Psychoanalysis and childhood in the work of Clarice Lispector, 1952-1973

July 2020

The novelist and short-story writer Clarice Lispector (1920 -1970) is one of Brazil’s most important literary figures. Born to a Jewish family in Ukraine, as an infant she moved to Brazil with her family in the aftermath of World War I. In addition to her novels and short stories, Lispector had regular columns in Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as Jornal do Brasil and Correio da Manhã.

Clarice Lispector was internationally acclaimed for her innovative novels and short stories.

In the article  “Psychoanalysis and the transformations of childhood in the articles and columns written by Clarice Lispector, 1952-1973”, Alejandra Josiowicz, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Institute for Gender Studies (IIEGE-CONICET) and postdoctoral fellow at CPDOC- FGV, examines the understanding of childhood in the columns and texts  published in broadly circulating Brazilian magazines and newspapers.

So, it discusses issues such as concerns with children’s physical and mental health during the first half of the twentieth century in Brazil, the psychologization of family relations and the diffusion of psychoanalysis knowledge through mass media.

The book features a selection of texts by Clarice Lispector published in Jornal do Brasil between 1967 and 1973.

According to the article, in her columns and chronicles, the woman is a psychoanalyst at home, able to understand the emotions, affections and personality of her children. The “modern” model of child education that the columns and chronicles propose implies the intensification of the mother-child bonds and the cultivation of affective and psychic intimacy between parents and children. It is no longer a question of civilizing children, adapting them to the parameters of the adult world: it is the parents who must adapt themselves to how their children understand and experience the world.

In Lispector’s writings in the Jornal do Brasil from August 1967 to December 1973, reaching wide popularity among the middle-class public, psychoanalysis becomes highly relevant in the consideration of childhood and the mother/child bond.

The article also argues that the diffusion of psychological and psychoanalytical discourse to a broad audience through wide-reaching publications such as magazines and newspapers was central in redefining ways of thinking about childhood.


JOSIOWICZ, Alejandra. Psychoanalysis and the transformations of childhood in the articles and columns written by Clarice Lispector, 1952-1973. História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos, Rio de Janeiro, v.27, n.1, jan.-mar. 2020. Available at:

How to cite this post:

JOSIOWICZ, A. Psychoanalysis and childhood in the work of Clarice Lispector. In Revista História, Ciências, Saúde – Manguinhos (Blog). Publicado em 15 de julio de 2020. Acessado em  [data].

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