“Writing by Ear”: Clarice Lispector, Machado de Assis, and Guimarães Rosa and the Mimesis of Improvisation

Marília Librandi Rocha


The article proposes that at the core of Brazilian literature pulsates an aural writing elaborated by authors who “write by ear.” To prove this hypotheses, I relate “writing by ear” to two procedures found in Clarice Lispector, Machado de Assis, and Guimarães Rosa’s works: 1) a multiplicity of authorial voices—where the author is no longer the one who writes but the one who listens; and 2) a validation of improvisation (effective or pretended) as a method of literary composition. If the above description is valid, I propose that “writing by ear” is a concept potentially useful to understanding literature produced in a culture where orality and musicality predominate.


Improvisation;aurality; orality in literature

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21083/csieci.v7i1.1250

Critical Studies in Improvisation / Études critiques en improvisation is generously supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (through both its Major Collaborative Research Initiatives and Aid to Scholarly Journals programs) and by the University of Guelph Library.
ISSN: 1712-0624