A passion for life
verworven via: Limerick
|More than thirty years after Pablo Neruda’s death, his poetry continues to move readers all over the world. His range is vast: from the lyricism of Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair and the melancholy of Residence on Earth to the direct simplicity of the Elemental Odes and the epic grandeur of the Canto General. Few Nobel laureates have enjoyed such popularity.
Pablo Neruda (1904-73) was a complicated man, both politically and emotionally. In this new biography, Adam Feinstein draws on revealing interviews with his closest friends, numerous acquaintances and surviving relatives, as well as on newly discovered documents in South America, the USA and the former Soviet Union.
He follows Neruda’s development from a sickly, sensitive child in southern Chile in 1904, through the painful split with his father, who told him that poetry was not a worthwhile profession, to his emergence as a writer of growing fame. While Chilean consul in Spain, his friendship with Lorca and his love for Delia del Carrille led to active support for the Republican cause, despite his diplomatic status. He later saved the lives of 2.000 Republican refugees by chartering a ship that took them to Valparaiso.
Ten years later, his outspoken criticism of González Videla’s regime put him at increasing risk. He lived underground for a year before finally fleeing his country in a dramatic escape across the mountains to Argentina and exile.
Feinstein looks closely at the relationship between the life and the work, his three marriages and numerous affairs, culminating in the domestic idyll at Isla Negra with his third wife, Matilde Urrutia. He also reveals Neruda’s political courage and explores his controversial loyalty to Stalinism that continued long after Stalin’s crimes had been exposed, causing a break with Octavio Paz among others. Neruda died in 1973 within days of the violent death of his friend Salvador Allende in the coup that brought Augusto Pinochet to power in Chile.