Monday, October 25

‘From woman to woman’, Gabriela Mistral’s sisterhood with Spanish exiles

Gabriela Mistral.

Gabriela Mistral.

Gabriela Mistral She was one of the great writers of the 20th century and a fundamental support for the Spanish exiles. One volume now brings together the Correspondence of the Chilean woman with Spanish intellectuals as Maruja mallo O Victoria Kent and dive into the female universe of the Spanish exile.

The volume, ‘From woman to woman. Letters from Exile to Gabriela Mistral (1942-1956) ‘, gathers the letters of ten women and It shows the immense network of international support that the Nobel Prize in Literature generated with Spanish intellectuals in exile, to whom she was closely linked after her stay in Madrid as consul of Chile (1933-35).

Volume gathers letters between Mistral and Zenobia Camprubí, Maruja Mallo, Teresa Díez Canedo, María de Unamuno, María Zambrano or Victoria Kent. In them, Spanish women write to him to ask for support in finding work, establishing relationships in their new countries, listening to a few words of encouragement or simply talking about their concerns.

“In reality, restlessness reigns throughout the Earth, a bad time, the one that touches the old, and the one that touches the young and the little creatures, who only give joy with their wise innocence”, Teresa Díez Canedo writes, wife of Enrique Díez Canedo, promoter of the Colegio de México.

Almost all the letters included in ‘From woman to woman’, signed by Francisca Montiel Rayo and published in Cuadernos de Obra Fundamental de la Fundación Banco Santander, are mostly unpublished and span from 1942 to 1956.

For Francisco Javier Expósito, literary manager of Fundación Banco Santander, the book becomes relevant in times of pandemic, its “philanthropic spirit” is an example for the pandemic, because it speaks of hope in times of difficulty.

As a whole they show “sorority, friendship and solidarity“which reigned in the relations between the Chilean writer and Spanish intellectuals and which she kept meticulously in her archive, which is currently in the National Library of Chile, says Montiel.

They all express their “admiration” and on occasions, devotion, Montiel relates: “Mistral was an emotional balm that gave them, at times, the emotional relief they needed“.

María Zambrano tells him how during a stay in Chile a group of women gave her a bouquet of wheat ears that she kept until she left Spain and then buried it near the border before going to France.

“! Maybe it has germinated and some grain of wheat from your land will sprout in mine, so painful! …” “I would like to tell you that God keep it. But He has always kept it . (…) Take me for someone who must always love her, even if she doesn’t see her. ”

Mistral helped with his influence, money and relationships to all the exiles who asked him to. and was key in the departure of several of them, such as the artist Maruja Mallo. It can be seen in a series of letters from Mistral herself that also includes the volume.

Week by week I take care of the people who are on this side of the Pyrenees. Until today my book has given about thirty thousand francs, which Victoria Kent has distributed among the children who left at the last minute, and among some teachers, “wrote the Nobel Prize winner Teresa Díez-Canedo.

Or in his letter to María Zambrano: “Today, I see Europe more damaged than ever, more torn in its vital viscera, my virtue and Creole virtues are greatly enlarged “.

In addition to the missives, ‘De mujer a mujer’ the book includes two likenesses of the writer, by María Enciso and Victoria Kent. That of the latter says: “She loved Spain with the knowledge and love of a Spanish creature, she was hurt by the misery of the Spanish people and she protested about it and so many Spanish things.”

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