Mistral, Gabriela


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Mistral, Gabriela

(gäbrēā`lä mēsträl`), 1889–1957, Chilean poet whose original name was Lucila Godoy Alcayaga. She was a teacher in and director of rural schools in Chile before she attained wider acclaim as an educator. Mistral was noted for her revision of the Mexican school system under José VasconcelosVasconcelos, José
, 1882–1959, Mexican educator and writer. He headed (1920–24) the National Univ. of Mexico and, as minister of education under Álvaro Obregón, worked vigorously and with considerable success to establish schools, to persuade the
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. Subsequently, she served as Chilean consul in various European and Latin American cities and represented her country at the League of Nations and the United Nations. The mystery of childbearing, the sorrow of a tragic love, and a burning desire for justice are recurrent themes of her fluent and lyric verse. The early Sonetos de la muerte [sonnets of death] (1915) is considered one of her finest achievements. Desolación (1922), Tala (1938), and Lagar (1954) are three of her major volumes. Selected Poems, translated by Langston Hughes, was published in 1957. In 1945, Mistral received the Nobel Prize in Literature, the first Latin American to be so honored.

Bibliography

See studies by M. C. Preston (1964) and M. C. Taylor (1968).

Mistral, Gabriela

 

(pseudonym of Lucila Godoy Alcayaga). Born Apr. 7, 1889, in Vicuna, province of Coquimbo; died Jan. 10, 1957, in Hempstead, N. Y. Chilean poet.

Mistral was the daughter of a schoolteacher. She also became a teacher and was active in public education. In 1924 she began her diplomatic career in Italy, later serving in Spain (1933–35), Portugal (1935–37), and Brazil and the USA (1938–46). In 1946 she worked for the League of Nations, the predecessor of the UN.

Even before the appearance of Mistral’s first book, Desolation (1922), her poetry, printed in provincial newspapers since 1903, had gained renown. Her early verses express the intimate feelings of a woman: tormented love and an unfulfilled desire for mother-hood. Mistral’s second collection, Tola (1938), reveals a broadening of her poetical range: the confession of a troubled soul who has absorbed the thoughts and feelings of the common people of Latin America.

Mistral was one of the first South American writers to make use of Indian lore in her poetry, combining the tradition of Spanish poetry with fresh, animistic imagery. Her last book of poetry, The Winepress, was published in 1954. In her article “Accursed Word” (1950), Mistral called for peace. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1945.

WORKS

Poesias completes. Madrid, 1958.
Anthologia. Santiago de Chile, 1957.
In Russian translation:
Stikhi. Translation and introduction by O. Savich. Moscow, 1959.
Lirika. Translation and introduction by O. Savich. Moscow, 1963.

REFERENCES

Neruda, P. [Preface to the poetry of G. Mistral.] Inostrannaia literatura, 1958, no. 1.
Ospovat, L. S. “Poeziia G. Mistral’.” Novyi mir, 1960, no. 3.
Monsalve, J. G. Mistral: La errante solitaria. Biografia. Santiago de Chile, 1958.
Ladrón de Guevara, M. G. Mistral: Rebelde magnifica. Buenos Aires [1962].
Alegria, F. Genio y figura de Gabriela Mistral. [Buenos Aires, 1966.]

L. S. OSPOVAT