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The Life of Isabel Allende
Transcript of The Life of Isabel Allende
Presented by Kiana Tagabing
Allende was born in 1942 in Lima, Peru.
She was born in an American clinic, since her father wanted her birth to be memorable. Her mother and grandmother had grabbed the first baby they saw, who was Allende. Although she is exactly like her grandmother, Isabel might not be the legitimate daughter of the Allende's.
She is from a mix of Basque, Spanish, Portuegese, and French.
Social Mores in Chile
Her parents are Tomás Allende and Francisca "Panchita" Llona.
Her father was the secretary of the Chilean embassy in Lima.
Due to Tomás' desertion and disaffection, Panchita and Tomas divorced while Isabel and her siblings were at a very young age. The divorce had caused Isabel to easily forget her maternal father since she never got the chance to know what it was like to have a father. She had lived her whole life without knowing what her father's face looked like.
Her mother had eventually married Isabel's stepfather, Tío Ramón.
She has two siblings, Juan Ramon Jimenez and Francisco "Pancho" Allende Llona.
Her grandparents are Isabel Barros Moreira and Augustín Llona Cuevas.
Her uncle, Salvador Allende, was a Chilean diplomat.
Isabel's parents got divorced a couple years after her birth.
Isabel, her mother, and her siblings had went to live in Santiago, Chile .
Isabel and her siblings were under their mother and grandfather's care.
Isabel's mother married her stepfather, Ramón Huidobro ("Tío Ramón"), a career diplomat who was assigned to Bolivia and Beirut.
Isabel attended a private North American school in Bolivia, but got kicked out of the school due to her parents separation, and the fact that her mother had fallen in love with another man; this was unacceptable at that time.
She also attended Dunalastair,a private English school, in Beirut.
After her father went off on a diplomatic mission, she had attended a coeducational American school.
She then left for Lebanon where she attended Miss St. John's School for Girls, a British school. In Lebanon, she was having difficulty understanding and speaking the different languages spoken there.
When Allende's parents were on various diplomatic missions, she stayed at her grandparents' house. Her grandfather had witnessed her lack of education, and personally taught her geography and history. He also enrolled her in private math classes.
She returns to Chile to complete her secondary education due to the Suez Canal crisis.
She meets engineering student and future husband, Miguel Frias.
She applied for a job for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. She was told to write a business letter for the FAO, but instead composed a letter of love and despair.
She was offered a job in the Department of Information.
Isabel worked in the FAO for 7 years.
She married Miguel Frías in 1962.
A year later, Isabel and Miguel's daughter, Paula, was born.
She traveled around Europe, and lived in Brussels and Switzerland with both her husband and daughter from 1964 to 1965.
In 1966, she returned to Chile, where her son, Nicolás, was born.
She wrote for the magazine "Paula", in which she wrote for the humor column "Los impertinentes" from 1967 to 1975.
From 1973 to 1974, Isabel wrote for "Mampato", a children's magazine. She publishes two books for children, "La abuela Panchita" (meaning "Grandmother Panchita"), and "Lauchas y lauchones" (meaning "Civilize Your Troglodyte").
She works on Santiago television Channels 13 and 7, where she hosts a popular comedy program and a popular interview show.
In 1973, Isabel's play "El embajador" is performed in Santiago.
Due to the dictatorship in Chile, Isabel and her family moved to Venezuela and lived there for 13 years in 1975.
She also worked for a Caracas newspaper called "El Nacional" during that year.
She separated from her husband for two months and lived in Spain in 1978.
At Colegio Marroco, a secondary school in Caracas, she works as an administrator from 1979 to 1982.
She divorced Miguel Frías in 1987.
She meets William "Willie" Gordon, her current husband, in San Jose, California.
Isabel married Willie Gordon in San Francisco on July 7th, 1988.
They lived in a house in San Rafael, California.
In 1990, democracy in Chile was restored.
She returned to Chile to accept the Gabriela Mistral prize after her 15 year absence.
In 1998, she was honored with the Dorthy and Lilian Gish Prize for all of her accomplishments.
In 2002, she was honored the WILLA Literary Award and The Celebration of Books Ambassador Award.
In 2003, she was awarded the Cyril Magnin Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 2009, she was awarded the Momentum Award for Storytelling.
In the Chilean society, atheists and masons were dreadful sins.
Hospitals were the source of infections, and you only went there only as a last recourse. They also operated in private homes.
In Chile, there was no divorce.
Women were powerless and were often accused for failed marriages.
Schools were filled with discipline.
