The Use of Literary Metamorphosis in Clarice Lispector and Sevim Burak

Yildiz H.

FORUM FOR WORLD LITERATURE STUDIES, vol.11, no.2, pp.313-330, 2019 (Journal Indexed in ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Page Numbers: pp.313-330


This essay discusses two texts by two literary avant-garde women writers in terms of their use of literary metamorphosis. Although coming from different geographical, linguistic, and cultural backgrounds, interestingly, Turkish author Sevim Burak (1931-1983) and Brazilian author Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) share a common interest in their tendency towards the modernist aesthetic geared towards an experimental literary style. This essay aims to bring Lispector's experimental novel The Passion According to G.H. (A Paixao Segundo G.H.; 1964) and Burak's short story "The Window" ("Pencere"), from her short story collection titled Burnt Palaces (Yanik Saraylar; 1965), together in light of their use of the metamorphosis trope. Both texts challenge desire in fixed signification and closed interpretation, calling instead for a decentered and displaced hermeneutics. In this study, I discuss the use of metamorphosis as a literary trope in The Passion and "The Window" as their major literary tool in the deconstruction of subjectivity in different ways. The study argues that the trope of literary metamorphosis can also be an effective narrative vehicle for opening oneself to different forms and positions of alterity, be it ontological or epistemological alterity.