Unrepentant traveler, accidental diplomat, triumphant Nobel: Gabriela mistral in wartime Brazil

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This study reveals the strategies behind Gabriela Mistral's literary and consular activities in Brazil during the two and a half year period leading up to that nation's declaring war against the Axis (Germany and Italy) in August of 1942. Mistral's allies within Itamaraty helped make her a public representative of anti-fascism during this time. They facilitated the translation and publication of her work in Brazil, and her addresses to the Brazilian academies and contacts with other writers, where the Chilean writer shows a clear understanding of Brazil's importance to the war's outcome. At the same time as Mistral's wartime discourse in Brazil decisively influenced her successful Nobel Prize candidacy, her correspondence registers her increasingly acute estrangement from Chile, including strained relations with Pedro Aguirre Cerda amid her grave concern for Chile's wartime foreign policy. To counter the atmosphere of mistrust and the documented insecurity of her wartime correspondence, Gabriela Mistral systematically expanded her already immense social network. She moved from the fishbowl or Rio to the stronghold of Petrópolis, where she made her homes into way-stations for debriefing anti-fascist travelers in the circuit to and from Washington D.C. In all, during Mistral's residence in Brazil she served multiple masters and uniquely bridged otherwise non-overlapping, outlying nodes of writer-diplomats, war refugees, translators, performers, and more.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-278
Number of pages26
JournalAnales de Literatura Chilena
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2015


  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Diplomacy
  • Gabriela Mistral
  • Latin America
  • Nobel Prize
  • Politics and literature
  • Politics and literature
  • World War 2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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