During her thirteen years spent at Venezuela, she begun most of her writing there. Her only opportunity to write was at night for her first two novels. She started to write full day after publishing "Of Love and Shadows". Each of her books corresponds to a specific stage in Allende's life.
In Chile, if a woman had large breasts, she had to wear loose blouses to cover them.
If she had curves, she was not allowed to wear pants.
Tragedies in Her Childhood
The 1950's was a decade of stuggle for Allende.
It marked the years of her early adolescence in Venezuela, a country she was not familiar of. She struggled with having the ability to learn several foreign languages.
At school, she was forced to wear a horrendous uniform. She survived a diet of English cuisine that was suitable for prisoners. She had to learn to recite the whole Bible by heart with an English accent. Students would go on the bus, hearing machine-guns fire in the streets, and go through streets of dense smoke and dead bodies.
Chilean people have a good sense of humor, but often hide it in public.
Allende's first novel was "The House of the Spirits". She begun writing it in 1981, and was published a year later in Spanish. The English translation of the book was published in 1984. "The House of the Spirits" was originally a long letter written by Allende to her grandfather after his death. She had never planned out her letter, and her letter slowly became a novel. She used her creativity and related the book to historical events, and political and social situations in Chile.
Her recognition and popularity came from her television program and her column in "Paula".
Tragedies in Her Adulthood
Life in Venezuela
Life went from bad to worse in Allende's thirteen years in Venezuela. In Chile, she was someone, in Venezuela,
she was unknown.Finding a job in Venezuela as a journalist and a screenwriter was difficult. Due to becoming a one-income family at that time, this caused Allende and her husband to be separated for weeks, or even months.
Allende and Miguel were forced to pay huge expenses in order to send their children, Paula and Nicolás, to school. Allende eventually managed to get a job as a journalist for the daily Caracas magazine "El Nacional". She had taken into realization that her Chilean sense of humor would not be appreciated in Venezuela. She had to learn to be able to write in a way that would be appreciated to the people of Venezuela.
Carmen Balcells, Allende's agent, believed that anyone could write a good first book, but her talent could be proved with a second book. She took her words seriously and wrote the book. "Of Love and Shadows" recounted her experience as a journalist in the times of terror. She had written the novel based on the atmosphere she was in at the time of the 9/11. "Of Love and Shadows " was published in 1984. It became a film in 1994. The film was directed by Betty Kaplan. Antonio Banderas also starred in this film.
The 9/11 Attack
The 9/11 Attack caused many people to live in a life of fear and pain.
This includes persecution, murder, and torture.
Many people were forced to take a new direction and immigrate to another country.
Unlike Allende's previous books, "Eva Luna" expressed feminism and narration. At the time when she was writing this novel, she had been experiencing problems in her relationship with Miguel. Starting with "Eva Luna", she began to write full time instead of only at night. Now that her children grew up, her role as a mother was no longer her only priority, allowing her to spend her spear time writing. Eva Luna, the protagonist of the novel, was Allende's favorite female character because she rebelled against her destiny, and made her way by using her one talent, the ability of telling a story. "Eva Luna" was published in 1987.
Allende had written journalism, children's stories, television scripts, humor, two novels translated in several different languages, and many letters. However, she had never considered herself as a writer. Telling stories had saved her from poverty, boredom, and her greatest tragedy, the death of Paula.
"The Stories of Eva Luna" was published in 1989 in Spanish. The English version of the novel was published in 1991. There were twenty-three parts in "The Stories of Eva Luna". The novel is a continuation of Allende's previous novel, "Eva Luna". These stories were inspired by newspaper articles, as well as her love for Willie Gordon, her current husband.
"The Infinite Plan" was published in 1991 in Spanish. The English translation was published in 1993. The novel was based on the life of her current husband, Willie. The public reaction to the novel was mixed because her readers were confused by the fact that her protagonist was a male, instead of a female like her previous novels. They were also confused by the setting because the novel takes place in California, rather than in Chile.
The death of her daughter, Paula.
Allende had suffered during the death and illness of her daughter. For several years, Paula had suffered an attack of porphyria and had fallen into a comma in 1991. She had taken into realization that her daughter was beyond any human aid in May of 1992. Paula had died on December 6th, 1992 in Allende and her husband's home in San Rafael. Due to Paula's death, Allende had suffered a stage of grief and struggled upon continuing her love for writing.
"Paula" was published in Spanish , German, Dutch, and English in 1994. The memoir was based on her daughter, Paula, who died of porphyria . After "Paula" was published, Allende had received hundreds of letters from people with the disease, especially women. Three different continents had prayed for Paula. Teresian schools around the globe had also joined to pray for her daily. A documentary film based on "Paula" was produced by the BBC Channel and narrated by Allende in 1995. The memoir had inspired many people all over the world.
