Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Isabel Allende (ahl-YEHN-dee) begins every new book on January 8, a practice she continues for good luck ever since the success of her first book, The House of the Spirits. On January 8, 1981, while exiled in Venezuela, Allende was feeling guilty for not being with her dying grandfather. She had promised to be with him during his last days, but the military regime prevented her from returning to Chile. The letter she wrote that day eventually became The House of the Spirits, which launched Allende’s career as a novelist; by the mid-1990’s, she had become the most widely read Latin American woman writer.
Born to Chilean diplomat Tomás Allende and his wife Francisca Llona Barros, who separated after a few years of marriage, Isabel Allende and her two brothers lived in their maternal grandparents’ home in Santiago, where their mother offset her economic dependence on her parents by working in a bank and stitching at home.
During her childhood, the grandparents’ library became a favorite spot. Allende enjoyed access to their large collection as well as the intellectual freedom to read books well beyond her age. Her formative years were marked by her grandparents, whom she first portrayed as Clara del Valle and Esteban Trueba in The House of the Spirits.
Allende left her grandparents’ home to live abroad with her mother and stepfather, a Chilean diplomat who had helped the family after Tomás...
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Biography (Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition)
Though Chilean by nationality, Isabel Angelica Allende was born in Lima, Peru, on August 2, 1942. The niece of the former Chilean president Salvador Allende, who died in September 1973, during the military coup d’état engineered by Augusto Pinochet, Allende attended a private high school in Santiago, Chile, from which she graduated in 1959. She worked as a secretary at the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization until 1965. She married Miguel Frías in 1962, had a daughter, Paula, and a son, Miguel. In Santiago, she worked as a journalist, editor, and advice columnist for Paula magazine from 1967 to 1974 and as an interviewer for a television station from 1970 to 1975. She was also an administrator for Colegio Marroco, in Caracas, from 1979 to 1982. Isabel divorced her husband in 1987 and married William Gordon in 1988. Her daughter died in 1993, and this event formed the basis of the novel named after her.
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Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru, and moved to Chile when she was three years old; she comes from a major Chilean political family and identifies herself as a Chilean. Her childhood was spent with her maternal grandparents in Santiago, Chile, following the divorce of her parents. She represents her grandparents as Esteban and Clara Trueba in her best-known novel, The House of the Spirits. Educated partly in England and Europe, Allende returned to Chile in her early twenties to become a journalist and to involve herself in feminism and political causes. She spent the years 1964 through 1974 writing articles and editing journals; she also worked on television shows and film documentaries. Her early experiences before the 1973 military coup in Chile, which changed her life, included editing Paula magazine and conducting interviews for television stations.
Allende was married to engineer Miguel Frias in 1962 and was divorced from him in 1987; her two children, Paula and Nicholas, were born of this union. Her daughter Paula’s illness and death, the major tragedy of Allende’s adult life, are recounted in the memoir Paula. In 1988 Allende married William Gordon.
The daughter of a cousin of Chilean president Salvador Allende, Isabel Allende has always been preoccupied with Chilean history and politics, particularly the events leading to Salvador’s death during a military coup in 1973 that overthrew his socialist...
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The daughter of a Chilean diplomat, Isabel Allende was born in Lima, Peru. Following her parents’ divorce, she lived first with her grandparents in Santiago and later with her mother and stepfather in Europe and the Middle East. She returned to Chile as a young woman and began her career as a television and newsreel journalist and as a writer for a feminist journal.
In 1973, Allende found herself at the center of Chile’s turbulent political life when her uncle and godfather, the country’s Marxist president Salvador Allende, was assassinated during a military coup. In the months that followed, Allende worked to oppose the new dictatorship headed by General Pinochet until fears for her safety led Allende to move to Venezuela with her husband and two children.
Allende’s first novel, The House of the Spirits, was published to international acclaim. It is a family saga set against a backdrop of political upheaval in an unnamed South American country. Her second book, Of Love and Shadows, followed two years later and also drew on her country’s troubled history. Both works placed Allende firmly within the Latin American tradition of novels that take a strong stand in their fictionalized portrayals of political events. Allende’s third novel, Eva Luna, traces the extraordinary life of its title character and the Austrian journalist who becomes her lover. All three novels are examples of the literary style known as...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Isabel Allende (ahl-YEHN-dee), daughter of Francisca Llona Barros and Tomás Allende and niece of former Chilean president Salvador Allende Gossens, was born in Lima, Peru, where her father was serving as a diplomat. When she was three years old, her parents divorced and her mother took her home to Santiago, Chile.
