On Friday, June 22, 1973, Hilda Hilst (Jaú, SP, 1930 – Campinas, SP, 2004) woke up with a swollen right eye. On Thursday afternoon, she had received a copy of her book Qadós – which would be published 11 days later– and was up all night reading the finally edited and printed material. “I’m so pleased with my Qadós”, she wrote in her diary. “I’m feeling very vain and ask for forgiveness from my spiritual guides, but I don’t know of any text as vigorous and beautiful as mine. Forgive me, my guides. I was only an instrument, but what a great feeling.”
Her proud outburst demonstrates how Hilda dealt with her own work. This high esteem, however, would in turn end up feeding another outburst, this time sorrowful. Such outbursts occurred often throughout most of her career, which began in 1950. They were triggered by the very limited repercussion her works had among readers, perhaps due to the small editions of her books or the confusion between complex and hermetic texts. Despite counting on the admiration of the specialized critics and literary prize juries, Hilda’s books only began to gain a wider readership in the 2000s, in good part thanks to the republishing of her entire work by a large publishing house.
By means of the Ocupação program, which explores and pays tribute to the careers of referential artists in different fields, Itaú Cultural intends to make the work of the poet, fiction writer, playwright and columnist more read, studied and admired. Carried out in partnership with Instituto Hilda Hilst (IHH) – an organization housed at the Casa do Sol, the farm in Campinas where the author lived and wrote during the last 38 years of her life –, the Ocupação Hilda Hilst invites her old, new and future readers to an exhibition in the first person, comprised almost exclusively of Hilda’s own writings and drawings, such as drafts, original typed manuscripts and various notes found in diaries, notebooks and other sources of her personal archives – maintained by IHH and, above all, the Centro de Documentação Cultural “Alexandre Eulalio” of the Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp), which has lent close to 150 of the approximately 200 documents that compose the exhibition.
Some of these documents are reproduced on this website, which also includes interviews with family members, friends and scholars of her work, forming with the exhibition and the content created for the printed booklet (found on issuu.com/itaucultural), a source of material geared for both those who are already familiar with Hilda’s work and those who wish to dive into her writings, which were relegated to a relative silence for many years in light of their raucous and polyphonic nature.