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It Changes Nothing

December 10, 2014 | by

If you’ve never seen it, watch Clarice Lispector’s first and only TV interview, from February 1977, when she appeared on TV Cultura in São Paulo. She’d arrived intending to appear in a program about film, apparently, when the station’s director summoned his nerve and asked for an interview. She died later that year.

Lispector is restless, and charmingly curt, throughout the interview—it seems as if she really, really doesn’t want to be there. Even under duress, though, she gives stronger, more meaningful answers than many writers give at their most accessible. “I write without the hope that what I write can change anything at all. It changes nothing … Because at the end of the day we’re not trying to change things. We’re trying to open up somehow.”

At one point, the interlocutor asks, “What, in your opinion, is the role of the Brazilian writer today?”

“To speak as little as possible,” she says, her head tilted, her thumb half-massaging her temple, a cigarette between her fingers.



  1. Tiago Ramos | December 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    This interview is a real treasure. I love the way Clarice Lispector talks, in that slow, musical, Northeastern accent, her trademark lisp, and oh so serious! I was hypnotized during the whole thing.
    She has an elegant, terse, and yet coloquial Portuguese that one finds nowhere in Brazil nowadays.

    My thanks for the delightful post.

  2. Nina Andresen | December 11, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Thank you! A wonderful writer! It shows that she is uncomfortable being interviewed, though. I feel bad for her.

    She passed away that same year (1977). Still so young. Why does she declare herself dead and say that she speaks from her grave, when her actual passing is only months away? I appreciate the interview, but must say I find it a bit sad and morbid.

  3. Sarah C. Nathan | December 12, 2014 at 10:14 am

    This was wonderful thank you. I watched the whole thing and enjoyed it very much. She didn’t really smile at all…

  4. Vinícius Costa | December 13, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Her books touch me a lot because they are written in a very simple way, but they are full of insights and mysteries. Clarice Lispector’s writing makes us think about the meaning of being in this world. In the end, we still don’t know, but we start to understand we have no answers.

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