She spent her childhood in the home of her maternal grandparents Isabela and Augustín Llona. Along with her mother, who encouraged her storytelling, they greatly influenced her understanding of people and love of writing. Her grandmother, a spiritualist, believed the supernatural was an integral part of everyday living, and she routinely held séances and used tarot cards. Her grandfather, a conservative landowner, was a moody and domineering man. It was this couple and their home from which she drew material for her first novel, La casa de los espíritus (1982; The House of the Spirits, 1985). The household also included an uncle who filled the house with books, and as a child she read widely in the literatures of many countries. Though her contacts with her father ceased, she remained close to his family, especially to his brother Salvador Allende Gossens, a doctor and socialist politician.
Allende attended private schools in Santiago, and following her mother’s remarriage to another diplomat she lived...
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Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Isabel Allende has commented that when people lose their homeland and become detached from their past, memories become more important. Those memories of Chilean and Hispanic people and places are Allende’s subjects. Her themes, the search for love and self-knowledge, are universal. Using rich plots interwoven with a kaleidoscope of characters, she examines the tumultuous social and political heritage of Latin America. Her Magical Realism produces a blend of the real and the supernatural that adds a fuller landscape to the worlds she creates. These qualities have made her one of the best-known writers of Latin America.
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IntroductionIsabel Allende’s writing is magical. Not only a powerful force in Latin American literature, Allende is also closely associated with the style of magic realism. In magic realist works, real life is seamlessly intermingled with myth, fantasy, and poetry. Allende’s writing is further known for its adoption and expansion of the female perspective. In Allende’s works, women characters are thoughtful, spiritual, and complex. Her most successful novel, The House of the Spirits, integrates a familial story with a larger political parable about the state of Latin America in the late twentieth century. In works such as City of the Beasts and Paula, Allende also achieves a unique balance of the political and the personal.
- Allende’s father’s cousin was the president of Chile in the early 1970s. Following his ousting, Allende and her family fled to Venezuela for asylum.
- Reportedly, Allende gave up her career in journalism and broadcasting at the urging of famed poet Pablo Neruda, who was struck by her innate creativity.
- In 2003, Allende became a citizen of the United States.
- Both the novels The House of the Spirits and Paula began as letters to members of Allende’s family. She later developed them into full-length books.
- Allende’s The House of The Spirits was adapted into a 1993 film that was critically and commercially panned. Moviegoers had trouble believing Jeremy Irons and Winona Ryder—despite their A-list status—were Latinos.
All Resources by Category
Critical Survey of Short Fiction
Isabel Allende - Contemporary Literary Criticism (Vol. 170)
Isabel Allende - Critical Survey of Long Fiction
Isabel Allende Criticism
The House of the Spirits - Literary Places
The House of the Spirits - Masterplots II: Women's Literature Series
The Stories of Eva Luna Criticism
Daughter of Fortune
Of Love and Shadows
Portrait in Sepia
The House of the Spirits
The House of the Spirits
The Infinite Plan
And of Clay Are We Created Study Guide
Aphrodite: A Memoir of the Senses Study Guide
Daughter of Fortune Study Guide
Eva Luna - Masterplots II: American Fiction Series
House of the Spirits Study Guide (eNotes)
Paula Study Guide (eNotes)
The Gold of Tomas Vargas Study Guide
The House of the Spirits - Masterplots
Allende (pronounced "Ah-yen-day") was born August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, the daughter of Chilean diplomat Tomás Allende and his wife, Francisca Llona Barros. Her father was a first cousin of Salvador Allende, her godfather, who later became president of Chile. Allende's parents divorced when she was just two-years-old, and her mother took her to live with her grandparents. Allende's grandparents had a profound influence on her, and she has said they served as the models for the characters of Esteban and Clara Trueba in The House of the Spirits. Allende's mother later remarried, and her new husband was also a diplomat whose assignments took the family abroad. By the time she was fifteen, the author had lived in Bolivia, Europe, and the Middle East.
Allende became a noted journalist in Chile, authoring regular magazine columns, editing a children's magazine, and even hosting a weekly television program. At the same time, she tried her hand at producing plays and writing short stories for children. Allende married engineer Miguel Frías in 1962, and the couple had two children, Paula and Nicolás. In the meantime, her uncle Salvador Allende was elected President of Chile on his fourth attempt at the office. When his government fell to a military coup on September 13, 1973, the author's life took a dramatic change. Like her character Alba, Allende joined the efforts of church-sponsored groups in providing food and aid to the needy and families of the...
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Isabel Angelica Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, to parents Tomas, a Chilean diplomat, and Francisca (Llona Barros) Allende. After her parents' divorce, three-year-old Isabel returned with her mother to Santiago, Chile; she grew up in her grandparents' home and attended a private high school. In 1962, Allende married her first husband, Miguel Frias, an engineer. After several years as a secretary, Allende started working as a journalist, editor, and advice columnist for Paula magazine; she also occasionally worked on television and movie newsreels.
