanted to be desired"). Ulisses speaks often of his "apprenticeship" to something only aspired to he's "in the middle" of it, he says, but L ri feels he's "infinitely further along" than she is. The purpose of their apprenticeship is never expressed, though one of L ri's goals is to feel "alive through pleasure" instead of pain, and Heti's revealing afterword leaves the reader with much to chew on. This deep immersion into the vicissitudes of love will delight Lispector devotees.