Modernization and the Phantasmagoria of Commodities in Clarice Lispector's A cidade sitiada

Villares, Lucia
August 2010
Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (1475-3839);2010, Vol. 87 Issue 4, p473
Academic Journal
This article tries to explain the overwhelming presence of objects, or 'things', in Clarice Lispector's novel A cidade sitiada/The Besieged City (1949). I will interpret this, taking into account the experience of what David Frisby has called 'the phantasmagoria of the dream world of commodities' and Marx's notion of commodity fetishism, understood as a 'forgetting' of the social relations of labour. I argue that, in the context of Brazil, this necessarily involves a 'forgetting' of issues of race, given that, in Brazil, modernization was driven by an ideology of whiteness: to modernize was to whiten the nation. I will argue that Getúlio Vargas's eugenic perspective towards the modernizing nation is present in Lispector's novel as an unexamined but operational element in the cultural construction of a modern city through the eyes of the protagonist Lucrécia.Este artigo tenta explicar a presença asfixiante de objetos, ou 'coisas', no romance A Cidade Sitiada (1949) de Clarice Lispector. Para tal, lanço mão do conceito de 'fantasmagoria do mundo das mercadorias' desenvolvida por David Frisby e o conceito, desenvolvido por Marx, de fetichismo da mercadoria, visto como um 'esquecimento' das relações sociais de trabalho. Argumento que, no contexto do Brasil, isto necessariamente inclui um 'esquecimento' de questões de raça, uma vez que, no Brasil, a modernização foi norteada por uma ideologia de branquitude: modernizar a nação era o mesmo que embranquecer a nação. Argumento também que a perspectiva eugênica de Getúlio Vargas com relação à modernização da nação está presente no romance de Lispector como um elemento não-examinado mas operacional, parte do processo de construção cultural da cidade moderna através dos olhos da protagonista Lucrécia.


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