In 1973, her uncle, Chilean president Salvador Allende, was assassinated in a right-wing military coup against his socialist government; Allende, her husband, and their two children fled the country and moved to Venezuela, where Allende had trouble finding work. While in exile and under the influence of her memories of Chile, Allende wrote her first semi-autobiographical novel, The House of the Spirits, which was inspired by her letters to her grandfather. Published in 1982, the novel became an instant success and placed Allende in the literary category of magic realism, along with Jorge Amado, Jorge Luis Borges, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. However, Allende's writing also portrays the political reality of Latin America and assumes a decidedly feminine perspective, apparent in her future works.
Allende's other publications include novels Of Love and Shadows...
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Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, the first child of affluent Chilean parents: her parents were Tomas, a diplomat and the nephew of future Chilean President Salvador Allende, and Francisca (Llona Barros) Allende. Following the couple’s divorce three years later, the author’s mother returned to her parents’ home in Santiago where Allende grew up. In 1953, her mother married Ramon Huidobro, a Chilean diplomat who took his new family to his posts in Bolivia, Europe, and Lebanon over the next five years. Allende graduated from a private high school in Santiago, Chile, and shortly after married Miguel (Michael) Frias.
After working as a secretary for a couple of years, Allende began successful careers in the theatre and print and broadcast journalism. She also had two children. In 1970, Salvador Allende won the popular election and became president of Chile, only to die three years later in a right-wing military coup. Allende lost her job on political grounds and the family began receiving threats from supporters of the new regime; they fled Chile and sought asylum in Venezuela in 1975. During Allende’s life in exile, her marriage fell apart; eventually, she remarried and now lives in California with her second husband.
While in exile, Allende began a letter to her grandfather that turned into her first novel, The House of the Spirits; published in 1982, it quickly became a bestseller in several countries....
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In 1973, author Isabel Allende fled Chile with her husband and their two children after her uncle, Salvador Allende, then president of Chile, was forced out of office. From this experience, Isabel would go on to write her first novel, created from a series of letters that she wrote to her grandfather, who still resided in Chile.
Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, but would move with her family three years later to Chile. After completing her education, she worked ten years as a journalist for various magazines, newspapers, television shows, and movie documentaries. One of the magazines that she wrote for was Paula, a publication that advocated women's rights to divorce and abortion, a very radical position in Chile in the 1960s.
When she and her family escaped to Venezuela, she continued her career as a journalist but also began what would become her first published novel, The House of Spirits (1982)—a book that would win her much international acclaim. The novel would also mark her as one of the leaders of the Latin American feminist movement, as her characters confront the traditional, passive role of women. A movie adaptation was produced in 1993.
Allende wrote two more novels in rather quick succession, Of Love and Shadows (1984) and Eva Luna (1985), and enjoyed several whirlwind tours around the world as a novelist. In the late 1980s, Allende took advantage of a book tour to the...
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Although she has traveled around the world, and has lived in the United States for more than a decade, Isabel Allende considers Latin America her true home, and sets her fiction there. She was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru, where her Chilean father held a diplomatic post. After her parents divorced, Allende and her siblings went to live with her mother’s parents in Santiago, Chile. She had no contact with her father for the rest of her life, but kept close ties to his family, including his cousin Salvador Allende, who became president of Chile in 1970.
As a child, Allende read eagerly and traveled widely. Her mother remarried, and the family lived in Bolivia, Europe, and the Middle East before returning to Chile when Allende was fifteen. Her life was rather ordinary for the next several years: she went to school, married, had two children, and worked as a journalist on television programs and documentaries, much like her character Eva Luna, the narrator of ‘‘And of Clay Are We Created.’’ Years later she credited her journalism experience with helping develop her skills as a storyteller. In 1973, Salvador Allende was murdered and the military took control of Chile’s government. For a time, Isabel Allende continued her journalism work and also worked secretly against the new government, but this became too dangerous and she moved to Caracas, Venezuela, in 1975.
Six years later, she received word from Chile that her...
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Allende was born on August 2, 1942, in Lima, Peru. Tomás Allende, Allende’s father, was a Chilean diplomat. Allende’s uncle and godfather was Salvador Allende, the president of Chile. Her mother, Francisca, divorced Tomás two years after Allende’s birth and took her to the maternal grandparents’ home to be raised. Despite the fact that Allende never kept contact with her father after this point, she still remained very close to the paternal side of the family, especially Salvador Allende.
In 1973, Salvador Allende was assassinated as part of a military coup against his socialist government. This changed Allende’s life profoundly. She was very close to her uncle, and his death would affect the rest of her life. From that point on, the author felt her life was divided into events that happened before the assassination and events that happened after. Residing in Chile eventually proved to be too dangerous for Allende and her family, and they relocated to Venezuela. It was at this point in her life that she would run into obstacles in her career. While she was a noted journalist in Chile, Allende found it extremely challenging to find work in Venezuela. She ceased writing for several years.
Allende’s literary drought would continue until receiving word from her one-hundred-year-old grandfather, who was still living in Chile. She decided to begin writing again, and the first thing she did was to begin composing a response to her...
(The entire section is 351 words.)