The Nobel Prize to Chilean Neruda, who gave “dreams to the continent”, turns 50

This content was published on October 21, 2021 – 2:35 PM

Sebastian Silva

Santiago de Chile, Oct 21 (EFE) .- Exactly 50 years ago, on October 21, 1971, the Swedish Academy announced the Nobel Prize for Literature for Chilean Pablo Neruda “for being the author of a poetry that, with the action of an elemental force, gives life to the destiny and dreams of a continent “.

His word, as did his compatriot Gabriela Mistral -first Nobel Prize for Literature on the continent in 1945-, had a great commitment to the social and revolutionary processes of his time, both in his country and throughout America and Spain.

Born in 1905 in southern Chile and raised in the bosom of a modest family, Neftalí Reyes – his original name – began his career as a poet early, first with a voice centered on himself and highly influenced by romanticism.

Over time, his forms were opened to other currents and his maturity and life experience led him to sing to the peoples, especially after what he witnessed in Spain, that of before the Civil War and Francoism.

“Neruda in his youth was rather an anarchist, he did not have a fixed ideology and he was critical of everything he saw, like all young people with deep sensitivity. The fall of Madrid was a tremendous blow for him, as much as the military coup in Chile”, The executive director of the Pablo Neruda Foundation, Fernando Saez, told EFE.

He added, “lived a republican Spain, in which poets took to the streets, where there was cultural effervescence, as here with former president Salvador Allende”, overthrown by a coup in 1973.

Just a few days later and a day before traveling to Mexico to lead and organize the opposition to Augusto Pinochet from that country, Neruda died in a hospital in the capital, although his family maintains that he was poisoned by agents of the dictatorship and promoted the exhumation of his bones in 2013.

In 2017, a team of experts and experts assured that the poet did not die of prostate cancer, despite the fact that he suffered from that disease, but that they did not know the specific cause of death.


There is no bookstore in the world where you cannot find copies of “Crespuculario”, “Twenty love poems and a desperate song” or the acclaimed “Canto General”. The work of Neruda, one of the most important poets of the 20th century, has been translated into more than 45 languages ​​and is “still being read” today.

“That accounts not only for the popularity, but for the way in which he touched different aspects of human life, from the simplest to the most complex of the soul, installing them in a poetry that has survived too long. Few poets have that. possibility “, added the director of the foundation, during a tour of” La Chascona “, the poet’s house in Santiago now converted into a museum.

In recent times, however, both the figure and the work of the former diplomat, senator and even presidential candidate have been the subject of a critical review from the powerful Chilean feminist movement.

For the academic of the Faculty of Philosophy and Humanities of the University of Chile, Soledad Falabella, Neruda is a “patriarchal” and “last century” poet, in whose work “women do not exist as subjects” and “serve to prop up the ego and the masculinity of ‘Man’, with capital letters “.

An example of this is his famous verse “I like you when you are quiet because you are absent”, which was replicated in the last and massive feminist demonstrations that have shaken Chile, in which you could read banners with the slogan: “Neruda, shut up your!”.

“In his imagination, women are objects of pleasure, passive entities at the disposal of man’s action and desire. It is not uncommon then that in his confessions he relates episodes where he stars in gender and sexual violence. In his world that is not only possible, but it is natural, “said Falabella.

For her part, Remy Oyarzún, professor at the University of Chile and founder of the Center for Gender and Culture, acknowledged to Efe that one of the “beautiful things about poetry is that it is not the poet who has the last word, but the readers. ” EFE

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The Nobel Prize to Chilean Neruda, who gave “dreams to the continent”, turns 50

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