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Solitude and Multitude

Tony Gould, 13 February 1992

Pablo NerudaAbsence and Presence 
by Luis Poirot, translated by Alastair Reid.
Norton, 185 pp., £25, March 1991, 0 393 02770 8
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Adios, Poeta 
by Jorge Edwards.
Tusquets Editores, 335 pp., ptas 1,800, November 1990, 84 7223 191 7
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... younger generation, the Chilean writer and diplomat Jorge Edwards, the most enigmatic thing about Pablo Neruda was the way he could switch in one bound, so to speak, from solitude to sociability. This poet of the sea and of lonely places was also one of the most gregarious people Edwards has ever known. ...

Dressed as an Admiral

Michael Wood: Neruda’s Hocus Pocus, 2 September 2004

by Pablo Neruda, translated by Hardie St Martin.
Souvenir, 370 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 9780285648111
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Isla Negra: A Bilingual Edition 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Alastair Reid.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £14.99, June 2004, 0 285 64913 2
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The Essential NerudaSelected Poems 
edited by Mark Eisner.
City Lights, 199 pp., $16.95, April 2004, 0 87286 428 6
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... Ilya Ehrenburg had a complaint about his friend Pablo Neruda’s work. ‘Too much root,’ he said. ‘Too many roots in your poems. Why so many?’ Neruda, reporting this remark in his memoirs, took it as a joke, which it probably was, and as a compliment, which it probably wasn’t ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... a form of extreme integrity. Lowell’s visit was partly intended to counter the influence of Pablo Neruda, and although Neruda was a brave and fearless figure it is sometimes hard to discern his integrity. He revered Lenin, thought that the Soviet Union could do no wrong and sounds at times like a champagne ...

A Match for Macchu Picchu

Christopher Reid, 4 June 1981

Translating NerudaThe Way to Macchu Picchu 
by John Felstiner.
Stanford, 284 pp., $18.50, December 1980, 0 8047 1079 1
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The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation 
edited by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 608 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 214103 1
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... John Felstiner’s Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu is an unusual, honest and enterprising book, but ultimately something of a disappointment. Its title suggests a book-lover’s pilgrimage, an intellectual adventure of the order of, say, The Quest for Corvo or The Road to Xanadu. A great deal of the pleasure it offers derives from the openness – rare in the academic field, where positions tend to be held with entrenched fervour – that the author permits in telling of his unique journey ...

Short Cuts

Eyal Weizman: Arafat’s Tomb, 9 January 2014

... work of Pinochet’s troops. Both exhumations failed to prove murder. Last year Chile also exhumed Pablo Neruda, to determine whether his apparent death from cancer in 1973, shortly after he published an article denouncing Pinochet, was actually the result of poisoning. No signs of poison were found, but the Chilean Communist Party complained that the ...


Rosemary Dinnage: In Paris, 2 February 1984

... one uncompromisingly at every turn – by the Palais des Sports Maurice Thorez, in the Parc Pablo-Néruda, around the corner from the Supermarché Yuri Gagarine. Blocks of flats stand in serried ranks, and it is unblinkingly ugly. Vitry is twinned with Burnley, Lancs, and seems nearer to it than to Notre-Dame. It is all the more of a pleasure to ...

In the Sonora

Benjamin Kunkel: Roberto Bolaño, 6 September 2007

The Savage Detectives 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 577 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 0 330 44514 6
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Last Evenings on Earth 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
Harvill, 277 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 84343 181 7
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by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 184 pp., $21.95, January 2007, 978 0 8112 1664 7
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... the anti-rhetorical Chilean poet whose work Bolaño preferred to that of the more celebrated Pablo Neruda – a preference, it seems clear, for Parra’s plain-spokenness over Neruda’s florid multiplication of metaphor – and, in his telling, this was practically all the work towards socialism Bolaño ...

