María Luisa Bombal

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María Luisa Bombal is the author of the following influential novels: La última niebla, 1934 (The Final Mist, 1982; previously revised and translated as The House of Mist, 1947); La amortajada, 1938 (translated as The Shrouded Woman, 1948); La historia de María Griselda, 1977.

Achievements

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María Luisa Bombal was the Chilean representative to the International PEN Conference in the United States in 1940; she received Chile’s Academy of Arts and Letters Prize in 1977 for The Story of María Griselda.

Bibliography

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Agosin, Marjorie. “María Luisa Bombal: O el lenguaje alucinado.” Symposium 48 (Winter, 1995): 251-256. In this special issue on Latin American women writers, Agosin argues that Bombal challenged the conventional writing of her time by creating a language that moved back and forth between hallucination and daydream; says her female characters are marginalized women who seek the meaning of their lives through imagination and memory

Debicki, Andrew P. “Structure, Imagery, and Experience in María Luisa Bombal’s ‘The Tree’.” Studies in Short Fiction 8 (Winter, 1971): 123-129. Discusses how Bombal uses imagery and descriptive detail to explore the theme of illusion and the conflict between illusory and matter-of-fact realities; argues that the patterns of the story heighten the reader’s experience of the protagonist’s plight while simultaneously placing that plight within a more universal scheme.

Diaz, Gwendolyn. “Desire and Discourse in María Luisa Bombal’s New Islands.” Hispanofila 112 (September, 1994): 51-62. Discusses the stories in New Islands and Other Stories as examples of Bombal’s experimentation with a new language that reflects a woman’s point of view and thought; argues that the heroine of the stories struggles to place her own perceptions in a world of phallocentric social structures; says Bombal wants to create a new rhythm that reflects a more complete view of a world previously divided by sexual hierarchies.

Kostopulos-Cooperman, Celeste. The Lyrical Vision of María Luisa Bombal. London: Tamesis Books, 1988. A brief monograph on the lyrical and poetic qualities of Bombal’s fiction. Discusses Bombal’s central thematic preoccupation of women in relationship to their surrounding worlds. Argues that both technically and thematically Bombal was clearly ahead of her time. Provides detailed discussions of “The New Islands” and “The Tree.”

Long, William R. “Latina Writers Are Silent No Longer.” Los Angeles Times, November 11, 1994, p. A1. Notes that books by Latin American women have become best-sellers in what many have called a new “boom” in Latin American literature, reminiscent of the explosion of talented male writers in the 1960’s; quotes several writers, scholars, and critics who argue that the most original work being produced in the 1990’s in Latin America is by women who are talking about themselves in an open and daring way, a trend that reflects the breaking down of gender bias throughout Latin America.

Mendez Rodenas, Adriana. “Narcissus in Bloom: The Desiring Subject in Modern Latin American Narrative: María Luisa Bombal and Juan Rulfo.” In Latin American Women’s Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory in Crisis, edited by Anny Brooksbank Jones. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. Mendez Rodenas applies psychoanalytic theory and a feminist approach to Bombal’s fiction, especially focusing on her novel La amortajada, translated as The Shrouded Woman (1948); compares her use of the Narcissus theme with Juan Rulfo’s use of the myth.

Rivero, Isel. “Among Generals, Bishops, and Guerillas.” Ms. 1 (May/June, 1991): 70-72. An article on Latin American women writers, noting that while they still wrestle with the process of day-to-day living, their stories are breaking the silence their sisters have endured for so long; discusses the work of several writers, including Bombal, Isabel Allende, and Victoria Ocampo.

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Critical Essays