Interspecies Literature: Clarice Lispector's Zoophytographia

  • Patrícia Vieira Georgetown University
Keywords: Ecocriticism, plants and animals in literature, inhumanity, Laços de Família, A Paixão Segundo G.H.


This essay analyzes the role plants and animals play in Clarice Lispector’s work. I argue that Lispector often stages a face-to-face encounter with non-humans to trigger a process of defamiliarization, whereby our anthropocentric values and norms come undone. I discuss exemples of this encounter in short stories from Laços de Família and in the novel A Paixão segundo G.H. In these works, Lispector reflects upon concepts we usually take for granted, such as reason or language, a process that results in a profound transformation and extension of these concepts to our non-human others.

Author Biography

Patrícia Vieira, Georgetown University
Patrícia Vieira is Associate Professor of Spanish and Portuguese, Comparative Literature, and Film and Media Studies at Georgetown University and Associate Research Professor at the Center for Social Studies (CES) of the University of Coimbra. Her fields of expertise are Comparative Literature, Literature and Philosophy, Literary Theory, Utopian Studies and Environmental Studies. She is the author of Seeing Politics Otherwise: Vision in Latin American and Iberian Fiction; Portuguese Film 1930-1960. The Staging of the New State Regime; and States of Grace: Utopia in Brazilian Culture (forthcoming). For more information visit: