The Nobel Prize in Literature 1971
Born: 12 July 1904, Parral, Chile
Died: 23 September 1973, Santiago, Chile
Residence at the time of the award: Chile
Prize motivation: “for a poetry that with the action of an elemental force brings alive a continent's destiny and dreams”
Prize share: 1/1
Pablo Neruda was born in Parral, Chile. His father opposed his interest in writing and literature, but Neruda was already working as a journalist and writer when he was 16. In 1921 he moved to Santiago to study French at the university there, but he soon began to devote himself to poetry full-time. Though Neruda made a name for himself as a poet, he remained poor, so he began working as a diplomat in Asia and Europe. He was also a senator for the Communist Party of Chile.
In 1921 Pablo Neruda published the poetry collection titled Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desperada (Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair). This established him as a prominent poet and an interpreter of love and erotica. Official journeys as a diplomat in Asia affected Neruda strongly, which is reflected in two volumes of poems titled Residencia en la tierra (1933 and 1935) (Residence on Earth). Neruda’s Communist sympathies are clear in the work Canto General (1939), an epic poem about the whole South American continent.