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Neruda’s Editor Says That The Poet Is A Classic Like Shakespeare Or Cervantes

By Dialogo
August 13, 2009

An expert on Pablo Neruda’s poetry and the editor of his complete works, Hernán Loyola, believes that the continuing vigor of the Chilean poet’s legacy makes him a classic “on a level with Cervantes, Shakespeare, or Dante.” Loyola appraised Neruda’s work at Menéndez Pelayo International University (UIMP) in Santander (in northern Spain), where he is offering a course on “Pablo Neruda: From Modernity to Postmodernity in the Twentieth Century,” in which he defends the poet’s continuing significance “despite the fact that his ideology, communism, is dead.” With regard to the Chilean poet’s political side, he explained that “he fought his last ideological battle after having died,” when Augusto Pinochet’s recently-installed dictatorial regime “gave in to the followers who attended the poet’s funeral.” Loyola considers Neruda an “absolute bestseller of twentieth-century poetry,” who despite the passage of years, is still being published, sold, “and copied by people in love, now using text messages.” In his opinion, Neruda is “an all-encompassing poet” because his work “embodies love, the political, the historical, the public, and the private,” enabling him “to define the human condition and transcend any particular era.” Hernán Loyola explained that Neruda’s work is “shamelessly egocentric,” but that, like other universal classics, “he was able to journey through himself to reach others and the world” and sum up “how they interact and how the relationship between the individual and what surrounds him is constructed.”