The Queer and Complex Business of Naming and Being Named

Clarice Lispector once wrote, “I’m not a synonym—I’m a proper noun.” Like many of her oblique declaratives, the meaning resonates if you are inclined to hear it. Yet even to those who do, what they hear differs widely. Perhaps even more maddening, it is subject to change when it is heard again. Lispector as haughy and indignant. Lispector, tall, set apart from the crowd. Lispector, a singular thing.

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