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Teresa de la Parra

Teresa de la Parra Teresa de la Parra[1†]

Teresa de la Parra (October 5, 1889 – April 23, 1936) was a Venezuelan novelist[1†][2†]. Born as Ana Teresa Parra Sanojo in Paris, she was the daughter of Rafael Parra Hernáiz, Venezuelan Ambassador in Berlin, and Isabel Sanojo de Parra[1†]. As a member of a wealthy family, Ana Teresa spent part of her childhood at her father’s hacienda Tazón[1†]. She is considered one of the most outstanding writers of her time[1†][3†].

Her work rebelled against the limited expectations for women of her class through long hours of reading and writing[1†]. Her fantastic stories were published in the newspaper El Universal, and her Diary of a Caraqueña in the Far East was published in the magazine Actualidades[1†]. Her first major work began with her story Mama X, which earned first prize in a contest held in a provincial Venezuelan city[1†].

Teresa de la Parra’s work remains highly acclaimed in South America and in Europe, where she lived for many years[2†]. She formed a group of French and South American writers in 1926, and the following year began lecturing on the role of women in South America, which she continued doing throughout her life[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Teresa de la Parra was born as Ana Teresa Parra Sanojo on October 5, 1889, in Paris[1†][4†]. She was the daughter of Rafael Parra Hernáiz, the Venezuelan Ambassador in Berlin, and Isabel Sanojo de Parra[1†][4†]. As a member of a wealthy family, Ana Teresa spent part of her childhood at her father’s hacienda Tazón[1†][4†].

When her father died in 1898, her mother took the family to Spain[1†][4†]. As a member of an aristocratic Spanish family, she was sent to a convent to obtain a traditional education[1†][4†]. Under fervent religious precepts, they received a solid education, suitable for upper-class young ladies[1†].

At the age of 19, Ana Teresa returned to Caracas[1†]. After she settled in Paris, de la Parra travelled and had an intense social life[1†]. She began to research a biography of Simón Bolívar, perhaps inspired by the centenary of his death[1†]. However, her idea was interrupted when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Teresa de la Parra’s career as a writer began with her story Mama X, which earned first prize in a contest held in a provincial Venezuelan city[5†]. Her fantastic stories were published in the newspaper El Universal, and her Diary of a Caraqueña in the Far East was published in the magazine Actualidades[5†][1†]. This story, as well as her Diary of a young lady who writes because she is bored (which was published in the magazine La Lectura Semanal) was the beginning of her first major work[5†][1†].

She rebelled against the limited expectations for women of her class by spending long hours reading and writing[5†][1†]. Her work remains highly acclaimed in South America and in Europe, where she lived for many years[5†][2†][5†]. She formed a group of French and South American writers in 1926, and the following year began lecturing on the role of women in South America, which she continued doing throughout her life[5†][2†].

Teresa de la Parra’s work is considered a significant contribution to Latin American literature. Her novels and stories provide a critical examination of the social status of women and the societal restrictions placed upon them in early 20th-century Venezuela[5†][1†].

First Publication of Her Main Works

Teresa de la Parra was a prolific writer, and her works have left a lasting impact on literature. Here are some of her main works:

Each of these works offers a unique perspective on Parra’s life and the times in which she lived. They continue to be studied and appreciated for their literary merit and their insightful commentary on society[2†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Teresa de la Parra’s work has been the subject of extensive analysis and evaluation. Her novels, particularly “Iphigenia: the diary of a young lady who wrote because she was bored” and “Mama Blanca’s Memoirs”, have been critically acclaimed[6†][7†].

“Iphigenia” is a novel that explores the limited options available to women in Caracas in the early 1900s[6†][7†]. The novel’s format, a young woman’s letter and journal, provides a unique perspective on the societal norms of the time[6†][7†]. The title “Iphigenia” serves as an ironic comment on the main character’s sense of self[6†][7†].

“Mama Blanca’s Memoirs”, considered her masterpiece[6†][2†], paints a portrait of the now-vanished world of Venezuelan plantation society at the end of the 19th century[6†][2†]. The memoir of an elderly woman who recounts her childhood on a sugarcane plantation, the book provides a vivid depiction of life during that era[6†][2†].

Her work bridges the gap between Venezuelan and European traditions[6†]. She is seen as a model of Latin American women’s writing whose influence is being rediscovered and reevaluated[6†]. Her contribution to Venezuelan and Latin American literary traditions is significant[6†].

Personal Life

Teresa de la Parra was born into Venezuela’s plantation-owning class[4†]. After the death of her father in 1898, her mother took the family to Spain[4†]. As a member of an aristocratic Spanish family, she was sent to a convent to obtain a traditional education[4†]. At the age of eighteen, she returned to Caracas and lived in the Hacienda Tazón, where she read constantly[4†].

After settling in Paris, de la Parra had an intense social life[4†][1†]. She began to research a biography of Simón Bolívar, perhaps inspired by the centenary of his death[4†][1†]. However, her idea was interrupted when she was diagnosed with tuberculosis[4†][1†]. Teresa de la Parra wandered in several European sanatoriums, mainly in Switzerland and Spain, but did not find a cure[4†][1†]. It was then that she met Cuban poet and anthropologist Lydia Cabrera who would play an important role in de la Parra’s life during her last years[4†][1†].

Teresa de la Parra died in Madrid[4†][1†]. Her remains were exhumed and brought to Caracas in 1947[4†][1†]. In 1989, the 100th anniversary of her birth, she was reburied with honors at the National Pantheon in Caracas[4†][1†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Teresa de la Parra’s work remains highly acclaimed in South America and in Europe, where she lived for many years[1†][2†]. She rebelled against the limited expectations for women of her class by spending long hours reading and writing[1†]. Her fantastic stories were published in the newspaper El Universal, and her Diary of a Caraqueña in the Far East was published in the magazine Actualidades[1†].

De la Parra’s story Mama X earned first prize in a contest held in a provincial Venezuelan city[1†][2†]. This story, as well as her Diary of a young lady who writes because she is bored (which was published in the magazine La Lectura Semanal) was the beginning of her first major work[1†][2†].

While Parra’s first novel received much praise, her second novel, Las memórias de Mamá Blanca (1929), is considered her masterpiece[1†][2†]. The memoir of an elderly woman who recounts her childhood on a sugarcane plantation, the book also paints a portrait of the now-vanished world of Venezuelan plantation society at the end of the 19th century[1†][2†].

She formed a group of French and South American writers in 1926, and the following year began lecturing on the role of women in South America, which she continued doing throughout her life[1†][2†]. Her influence and impact on Venezuelan literature and the role of women in South America are still recognized today[1†][2†].

In 1989, the 100th anniversary of her birth, she was reburied with honors at the National Pantheon in Caracas[1†]. Her legacy continues to inspire and influence the literary world, and she is remembered for her significant contributions to Venezuelan literature[1†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Teresa de la Parra [website] - link
  2. Encyclopedia.com - Parra, Teresa de la (1889–1936) [website] - link
  3. Goodreads - Author: Teresa de la Parra (Author of Las memorias de Mamá Blanca) [website] - link
  4. Encyclopedia.com - Parra, Teresa de la (1890–1936) [website] - link
  5. Prabook - Teresa de la Parra (October 5, 1889 — April 23, 1936), Venezuelan novelist, writer [website] [archive] - link
  6. Cambridge Scholars Publishing - Teresa de la Parra: A Literary Life [website] - link
  7. Cambridge Scholars Publishing - Teresa de la Parra: A Literary Life [website] - link
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