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Of Commitments and Compromises: Neruda’s Relationship with Ocampo and the Journal Sur in the Cold-War Period luis e. cárcamo-huechante harvard university  There was a version of the Cold War in South America.1 The epicenters: Buenos Aires and Santiago. It was a plot of literary ideologies and passions: in one corner, Pablo Neruda, and in the other, the journal Sur and its principal director, Victoria Ocampo. Situated in divergent ideological camps, they played leading roles in a literary and intellectual history comprised of coincidences, conflicts, and reconciliations.2 Zigzagging and contradictory, this process was marked by complex intersections between literature, aesthetics, and ideology, thus exemplifying the convictions and questions that arose from the political and historical scene that would emerge after the end of the Second World War.3 In this context, and in order to read literary production in the light of its historical, ideological and aesthetic context, my study proposes to analyze the different positions and orientations that Pablo Neruda assumed in his interactions with Victoria Ocampo and the journal Sur during the Cold War period.4 In The completion of this essay and study would not have been possible without the help of the archives and services of the Fundación Pablo Neruda and the Biblioteca Nacional in Santiago, Chile; the Instituto Ricardo Rojas de Literatura Argentina in Buenos Aires; and the Houghton Library of Harvard University 1 The period of the Cold War started in 1945, and came to an end with the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. For a panoramic recounting of this period, see Palma Castillo (2003); Gaddis (1987). For the Cold War’s impact on literature and culture in Latin America, see Franco (2002). 2 Pablo Neruda (Parral, 1904; Isla Negra, 1973): Victoria Ocampo (Buenos Aires, 1890– 1979). 3 In my essay, I rely mostly on Mannheim’s notion of ideology. For him, ideology involves the adoption of a Weltanchauung or worldview in the historical or social order of reality, or even more concretely within a ‘‘life situation’’ (55–108). In the intellectual history of the Latin American Left, the links between ideology, literature, and society were put into particular relief toward the 1940s and 1950s, starting from the already classic Sartrean reflections on the engagement of the writer (Rodrı́guez Bustamente 63–7; Sartre 11–73). In this context, I cannot fail to mention Althusser’s elaborations on the role of ideology in subject formation, in terms of interpellation and imaginary processes. The Althusserian view began to exert influence in Latin America toward the late 1960s (Fornet-Betancourt 278). 4 In previous studies, this relation has been briefly examined (King 139–40; Meyer 116– 18). 2  Revista Hispánica Moderna 60.1 (2007) examining the course of this changing relationship, it is crucial to consider the role of ideological commitments and alignments, as well as a less emblematic and perhaps more ‘‘frivolous’’ sphere: that of the compromises of literary and cultural sociability. It can be said, in this sense, that Neruda’s relationship with Ocampo and the journal Sur was a story of commitments and compromises.5 Ideological and literary affairs became part of a multi-layered plot in which ideas and values were often interlaced with the pragmatics of literary prestige and public recognition. The Grapes of Wrath After confronting the seemingly pervasive experience of fascism during the 1930s and 1940s, Sur reaffirmed its humanist and liberal principles before a new wave of totalitarianism in the international scene, that of Stalinism.6 Thus, in these years, apart from the publication of a series of anti-fascist articles and the notable effort to translate and circulate European and North-American literature , the pages of the journal also constituted an important space for the dissemination of critical views about the experience of Soviet socialism. Victoria Ocampo and Sur established active interactions with ‘‘dissident’’ writers and intellectuals from the Socialist block and also those from Latin America, the United States, and Western Europe who assumed a critical position with respect to the ideas and regimes of Marxist orientation. Within the series of essays of direct political significance included in Sur, an essay by Czeslaw Milosz, published in translation...


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