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Artesana de sí misma: Gabriela Mistral, una intelectual en cuerpo y palabra

Claudia Cabello Hutt

Artesana de sí misma by Claudia Cabello Hutt reevaluates the place of Nobel laureate Gabriela Mistral in the literary and intellectual history of Latin America, illuminating and filling a number of lingering voids in the study of this canonical figure. Cabello Hutt introduces readers to Mistral’s vast but scarcely studied journalistic prose as well as her unpublished manuscripts, letters, and images held in the United States, Chile and in the newly opened­ archive of her executor and partner, Doris Dana. Moving beyond her amply discussed poetry, Cabello Hutt demonstrates that Mistral’s essays, visual representations, and gender performance are key to understanding Mistral’s self-fashioning as a Latin American female intellectual and internationally recognized writer. 

From 1920 until her death in 1957, Mistral shaped salient national and transnational debates, brokered relations between major writers, and fashioned a new model of the transnational intellectual in the context of anti-imperialist Latinoamericanism, US-promoted Pan-Americanism, and rising populist politics and social movements of the time. Placing Mistral’s gender, class, and racial performances in richer context, Cabello Hutt reveals them as not only groundbreaking and strategically fashioned, but also as a logical product of the tensions, desires, and power struggles of the cultural field of this period—a cultural field in the process of redefining the interactions between the intellectual, the masses, and political and cultural institutions. Further, by mapping out the transatlantic intellectual networks in which Mistral operated—networks that included José Vasconcelos, Alfonso Reyes, Romain Rolland, Victoria Ocampo, and Joaquín García Monge, among many others—Artesana de sí misma also examines the processes of democratization and modernization that transformed the cultural field in the wider region between 1910 and 1940.

Artesana de sí misma is among the first books to historicize the recently available files of the Mistral legacy. It represents a new comprehension of the modernity of the verbal genius of Gabriela Mistral, the first Nobel laureate in Latin American literature. It concentrates on the first decades of her career, when she came out from a remote Andean valley to traverse all of Chile, from the Atacama Desert to the extreme south. This book reveals Mistral in her letters and in the prose that she published in newspapers, which demonstrates how she built bridges of all kinds by way of her actions as the curator of an original, provocative, and always contradictory public image, initially in Chile and later in post-Revolutionary Mexico, promoting the agrarian and educational reforms of that nation. This book’s attention to history, friendships, and verbal art reveals a writer who’s always relevant, original, strange and contemporary.”

—Elizabeth Horan, Arizona State University

Claudia Cabello Hutt is an associate professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her BA in literature and linguistics from the Catholic University of Chile, and her PhD in Spanish and Latin American literature with a concentration in Gender Studies from Rutgers University. Cabello Hutt’s research focuses on modern Latin America with emphasis on intellectual history, transnational/transatlantic networks of writers and intellectuals, gender studies, and queer theory. She has published on Gabriela Mistral as well as on the networks involving writers and artists such as Victoria Ocampo, Alfonsina Storni, Carmen Conde, and Maruja Mallo. 

PSRL 72. Paper. $45.00. e-Book available.


Page last updated on 18 December 2018.

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