A Country of Poets

A Celebration of Pablo Neruda, 1904-1973   

A Celebration of Pablo Neruda (1904-1973) at Harvard’s Houghton Library honored the centennial of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s birth. Items featured include manuscript drafts of Neruda’s play, Fulgor y muerte de Joaquín Murieta, (Splendor and Death of Joaquín Murieta), about a legendary Chilean (or Mexican) bandit during the California Gold Rush. In addition, Neruda’s political views were illustrated through several of his letters to the Argentine literary figure Victoria Ocampo and his illustrious career as a poet represented by various first editions of his works that were published in Chile, Argentina and Spain.

Neruda’s literary works include some 47 books, of which 35 are poetry. He published his first book of poetry,Crepusculario, in 1923 and went on to write prolific, abundant, and ever changing material. As critic René de Costa writes, “Neruda’s writing does not evolve in the traditional way, according to a smooth trajectory of growth and refinement. Instead, after each triumph there is a series of spurts, of experimental compositions, followed by a volcanic outflow of verses that result in a totally new book and, to be sure, a new and somewhat different poetic.”

Exhibition curators were Harvard Romance Languages and Literatures Assistant Professor Luis Cárcamo-Huechante and Lynn Shirey, Assistant Librarian for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal in Harvard’s Widener Library.

Spring 2004Volume III, Number 3

This article was adapted with permission from the Harvard College Library website.

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