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6 Reasons Why You Should Read Hilda Hilst

First of all, we need to understand who was Hilda Hilst (1930-2004). She was born in Jaú, São Paulo, and wrote her first book when was 20 years old: Presságio, which consists in a collection of poems published in 1950. Hilda graduated in law school in 1952, but didn’t want to be a lawyer. Her main pieces are, beyond Presságio: Fluxo — Floema (1970), Ficções (1977), Cantares de perda e predileção (1980), A obscena senhora (1982) and Rútilo nada (1993). 

6 Reasons Why You Should Read Hilda Hilst

Image Credit: Acervo do Instituto Hilda Hilst

1. She was a fictionist, chronicler and Brazilian poet and is considered one of the best woman writers of the contemporary literature in Brazil.

2. Hilda was a free revolutionary woman, definitely beyond her time. She wrote about things usually  ot spoken by women at that time, such as: sex, homosexuality, feminism, death and transcendence. “They [the publishers] said I went crazy” related Hilda on a interview to TV Cultura in 1990 when talking about her new book, O caderno Rosa de Lori Lamby (1990).

3. Despite all her talent, she only became famous when decided to write something really polemic to tease the publish market, a trilogy of erotic tales that had a big repercussion. Hilda said on a interview to Tv Cultura, in 1990, that those books were an act of aggression for the publishers.

Image Credit: Acervo do Instituto Hilda Hilst

4. Hilda had to face the literary universe dominated by men and to impose herself as a woman. There were literary critics who really recognized her job, like Antonio Candido, but they didn’t publicly admitted that on newspapers.

5. She was considered a writer “hard to read”, which is why she was unable to reach a large public. Reading Hilda Hilst is a way to keep her memory alive and appreciate her not publicly recognized writing.

6. In one of her most famous books, A obscena senhora (1982), she talks about getting older in an unusual way. Hilda recognizes the negative points of it, but unlike most of people, also see beauty in this process. The beauty that she talks is about the good part of being “old and weird”and to be able to do everything you want without being judged because of your age”. Hilda saw beauty and humor in being elderly and it’s evident in that piece.

In 2018, a film based on Hilda’s life was produced by the director Gabriela Greeb. The movie explores the thoughts of Hilda and her relationship with the spirits. Moreover, Hilda was the writer honored on the International Literature Fair of Paraty (FLIP) on this year. Furthermore, Hilda has produced more than forty titles, including novels, poetry and theater.

If after reading this article, you still want to find out more things about Hilda, there is a perfect place for doing that: it’s called Casa do Sol, where she lived during many years of her life, and nowadays is  a public property and available for visiting.

Bianca Quartiero

Casper Libero '21

journalist, 20
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