María Luisa Bombal

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María Luisa Bombal.

María Luisa Bombal Anthes (Spanish pronunciation: [maˈɾi.a ˈlwisa βomˈβal]; Viña del Mar, 8 June 1910 – 6 May 1980) was a Chilean author.[1] She was the daughter of Martín Bombal Videla and Blanca Anthes Precht.[2] Her work is now highly regarded, incorporating themes of eroticism, surrealism and feminism, and she ranks among a small number of Latin American female authors whose works received worldwide acclaim.[2]

Following the death of her father in 1919, María Luisa was sent to Paris at the age of 12, where she studied at the college Sainte Geneviève.[2][3] At the institute for literature at the University of Paris she studied literature and philosophy until her return to South America.[4] She also attended the Lycée La Bruyère and the Sorbonne at the University of Paris.[5]

After her return, she married a pioneer in civil aviation, Eulogio Sánchez, who did not share her interest in literature. During their marriage, Bombal began to suffer from depression, and attempted suicide.[4] In 1933 she married the homosexual painter Jorge Larco, forming with him a marriage blanche. With the help of friends, Bombal fled the country to Argentina, where in 1933 she met Jorge Luis Borges and Pablo Neruda in Buenos Aires. In 1937 she returned to Chile due to the beginning of a divorce trial. In 1941 she acquired a revolver, went to the Hotel Crillón and waited for Eulogio, her lover. When he came out, she shot him three times in the arm. She went to trial; however, Eulogio exempted her from all guilt, for which the judge acquitted her. Later she and her third husband emigrated to the United States, where she lived until 1971, when she returned to South America; living first in Argentina and then in Viña del Mar, Chile.[5] There, on 18 September 1976, Bombal again met Jorge Luis Borges. She remained in Chile until her death in 1980.[5]

Bombal's works include:

  • La última niebla/The House of Mist (1935)
  • La amortajada/The Shrouded Woman (1938)
  • El árbol/The Tree (1939)
  • Islas nuevas/New Islands (1939)
  • Mar, cielo y tierra/Sea, Sky and Earth (1940)
  • La historia de María Griselda/The Story of María Griselda (1946)
  • La maja y el ruiseñor/The Maiden and the Nightingale (1960)


  1. ^ Echevarría, Roberto González (ed.) (1997). The Oxford book of Latin American short stories. New York, NY; Oxford: Oxford Univ. Pr. p. 233. ISBN 0195095901. 
  2. ^ a b c Amoia, Alba (ed.); Knapp, Bettina L. (ed.) (2002). Multicultural writers from antiquity to 1945 a bio-bibliographical sourcebook. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press. pp. 34–37. ISBN 0313016488. 
  3. ^ Gazmuri, Cristián. Historia de Chile 1891-1994 : política, economía, sociedad, cultura, vida privada, episodios (1. ed.). Santiago: RIL editores. p. 214. ISBN 9789562849043. 
  4. ^ a b Tompkins, Cynthia Margarita (ed.) (2001). Notable twentieth century Latin American women : a biographical dictionary (1. publ. ed.). Westport, Conn. [u.a.]: Greenwood Press. pp. 43–47. ISBN 0313311129. 
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Verity (ed.) (1997). Encyclopedia of Latin American literature (1. publ. ed.). London [u.a.]: Fitzroy Dearborn. p. 132. ISBN 1884964184. 

Further reading[edit]

Pérez Firmat, Gustavo. Tongue Ties: Logo-Eroticism in Anglo-Hispanic Literature. Palgrave, 2003.