Isabel Allende
Lecture Date: 3-27-1995
Click the link below to listen ot his celebrity's lecture:
Interview: Dean John Eadie and Professor Robert Fiore of Michigan State University introduce Argentinean writer, Isabel Allende. Fiore shares Allende's turbulent past with the audience, both in terms of her personal life and literary career. In her lecture, Allende explains that she has been a storyteller since her childhood. She recounts stories of how she first became a writer and realized the power of stories. For Allende, stories are a means of explaining and exploring humanity; fictional creation is important across all cultures. She goes on to read a passage from her latest work, Paula, a memoir of the untimely death of her own daughter. Allende speaks of writing as moving between this dimension and another, more emotional, spiritual world. She describes what she believes a matriarchal government would be like and the importance of feminism in our society. Allende is a wanderer and she does not see any physical place as her home, but she believes that this has aided her with her writing. The author reads sections from Paula which recounts both comic and dramatic events from her life. Allende then begins taking questions from the audience. She expounds her thoughts on Latin American literature and the portrayal of women: women are a rising force in Latin American literature; therefore they are being more accurately represented and their voices are being heard. She discusses her novel Eva Luna and what it takes to be a writer. She finishes the lecture by offering advice to aspiring writers and describing her writing method.
Biography: Isabel Allende (1942- ), niece of former Chilean president Salvador Allende, is one of today’s most prominent Chilean writers. She has lived many years in California, having lived abroad ever since the 1973 coup that deposed her uncle. Her fiction, an example of traditional realism, deals with political as well as feminist issues. The House of Spirits (1982, tr. 1985), her first and most famous novel, relates the story of a Chilean family over three generations. Other works include Of Love and Shadows (1984, tr. 1987), Eva Luna (1987, tr. 1988), The Infinite Plan (1991, tr. 1993), and Portrait in Sepia (2001, tr. 2001). She has accomplished much over her writing career, but according to Allende, “my most significant achievement is not my writing, but the love I share with my family.”