Pablo Neruda

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Neruda, Pablo

Neruda, Pablo (päˈblō nāro͞oˈᵺä), 1904–73, Chilean poet, diplomat, and Communist leader. He changed his original name, Ricardo Eliecer Neftalí Reyes Basoalto, so that his railroad-worker father would not discover that he was a poet. Neruda's highly personal poetry brought him enormous acclaim. After 1927 he was in consular service in East Asia, Argentina, Mexico, and Europe. A surrealist, Neruda revitalized everyday expressions and employed bold metaphors in free verse. His evocative poems are filled with grief and despair and bespeak a quest for simplicity. They celebrate the dramatic Chilean landscape and rage against the exploitation of the indigenous people. In his writings and during his political career as a leader of the Chilean Communist party (which he joined in 1945) and as a diplomat, Neruda exerted a wide influence in Latin America. His many volumes of poetry include Crepusculario [twilight book] (1919, his first book), Twenty Love Poems and One Song of Despair (1924, tr. 1969), the surrealistic Residence on Earth and Other Poems (1933, tr. 1946), Canto general (1950), Elemental Odes (1954, tr. 1961), Nuevas odas elementales [new elemental odes] (1955), A New Decade: 1958–1967 (tr. 1969), Extravagaria (1958, tr. 1974), New Poems: 1968–1970 (tr. 1972), and Toward the Splendid City (tr. 1974). Neruda was awarded the 1971 Nobel Prize in Literature during his service as Chilean ambassador to France. Neruda died in Chile shortly after the 1973 military coup. Later investigators concluded (2015, 2017) that the stated cause of his death, complications from prostate cancer, was not accurate, and that he may have been killed while in the hospital.


See his Early Poems (tr. 1969), Selected Poems (tr. 1970), and The Poetry of Pablo Neruda (2003); P. Neruda et al., Pablo Neruda and Nicanor Parra Face to Face (tr. 1997).

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Neruda, Pablo


(pen name of Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basualto). Born July 12, 1904, in Parral, Chile; died Sept. 23, 1973, in Santiago, Chile. Chilean poet and public figure. Member of the Communist Party of Chile from 1945 and of its Central Committee from 1958.

The son of a railroad employee, Neruda attended the University of Santiago. His first book of poetry, Crepusculario (Twilight Book), was published in 1923. Depression and loneliness characterize his Veinte poemas de amory una canción desperada (1924; Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair, 1969) and his poems written between 1925 and 1935, including Residencia en la tierra (vols. 1–2; Residence on Earth, 1947).

From 1934 to 1937, Neruda was engaged in diplomatic work in Spain. The antifascist struggle of the Spanish people, in which Neruda took part in 1936–37, marked a new stage in his work. In his book of poems España en el corazón (1937; Spain at Heart; Russian translation, 1939), Neruda spoke out as the bard of a people struggling for freedom and as the herald of human solidarity.

From 1941 to 1944, Neruda served as Chilean consul in Mexico. Here, in 1942–43, he wrote two Cantos de amor a Stalingrado (Love Songs for Stalingrad). He returned to Chile and was elected to the national Senate in 1945. Neruda suffered persecution for his exposure of the reactionary policies of Chile’s president, Gabriel González Videla. In 1948, while living underground, he completed his Canto general (published 1950; General Canto; Russian translation, 1954), an epic poem about Latin America. This work was remarkable for the forcefulness of its lyric verse and the originality of its poetic language.

From 1949 to 1952, Neruda lived in exile, traveling in Europe and Asia. An ardent participant in the peace movement, Neruda became a member of the World Peace Council. Neruda visited the USSR many times. His experiences during these years inspired his lyrical diary Las uvasy el viento (1954; The Grapes and the Wind).

Neruda’s growing interest in a philosophical interpretation of reality was reflected in his Odas elementales (1954; Elementary Odes), Nuevas odas elementales (1956; New Elementary Odes), and Tercer libro de las odas (1957; Third Book of Odes)—published in English as The Elementary Odes of Pablo Neruda (1961) —and in his book of lyrical and grotesque poems Estravagario (1958; Book of Vagaries). Neruda’s collections Navegaciones y regresos (1959; Voyages and Homecomings), Cien sonetos de amor (1960; 100 Love Sonnets), Las piedras de Chile (1960; The Stones of Chile), Cantos ceremoniales (1961; Ceremonial Songs), and Fin de mundo (1969; The End of the World), and his autobiographical poem Memorial de Isla Negra (vols. 1–5, 1964; Memorial to Isla Negra) testify to a broadening of the scope of his poetry.

Neruda also wrote a book of sketches, Viajes (1955; Journeys), as well as essays, literary criticism, and publicistic articles. His Canción de gesta (1960; Song of Heroic Deeds) was devoted to the Cuban Revolution.

Neruda’s poetry is profoundly original. It is characterized by free, unrhymed verse, supple rhythm, and associative imagery. His poetry, which developed along the lines of socialist realism, had a significant influence on the poetry of many countries.

Neruda received the International Peace Prize (1950), the International Lenin Peace Prize for Strengthening Peace Among Nations (1953), and the Nobel Prize for Literature (1971). During the last years of his life, he was an ardent supporter of the Popular Unity Party in Chile.


Obras completas, 2nd ed. Buenos Aires [1962].
Las piedras del cielo. Buenos Aires [1970].
Incitación al nixonicidio y alabaza de la revolución chilena. Santiago, 1973.
In Russian translation:
Izbr. proizvedeniia, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1958.
Plavan’ia i vozvrashcheniia. Moscow, 1964.
Ptitsy Chili. Moscow, 1967.
Chetyre vremeni serdtsa. Moscow, 1968.
Zvezda i smert’ Khoakina Mur’ety. Moscow, 1971.
Oda tipografii. Moscow, 1972.


Ospovat, L. S. Pablo Neruda. Moscow, 1960.
Pablo Neruda: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Compiled by L. A. Shur. Moscow, 1960.
Teitelboim, V. “Pablo Neruda.” Inostrannaia literatura, 1973, no. 11.
Venok Nerude: Sb. stikhov i vospominanii. Moscow, 1974.
Aguirre, M. Genio y figura de Pablo Neruda. Buenos Aires [1964].
Rodríguez Monegal, E. El viajero inmóvil: Introducción a Pablo Neruda. Buenos Aires, 1966.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
He started writing poetry at 10, and when he was 16, he changed his name to Pablo Neruda, probably after the Czech writer Jan Neruda.
I stay at Casa Higueras, with heavy woodpanelled rooms echoing past glories, and a bay view from the Montealegre restaurant that would certainly have pleased Pablo Neruda.
I stay at Casa Higueras, with heavy wood-panelled rooms echoing past glories, and a bay view from the Montealegre restaurant that would certainly have pleased Pablo Neruda.
Esta forma teatral de masas fue adoptada por Victor Jara, Patricio Bunster e Isidora Aguirre en el marco de dos celebraciones del Partido Comunista Chileno y la Bienvenida a Pablo Neruda en tiempos de la Unidad Popular con el fin de congregar al pueblo en el espacio publico y comprometer politicamente a las masas con "la via chilena al socialismo." Detras de todas estas formas de manifestacion masiva y festiva emerge una desconocida tradicion teatral chilena.
SANTIAGO, Chile -- The four-decade mystery of whether Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda was poisoned was seemingly cleared up Friday when forensic test results showed no chemical agents in his bones.
New York, NY, October 02, 2013 --( Pablo Neruda: The Life of Chile's Greatest Poet Available on DVD October 29th