Gabriela Mistral

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


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.


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.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Since an early age, Neruda was lucky that he found the poet Gabriela Mistral as one of his teachers who were crucial to his literary developments.
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This work collects letter from Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, winner of the Nobel Prize, to her secretary and lover, North American writer Doris Dana, in the 1940s and 1950s.
Using the works of Jorge Luis Borges, Clarice Lispector, Alberto Gerchunoff, Joao Guimaraes Rosa, and Gabriela Mistral, Edna Aizenberg's objectives are two-fold: to show how these authors, in dealing with the Shoah, challenged "prevailing truths about Latin American literature from that period" and also to restore these world-class writers to a place among the many others who openly criticized and resisted, in their own ways, Nazi atrocities (x).