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Pablo Neruda: A Passion for Life [Hardcover]

Adam Feinstein
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

12 July 2004
More than 30 years after the death of the Nobel Prize-winning Chilean poet, millions around the globe continue to woo their lovers with lines from his Twenty Love Poems and A Song of Despair. Millions more have been enchanted by the emotional directness of the Elemental Odes, the epic power of the Canto General and the dazzling lyricism of his later love poetry. Neruda was a complicated man, both politically and emotionally. There were three marraiges and many love affairs - and Feinstein draws on interviews with the poet's closest friends, acquaintances and surviving relatives, as well as newly discovered documents, to explore those complexities. He follows Neruda's development from a sickly, sensitive child in southern Chile in the early years of the century to a writer of growing fame whose political sympathies led to friendship with Federico Garcia Lorca and active support for the Republican cause during the Spanish Civil War. Then came a year in hiding from Chile's dictator, under threat of death, before a dramatic escape to exile, and through it all his controversial loyalty to Stalinism even after Stalin's crimes had been exposed.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (12 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747571929
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747571926
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 15.8 x 4.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,326,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'Illuminates the poetry without diminishing the man. It is a revelatory and just record of the man and the poet’ -- Irish Times

A scrupulous, well-balanced and timely portrait -- The Times

Dazzling … this brilliant biography -- The Observer

Like its subject, [Feinstein’s] study is large, warm-hearted and engaging -- The Spectator

This is a good, thorough, committed biography, sprinkled with plenty of well-translated poetry -- The Daily Telegraph

fuelled by an infectious enthusiasm for the poems ... crammed with adventure stories, narrow scrapes and passionate encounters. -- Andrew Motion, Guardian

‘He made poetry seem glamorous and active' -- Financial Times

‘Neruda lurches from the pages as a fully-formed human being, beset by defects and blessed with a capacity for living' -- Hugh Macdonald, Glasgow Herald

‘This is a good, thorough, committed biography, sprinkled with plenty of well-translated poetry … Some scenes are extraordinary’ -- Ann Wroe, Daily Telegraph

About the Author

Adam Feinstein has published articles on Spanish and Latin American literature in many newspapers and magazines, and has translated the work of Federico Garcia Lorca and Mario Benedetti for Modern Poetry in Translation. He has worked for the Latin American Service of the BBC and has been a London correspondent for one of Spain's leading national daily newspapers, El Mundo. He lives in London.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A racy narrative, crowded with fresh detail 12 July 2004
By A Customer
Not many writers lead such a colourful life as Neruda. The Chilean Nobel prize winner was not only a diplomat, a world class poet, and a lover of many women--- he had three wives and many mistresses---he was also a supporter of the Republican cause in Spain, responsible for rescuing many of Franco's enemies, and a staunch left-winger who wanted to write for the many rather than the few . . He was forced to flee for his life over the Andes on a donkey when the Chilean government became a tyranny, and was close to Allende at the time of his death. Feinstein tells the story judiciously; he honestly addresses the poet's continuing support for Communism, even after Stalin's crimes were widely known , and does not attempt to palliate his many infidelities. Whata comes through is Neruda's passion for life, and Feinstein's passion for his subject. A riveting read.
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