An Essay On Chilean Literature

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“Chile, province fertile and marked / in the famed region of Antarctica / by remote nations respected / for its strength, nobility, and power” is part of the poem La Araucana, written by Alonso de Ercilla Zúñiga and considered as the first work of literature in Chile. Spanish soldier, he wrote his epic poem while he spent two years in Chile during the colonial period in the 16th Century.
As other dimensions in Chilean social, economic, and cultural life, literature has also been heavily influenced, in one hand, by the European heritage, mainly coming from the Spanish colonization; and, in the other hand, by the political, cultural, and economic relevance of the Catholic church in Chilean colony, first, and throughout its whole history, later, with ups and downs depending of trends regarding secularization or radical political movements, too.
The efforts of political modernization during throughout the independence and the nation-building process were also shaped by the Enlightenment ideals of rationalization and civilization and it was a trend across the continent. The political upheavals by that time produced
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Indeed, Chile has two Nobel Prizes of literature: Gabriela Mistral was the first Latin American writer awarded with a Nobel in 1945 and Pablo Neruda obtained it in 1971. Both poets of then were major intellectual figures in Latin America and beyond, both also served as diplomats for the Chilean government, and their importance exceeds the intellectual or artistic fields. Mistral was teacher and also had a wide work on essays and took part of key debates of her time, such as women education. Meanwhile, later, Neruda not only wrote poems and participate in cultural life, but he was also politically active. As a member of the Communist party, he was senator and even pre-candidate for
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