Disaffiliate, Reaffiliate, Kill Again

Jeremy Harding: Régis Debray, 7 February 2008

Praised Be Our Lords: The Autobiography 
by Régis Debray, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 328 pp., £19.99, April 2007, 978 1 84467 140 3
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... served nearly four years in jail for his trouble. In Chile he was taken up by Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda. Ten years later he became an adviser at the Elysée to François Mitterrand, his country’s only postwar socialist president. He is a revolutionary Third Worldist turned revisionist, turned Gaullist – his Gaullism a lament for the absence of ...
... exiled: he simply chose to remain in Europe. Edwards had been chargé d’affaires in Paris after Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet and Allende’s ambassador there, had fallen ill and returned to Chile, and he stayed on in Spain until the situation in Chile improved sufficiently for him to feel he could return. Before coming back for good the ...

The Unreachable Real

Michael Wood: Borges, 8 July 2010

The Sonnets 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Stephen Kessler.
Penguin, 311 pp., $18, March 2010, 978 0 14 310601 2
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Poems of the Night 
by Jorge Luis Borges, edited by Efraín Kristal.
Penguin, 200 pp., $17, March 2010, 978 0 14 310600 5
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... finally that he writes in a ‘stately old-world register’ because ‘unlike his contemporaries Pablo Neruda and César Vallejo … Borges in his poetry … has little interest in “making it new”.’ This story gets sadder with every assertion. Admirers of Borges’s fictions will expect to be delighted to meet almost any version of him. But this ...

Rumba, Conga, Communism

Neal Ascherson, 4 October 1984

Family Portrait with Fidel 
by Carlos Franqui, translated by Alfred MacAdam.
Cape, 262 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 224 02268 7
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Infante’s Inferno 
by G. Cabrera Infante, translated by Suzanne Levine.
Faber, 410 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 571 13292 8
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... Americans) by preferring to visit a zoo rather than an art gallery. Franqui wanted guests like Pablo Neruda in Cuba, but Fidel’s choice to sit at his table at the first New Year ball of the revolution was the old black boxer Joe Louis. Fidel, so Franqui now accuses, wanted to impose on Cuba the punishments and deprivations he had undergone at his ...


Richard Gott: Víctor Jara’s Chile, 17 September 1998

... as a politicised musician, singing his own songs in folk clubs and at political rallies. Like Pablo Neruda and several other stars of the Chilean cultural world, he was a member of the Communist Party. He had travelled widely in Latin America and in Eastern and Western Europe, and had even spent time with theatre groups in Britain, courtesy of the ...

Don’t do what Allende did

Greg Grandin: Allende, 19 July 2012

Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War 
by Tanya Harmer.
North Carolina, 375 pp., £38.95, October 2011, 978 0 8078 3495 4
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... with Communist and Socialist votes, set about repressing the left and the trade unions. His friend Pablo Neruda fled the country. Allende stayed, denouncing the crackdown but working to get national healthcare enacted in 1952, 13 years after first proposing the idea. Allende won his first Congress seat with a total of 2021 votes, barely 3 per cent of his ...

11 September 1973

Christopher Hitchens: Crimes against Allende, 11 July 2002

Pinochet in Piccadilly: Britain and Chile’s Hidden History 
by Andy Beckett.
Faber, 280 pp., £15.99, May 2002, 0 571 20241 1
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... class who wanted some say in how the country’s natural resources were exploited, and by whom. Pablo Neruda may have been a dank Stalinist in his politics, and have allowed this to infect his poetry, but he was writing as a patriot when he composed the potent verses entitled ‘They Receive Instructions against Chile’ (translated here by Robert ...

A New World

Amit Chaudhuri: Selections from a work in progress, 30 September 1999

... his authors had deserted him, only one returned to him shadowily and he uttered his name: ‘Pablo Neruda.’ That’s very interesting,’ the Englishman had said, adding wryly, ‘But wasn’t he a diplomat? It seems we do some good things sometimes.’ There was a gentle murmur of laughter round the table, in which Jayojit, just 24 years old, had ...

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