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María Luisa Bombal
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María Luisa Bombal

María Luisa Bombal María Luisa Bombal[2†]

María Luisa Bombal (1910-1980) was a pioneering Chilean novelist and short-story writer, renowned for her innovative narrative style and the feminist themes in her works[1†][2†]. Born on June 8, 1910, in Viña del Mar, near Valparaiso, Chile[1†], Bombal’s stories often feature heroines who create fantasy worlds to escape from unfulfilling love relationships and restricted social roles[1†].

Her work incorporates erotic, surrealist themes, and she is recognized as the first to treat magical realism in her works[1†][3†]. Bombal’s unique narrative style and her novel way of capturing the role of women in her different literary works have made her a forerunner in addressing the issue of the repression that existed against women[1†][3†].

Bombal moved to Paris in 1922, where she attended the Lycée La Bruyère and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris[1†]. During her time in Paris, she began to write and also studied drama and learned to play the violin[1†][2†]. Her time in Paris significantly influenced her writing and played a crucial role in shaping her literary style[1†][4†].

Her works, such as “La última niebla” (1935) and “La amortajada” (1938), are considered significant contributions to Latin American literature[1†]. Bombal’s work has left a lasting impact on the literary world, influencing many later proponents of magic realism[1†].

Early Years and Education

María Luisa Bombal was born on June 8, 1910, in Viña del Mar, Chile, to Martín Bombal Videla and Blanca Anthes Precht[2†]. As a child, Bombal attended the Catholic girls school Colegio de los Sagrados Corazones in Santiago[2†].

After her father’s death in 1919, Bombal moved with her mother and sisters to live in Paris[2†]. There, she finished her studies at the Lycée privé Sainte-Geneviève[2†]. Bombal also attended the Lycée La Bruyère and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris[2†][1†]. During her time in Paris, she began to write and also studied drama and learned to play the violin[2†][1†].

Bombal’s time in Paris significantly influenced her writing and played a crucial role in shaping her literary style[2†][4†]. After completing her university studies, she returned to Chile in 1931, where she reunited with her family[2†].

Career Development and Achievements

María Luisa Bombal began her literary career in the 1930s, after returning to Chile from Paris[2†]. Her first novel, “La última niebla” (The Last Mist), was published in 1935[2†][1†]. This novel uses a first-person narrative to describe a woman’s dissatisfaction with her marriage and with society’s expectations for her in that marriage[2†][1†]. Bombal’s innovative narrative style and the feminist themes in her works set her apart in the literary world[2†].

In 1938, Bombal published “La amortajada” (The Shrouded Woman), which earned her the Santiago Municipal Literature Award in 1941[2†]. The protagonist of this novel, while witnessing her own funeral, contemplates her failed love affairs before embracing her "second death"[2†][1†].

While living in the United States, Bombal wrote a novel in English, “The House of Mist”, which was a translation and extensive readaptation of her Spanish-language novel "La última niebla"[2†]. “The House of Mist” details an unloving marriage between Daniel, who clings to the memory of his first wife, and Helga, who takes a mysterious blind lover who may or may not be a hallucination[2†][1†].

Bombal’s work has left a lasting impact on the literary world, influencing many later proponents of magic realism[2†][1†]. Her innovative stories feature heroines who create fantasy worlds in order to escape from unfulfilling love relationships and restricted social roles[2†][1†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

María Luisa Bombal’s literary career was marked by a series of innovative and influential works. Here are some of her most notable publications:

Each of these works played a significant role in shaping Bombal’s literary career and establishing her as a pioneering figure in Latin American literature[2†][5†].

Analysis and Evaluation

María Luisa Bombal’s work is characterized by its innovative narrative style, surreal themes, and feminist perspective[6†][1†]. Her stories often feature heroines who create fantasy worlds to escape from unfulfilling love relationships and restricted social roles[6†][1†]. This unique narrative approach has influenced many later proponents of magic realism[6†][1†].

Bombal’s work is also noted for its lyrical and poetic qualities[6†]. She often explores the theme of women in relation to their surrounding worlds[6†]. Both technically and thematically, Bombal was clearly ahead of her time[6†].

Her stories are examples of Bombal’s experimentation with a new language that reflects a woman’s point of view and thought[6†]. The heroines of her stories struggle to place their own perceptions in a world of phallocentric social structures[6†]. Bombal aimed to create a new rhythm that reflects a more complete view of a world previously divided by sexual hierarchies[6†].

Bombal’s work has been the subject of numerous scholarly analyses[6†][7†]. These studies provide a contextualization of her work and its significance within Latin American letters and feminist literature[6†][7†].

Personal Life

María Luisa Bombal’s personal life was as dramatic and passionate as her literary work. In 1931, upon her return to South America from Paris, she had an intense romance with a pioneer in civil aviation, Eulogio Sánchez Errázuriz[2†]. However, their relationship ended when Sánchez distanced himself from Bombal, leading her to suffer from depression[2†]. After Sánchez stopped responding to her letters, she attempted suicide by shooting herself during a social gathering at his apartment[2†].

In 1933, Bombal married the Argentinian painter, Jorge Larcos[2†][4†]. Their marriage, however, was a lavender marriage, a term used to describe a marriage of convenience between a man and a woman where one or both parties are homosexual[2†]. After Larcos’ death in 1940[2†][4†], Bombal moved to the United States[2†][4†].

While living in the United States, Bombal married Count Raphael de Saint-Phalle[2†][4†], with whom she had a daughter[2†][4†]. She lived in the United States for three decades before returning to South America in 1971[2†][1†]. After the death of her husband, she returned to Chile in 1970[2†][4†].

Throughout her life, Bombal was known for her strong personality and her passion for literature. Despite the challenges she faced, she remained dedicated to her craft, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of Latin American literature[2†][1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

María Luisa Bombal’s work has had a profound impact on Latin American literature. Despite producing only a small body of work during her lifetime and being relatively unknown in English-speaking countries until after her death, she is credited with changing the style, tone, and substance of Hispanic literature[8†]. Her innovative narrative style and the exploration of female characters’ inner lives have influenced many later proponents of magic realism[8†][1†][2†].

Bombal was very influential in the development of contemporary narrative in Latin America[8†][9†]. She has had a profound effect on the development of a feminine perspective among Latin American women writers because of her treatment of the feminine characters in her work[8†][9†]. Her work incorporated erotic, surrealist, and feminist themes[8†][2†], and she is often credited as the first author to introduce the style of magical realism in her works[8†][9†].

Bombal lived her final years in Chile. She became an alcoholic, which led to cirrhosis. Bombal died on May 6, 1980, in Santiago, as a result of gastrointestinal bleeding[8†][2†]. Despite the challenges she faced in her personal life, her legacy as a pioneering and influential writer remains[8†][1†][2†][8†][9†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Britannica - María Luisa Bombal: Chilean author [website] - link
  2. Wikipedia (English) - María Luisa Bombal [website] - link
  3. WarbletonCouncil.org - María Luisa Bombal: biography, literary style, works - science - 2024 [website] - link
  4. The Modern Novel - María Luisa Bombal [website] - link
  5. Goodreads - Author: Books by María Luisa Bombal (Author of La amortajada) [website] - link
  6. eNotes - María Luisa Bombal Analysis [website] - link
  7. Google Books - María Luisa Bombal: apreciaciones críticas [website] - link
  8. Encyclopedia.com - Bombal, María Luisa [website] - link
  9. Encyclopedia.com - Bombal, María Luisa (1910–1980) [website] - link
  10. Encyclopedia.com - María Luisa Bombal [website] - link
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