Isabel Allende: A Sublime Writer

A warrior of writing whose weapons are love and beauty. We invite you to join us on this short journey to learn more about one of the most acclaimed Latin American writers of recent decades.
Isabel Allende: a sublime writer

Isabel Allende Llona is a Chilean writer whose works have been translated into thirty-five languages. With more than seventy million copies sold, she is considered the most widely read living Spanish-language author in the world. She is also the daughter of diplomat Tomas Allende Pesce, cousin of the former president of Chile, Salvador Allende, who was ousted following the September 11, 1973 coup.

Through her writings, Isabel Allende has been able to reveal the sublime beauty that characterizes the female universe, evoking, in an almost magical way, those generally repressed, latent characteristics of her readers. In an era characterized by enormous political unrest, he opted for a literary activism contrary to the widespread patriarchal ideology and offered women an important manifesto to allow them to “wake up” and take their lives in hand.

With an exquisite sensitivity, Isabel Allende has been able to transmit to us an unconditional love for beauty, for the beauty that exists in the world and in people. Reading her works or listening to her speak is an activity that can truly elevate our spirits.

A woman who has always tried to make the world a better place. A militant whose weapons are love and beauty.Today, with this article that wants to be a small tribute to this great woman who has given us so much, we will cover the various stages of her life and part of her work.

The early years

Born in Lima, Peru, the city where she lived for the duration of her father’s diplomatic career. It was following the separation of her parents that Isabel returned to Chile with her mother and siblings. For a time they lived in the house of their maternal grandfather,  a figurehead who had a great influence on some important aspects of Isabel’s life. After finishing her studies, she married her first husband, Miguel Frías, father of her two children: Paula and Nicolás.

In 1967 she became the editor of the women’s magazine Paula. Her articles, focusing on the role of women in Chilean society, were hilariously ironic and, therefore, were the subject of controversy. It was a time of great changes for Chile, under the banner of modernity and the women’s liberation movement within a Catholic, conservative and patriarchal society.

Isabel gives speech

The career and exile of Isabel Allende

Following the coup in Chile, Isabel Allende was forced to retire into exile in Venezuela, where she remained for thirteen years working for a newspaper and in a school. During his stay in Venezuela he received the news of the very serious health of his grandfather.

Unable to travel to Chile to be near him, Isabel began writing him a letter that would later become an unprecedented literary success for a South American woman: The House of the Spirits . In 1993, this work was also transposed to the big screen by Bille August and even in that case it met with great success.

Following the success of her first novel, Allende writes two more books that were once again an absolute success in the world of literature: D’amore eombra and Eva Luna . Shortly after the publication of his third novel, he decided to quit his teaching job to devote himself to writing full-time.

After divorcing her first husband, she married William Gordon, a US lawyer, and moved to the United States, where she lived until 1988.

The death of his daughter Paula and the return to life

In 1992 his daughter Paula tragically died at the age of 28 in a Madrid hospital. This event was a severe blow to Isabel, who fell into a state of deep sadness and despair from which she could not get out for a long period of time.

During this long and painful mourning, he wrote the novel Paula , a reflection of his beloved daughter’s childhood and youth. A tribute of love to his daughter that soon turned out to be another authentic best seller in which many women could recognize themselves.

Paula is a novel that, just like The House of the Spirits , was born as a letter, a declaration of love, and at the same time a journey towards acceptance of the death of her daughter. The writing of this work began in the hospital, while Isabel was at her daughter’s side and watched her die little by little. Carefully analyzed, it is possible to note that Paula is not just a letter, but an autobiographical story in which the author tells the story of her family.

Choosing as a context the situation in her country and the dramas and travels of her family, Allende lays bare her soul in this work. On many occasions Isabel Allende has spoken of the healing power of writing that allows us to face the great dramas of life. And in fact in Paula we can feel how the author gradually accepts the reality and the death of her daughter. A novel that, in a certain sense, represented a therapeutic exercise, an awareness of reality.

With the proceeds from the novel’s sales, the Chilean writer founded the Isabel Allende Foundation as a tribute to her daughter, who had worked as a social educator and psychologist in some marginalized communities in Venezuela and Spain.

Four years later, after her deep depression, Isabel writes Aphrodita . This book has turned into an ode to life and a pleasure for the senses. It is considered a life song dedicated to gratitude and sensuality, written with the same sensitivity that characterizes the previous works.

Isabel Allende lecture

Isabelle Allende and the wonderful reflection of the female world

All the works of Isabel Allende make us think in some way of Dante’s beloved muse, Beatrice, who gave life to the stereotype of the “Woman of the screen”, so idealized by the male universe.

The woman who, by the mere fact of existing, makes the beloved a better man. Women who return the reflection of those who love them. The great other through which one can reunite with one’s own divine nature. The source behind the mirror, the one from which the creativity, inspiration and best virtues of each arise, elevating it above human potential. The “mirror woman” that Dante saw in his Beatrice.

In a personal and professional way, Isabel Allende was able to transform this archetype of the “women of the screen” proposed by Dante and created with her literature a new mirror in which women reflect, recognize and fall in love with themselves.

Throughout all of Allende’s works we find an infinite number of women as protagonists, distinct from each other and from different backgrounds, just as happens in reality. An example of this is The City of Beasts , a work in which, although the woman is not the main protagonist, she still has a fundamental role. To this it must be added that the woman we meet in the novel is of a certain age, but this is not enough to make her give up.

Furthermore, the literature of the Chilean writer is a reflection of Latin America. Of its uses and customs, of its traditions, of the existing dualism and of the indigenous tribes. Allende claims the beauty of people and the world in any corner, in any society, no matter how remote it is.

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