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Chilean Writers in Exile

This bibliography presents selected prose works by Chilean writers living in exile following the 1973 establishment of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, and by authors who managed to publish in Chile during the last several years of the regime. It does not include references to theatre pieces or poetry, which have both played vigorous and important roles in Chile's experience with tyranny. It is further limited to those works available in English, but includes information concerning the original Spanish publications. The exiled writers of Chile have made significant contributions to the literature of human rights. Much of their work has not yet been translated; all of the exile literature deserves wider recognition.

This handout was prepared in conjunction with the program "Questions of Justice: A Forum on the Extradition of Augusto Pinochet," Friday, February 5th, 1999, 7:00 p.m., 220 Kane Hall, University of Washington, Seattle campus.


Fiction
Fernando Alegría, Chilean Spring, written in 1975, translated from the Spanish and published in 1980, is a highly literary account of the shooting of photographer Cristián Montealegre in 1973. This book captures much about the breakdown between political process and private lives, the victim and the witness.

__________, Allende: a Novel is translated from Allende: Mi vecino el presidente which was published in Chile in 1989. It is a fictionalized biography of Allende, not entirely successful as a piece of literature but important within the context of this bibliography.

Isabel Allende, Of Love and Shadows is the English title of De amor y de sombra, first published in Spain in 1984. Less well known than the best seller House of the Spirits, it is a more direct attack on human rights abuses under Pinochet.

de la Parra, Marco Antonio, The Secret Holy War of Santiago de Chile was first published in Chile in 1989, La Secreta guerra Santa de Santiago de Chile, and became an immediate bestseller. It is an insane romp through Chile, "...almost a country, an imitation...."

José Donoso, A House in the Country a translation of Casa de campo originally published in Spain in 1978. A political allegory of Allende's rise and fall, as well as a meditation on writing and the writer in the late 20thcentury, it is one of the most important books of the period.
__________, The Garden Next Door, a translation of El jardín de al lado first published in Spain, 1981, it is a highly literary examination of the condition of exile.
__________, Curfew, published as La desesperanza in Spain in 1986, examines Donoso's own return to Chile and confronts the many ambiguities faced by those on both the right and the left.

Ariel Dorfman, Widows, first published as Viudas in Mexico in 1981, is set in Greece during the second world war, and works as an allegory on the disappeared of Chile.
__________, The Last Song of Manuel Sendero,was originally published in Mexico in 1982 as La última canción de Manuel Sendero. This novel pushes literary forms to the limit and is a direct attack on Pinochet's government.

Antonio Skármeta, Fire at Will is a translation of Tiro libre, a collection of four short stories, first published in Buenos Aires at the end of 1973. These stories and several others have been brought together in a recent collection in English, Watch Where the Wolf is Going.
____________, I Dreamt the Snow Was Burning is translated from Soñe que la nieve ardía, written shortly after the coup, and first published in Spain in 1975. This first novel describes young Chileans coming of age under Allende.
____________, Burning Patience, first appeared in Buenos Aires in 1985 as Ardiente paciencia. It is better known in the U.S. as the film The Postman, and is a tribute to Neruda and the election of Allende. It concludes with the brutal consequences of the military takeover.


Anthologies and Collections
Chilean Writers in Exile; Eight Short Novels, edited by Fernando Alegría. Trumansberg, NY: The Crossing Press, 1982, 162 pages. This collection contains The First Days/Los primeros días by Alfonso Gonzales Dagnino (Spain); Of Flights and Abidings by Juan Armando Epple (U.S.); Barbed Wire Fence/Cerco de puas by Aníbal Quijada (Mexico); War Chorale/Coral de guerra by Fernando Alegría (U.S.); Like the Hyena by Poli Délano (Mexico); St. Elizabeth by Claudio Giacomi (U.S.); My Beautiful Buenos Aires by José Leandro Urbina (Canada); Putamadre by Ariel Dorfman (Netherlands). Countries in parentheses indicate the location of each author at the time this collection was published.

Flight from Chile, compiled by Thomas C. Wright and Rody Onate. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1998. 232 pages. An important new collection of oral transcripts taken from many Chilean exiles documents the experience of exile and repatriation.

Paradise Lost or Gained? The Literature of Hispanic Exile, edited by Fernando Alegría. Houston, Texas: Arte Publico Press Book, 1990. 240 pages. This anthology contains creative writing from many Latin American countries, including Chile.


Essays and Memoirs

Fernando Alegría, "One True Sentence," in Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, New York. 1981, 30, p.21-23. Examines the process of trying to write in exile.

José Donoso, The "Boom" in Spanish American Literature: a Personal History. The second edition of Historia personal del "Boom" was published in 1983 and has not yet been translated. This valuable study examines literature from the perspective of the writers themselves; the second edition includes observations on the experience of exile.

Ariel Dorfman, "Ideology, Exile, Language: an Interview with Ariel Dorfman," in Salmagundi, Saratoga Springs, NY. 82-83, p. 142-163. Dorfman gives a cogent explanation of the leftist intellectual's defense of Cuba, as well as many insights into the life of an exiled writer and the relationship of literature to politics.

Jorge Edwards, Persona non grata; an Envoy in Castro's Cuba first appeared in Spain in late 1973. This highly literary, autobiographical critique of his experience in Cuba as Allende's diplomatic representative was one of the first published criticisms of Castro's government from a leftist writer. Thus Edwards was twice-exiled---from Chile after the coup and from most of his intellectual peers.

Mary Lusky Friedman, "The Chilean Exile's Return; Donoso versus Garcia Marquez," in America's Review: A Review of Hispanic Literature and Art of the USA, Houston, Texas. 1990, 18, p. 3-4+.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littin. Although not a Chilean, Garcia Marquez has contributed an important account of the 1985 "illegal" trip to Chile made by film director Miguel Littin. La aventura de Miguel Littin, clandestino en Chile was first published in Bogota in 1986.

Patricia Politzer, Fear in Chile; Lives under Pinochet was first published in Santiago under the title Miedo en Chile in 1985, after being rejected by several Chilean publishers; it rapidly became a best seller.

Angel Rama, "Founding the Latin American Literary Community," in Review: Latin American Literature and Arts, New York. 1981, 30, p.10-13.

Hernán Valdés, Diary of a Chilean Concentration Camp was first published as Tejas Verdes: diario de un campo de concentración en Chile in Spain in 1974. It is a harrowing personal account written in retrospect just a few months after Valdés fled the country.

Thomas C. Wright, "Legacy of Dictatorship; Works of the Chilean Diaspora," in Latin American Research Review, Austin, Texas. 1995, 30;3, p. 198-209.


Prepared by Glenda Pearson, Interdisciplinary Committee for the Human Rights Education and Research Network (HRERN).
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Last updated July 5, 2000.