Pablo Neruda Biography
Pablo Neruda is almost as famous for his political activism as he is for his eclectic, electric poetry. A communist who held several governmental posts in his native Chile, Neruda was a staunch supporter of Radical Party presidential candidate Gabriel González Videla and helped elect him to office. When Videla quickly turned against the Communist party, Neruda spoke out harshly against him. Fearing for his family’s safety, Neruda went into hiding for the next year, during which time the Communist party was banned from Chile. He remained in exile for three years and traveled throughout Europe, where he did a great deal of writing. He first became known for erotic poems such as “Tonight I Can Write,” but the masterpiece Canto General captures his range of ideas, concerns, and passions—from history and politics to nature and love.
Facts and Trivia
- Neruda was born Ricardo Eliecer Neftali Reyes Basoalto. He took his pen name from the Czech author Jan Neruda.
- Although Neruda’s father opposed his writing interests, he persisted and had his first essay published at the age of thirteen.
- His Veinte Poemas, which includes the acclaimed poem “Tonight I Can Write,” was considered highly controversial because of its explicitly sexual nature. Neruda was only ninteen years old when the volume was published.
- Neruda was invited to speak at the International PEN Conference in 1966 and, despite the fact that he was officially banned from the United States, he was granted a special visa to attend.
- Chilean leader Pinochet tried to outlaw the public from attending Neruda’s funeral, but thousands of people broke curfew and attended anyway. This is considered the first public protest against Chilean dictators.
- Biography (History of the World: The 20th Century)
- Biography (World Poets and Poetry)
- Biography (Society and Self, Critical Representations in Literature)
- Biography (Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)
(The entire section is 5386 words.)