"Aphrodite" was published in Spanish in 1997. The Italian translation was published in January of 1998, and the English translation was published in March of 1998. The novel began as a joke with Robert Shekter, one of Allende's friends. They begun with the idea of Allende writing recipes, and with Shekter drawing the illustrations. This novel was considered a very humorous, well-documented work of Allende's.
In literature, her inspiration came from males. Gabriel Garcia Marquez inspired her to use her imagination. Jose Donoso inspired her to involve her family secrets in her writing. Mario Vargas Llosa inspired her to use the tricks of journalism. Pablo Neruda inspired her to describe nature and explore the world of the senses. Other Latin American authors, including Ernesto Sabato, Julio Cortazar, Jorge Luis Borges, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, and Octavio Paz had also inspired her. Many authors of children's books had inspired her to involve drama, strong characters, adventure, and amazing plots in her stories.
Her first novel, "The House of the Spirits", had first gained her popularity as a fiction author.
In December of 1996, Allende had created the "Isabel Allende Foundation". It promoted the causes of the oppressed, of women, and of abandoned children.
"Daughter of Fortune" was published in Barcelona in November of 1998 by Plaza y Janés. Italian and German translations of the books were published in 1999. HarperCollins in London published the English translation of the book also in 1999. Allende had described the days of the Gold Rush in this novel. She decided that this would be the first novel in a trilogy, with "Portrait in Sepia" as the second part, and "The House of the Spirits" as the third part.
"Portrait in Sepia" was published in Spanish in 2000 by Plaza y Janés. The English translation of the book was published in 2001 by HarperCollins. This was the sequel of "Daughter of Fortune". Allende believed that the theme of this novel was memory. She had used her memories of the 9/11 Attack and expressed them through the characters in "Portrait in Sepia".
"City of the Beasts" was published in Spanish and later in English in 2002. The novel was Allende's first attempt of a young-adult novel. It was one of the best young-adult novels of 2002. This was the first part of the trilogy, along with "Kingdom of the Golden Dragon" as the second part, and "Forest of the Pygmies"as the third part.
"Kingdom of the Golden Dragon" was published in Spanish in 2004, and in English in 2005. This was the sequel to "City of the Beasts".
"Forest of the Pygmies" was published in Spanish in 2004, and in English in 2005. This was the sequel to "Kingdom of the Golden Dragon".
"Zorro" was published in both Spanish and English in 2005. The novel was represented as the prequel for Johnston McCulley's 1919 novel, "The Curse of Capistrano".
"Ines of My Soul" was published in both Spanish and English in 2006. Allende had used a real life sixteenth century figure as the protagonist.
"Island Beneath the Sea" was published in Spanish in 2009, and in English in 2010. Unlike Allende's previous novels that took place in Chile, this novel took place in Haiti.
"Maya's Notebook" was published in Spanish in May of 2012, and in English in April of 2013. This was Allende's most recent novel.
Who is Isabel Allende?
Isabel Allende is a famous Chilean author. She has written many novels including "The House of the Spirits", "Of Love and Shadows", "Eva Luna", and her most recent novel, "Maya's Notebook". She is most read in Chile, Germany, Italy, Holland, Denmark, Spain, and all the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.
Allende is an author who writes for the purpose of understanding life's confusion. Isabel is an inspiration to millions of people around the world because she expressed feminism in her work.
Allende returned to Chile to stay with her grandparents while her parents were on various diplomatic missions.Her grandfather noticed her lack of knowledge and personally taught her geography and history. She was also enrolled into private math classes.
She applied for a job at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. She was given a job in the Department of Information.
She met engineering student, Miguel Frías, who was her first husband.
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When Allende had finished her manuscript, her mother believed that it had a chance in becoming published. Both her mother and her had sent it to several editors and journalists, but they all rejected the manuscript due to the realization that the manuscript was written by a female. The manuscript was finally accepted when Carmen Balcells, Allende's agent made a deal with a book publishing company. The book was translated in several other languages, including German, Scandinavian, and Italian. In 1993, "The House of the Spirits became a film. The film was directed by Billie August and produced by Bernd Eichinger in Munich. The cast of the film included Winona Ryder, Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, and Antonio Banderas.
"Life and Spirits"
By Celia Correas Zapata
Today, Isabel Allende has written 19 books that are translated in 35 different languages. Over 57 million copies of her books are sold. She is entitled to 12 international doctorates, and has won 50 awards in more than 15 countries. Two of her novels are also currently classic films.
Isabel Allende's Official Website