Silvina Ocampo

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Silvina Ocampo

Silvina Inocencia Ocampo (Buenos Aires July 21, 1903-14 December 1993) was a writer, storyteller and Argentine poet. His first book was Viaje olvidar (1937) and the last Las repeticiones, published posthumously in 2006. For much of his life, his figure was overshadowed by those of his sister Victoria, her husband, Adolfo Bioy Casares, and his friend Jorge Luis Borges, but over time her work has been recognized and she became considered a fundamental author of twentieth-century Argentine literature.

Before consolidating as a writer, Ocampo was a visual artist, studying painting and drawing in Paris where she met, in 1920, Fernand Léger and Giorgio de Chirico, precursors of surrealism.

He received, among others, the Municipal Prize for Literature in 1954 and the National Prize for Poetry in 1953 and 1962.

Silvina_Ocampo’s Biography

Silvina Ocampo was born on July 21, 1903 in Buenos Aires, in a house on Calle Viamonte 550. She was the youngest of the six daughters of Manuel Silvio Cecilio Ocampo and Ramona Aguirre Herrera (Victoria, Angelica, Francisca, Rosa , Clara María and Silvina). His family belonged to the high bourgeoisie, a fact that allowed him to have a very complete training, with three governesses (one French and two English), a teacher of Spanish and another of Italian, in such a way that both Silvina and her sisters grew up learning to read in English and French before Spanish, this trilingual training would later influence her writing, according to the writer herself.

His ancestors belonged to the Argentine aristocracy and were owners of extensive lands. His great-great-great-grandfather, José de Ocampo, was governor of Cuzco before moving to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. Manuel José de Ocampo (his great-great-great-grandfather) was also an important leader and was one of the first to govern when independence was finally declared. His great grandfather Manuel José de Ocampo y González was a politician and candidate for president of the country, and was also a friend of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. His grandfather, Manuel Anselmo Ocampo was a rancher. [Citation needed] Another of his ancestors was Domingo Martínez de Irala, conqueror of Asunción and future governor of the Río de la Plata and Paraguay. The brother of the great-great-grandmother of Ocampo, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, was Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata and a friend of San Martín. Another distant relative is Juan Manuel de Rosas who was the main caudillo until 1852. [citation required]

His mother, Ramona Máxima Aguirre, was one of eight children and liked to do gardening and play the violin. His family was very Creole and religious. His father, Manuel Silvio Cecilio Ocampo Regueira was born in 1860 and was one of the most revered architects in Argentine history. His daughter Victoria described him as handsome and distinguished. He was one of nine children and had a conservative and sometimes humorous nature.

In winter he visited his great-grandfather (who lived nearby) daily and in summer his family lived in a villa in San Isidro, a modern house that in his time had electricity and running water. Currently this house (Villa Ocampo) is a UNESCO site and recognized as a historical jewel. In summer on the second floor she took classes where she learned the fundamentals that would later help her to become a revered author.

The critic Patricia Nisbet Klingenberg maintains, however, that as a child Ocampo “lived a lonely existence, relieved primarily by the companionship of various household workers (…) This, then, is the place from which her works emerges, from memory and identification with those identified as other. “

Some of the things that most impressed her during her youth were the marriage of her sister Victoria and the death of her sister Clara. He affirmed that Victoria’s wedding takes away his youth, he says: “There was an episode in my childhood that marked our relationship very much: Victoria took away the nanny that I loved the most, the one who cared for me the most, who spoiled me the most: Fanni. She loved me more than anyone else, Fanni knew that I adored her, but when Victoria got married and took her away with her nobody dared to oppose her. “She also claims that she begins to hate sociability when Clara dies. / p>

In 1908 he traveled to Europe with his family for the first time, then (still in his youth) he studied drawing in Paris with Giorgio de Chirico and Fernand Léger. [citation required] Among his friends was the Italian writer Italo Calvino, who prefaced his stories. Back in Buenos Aires, he worked painting with Norah Borges and María Rosa Oliver, and made several exhibitions, both individual and collective. When in 1931 Victoria founded the magazine Sur, which published articles and texts of many of the most important writers, philosophers and intellectuals of the 20th century, Silvina was part of the founding group, although, like Borges and Bioy, it did not have a preponderant place in the decisions on the contents to be published, a task carried out by Victoria and José Bianco.

In 1932 he met Adolfo Bioy Casares, whom he married in 1940. The relationship between the two was complex, and he openly had lovers. Some authors have described Ocampo as a victim but others, like Ernesto Montequin, have rejected this portrait: “That puts her in a place of handicap.” The relationship with Bioy was very complex, she had a fairly full love life … The relationship with Bioy he could make her suffer, but it also inspired her. ” In 1954 Marta, an extramarital daughter of Bioy, was born, whom Ocampo raised as her own. They remained together until her death, despite frequent infidelities of her husband.

First publications

In 1937 he published his first book of stories, Journey forgotten. Composed of short stories (the majority does not exceed two pages), the book was reviewed by Victoria Ocampo in the magazine Sur, where she pointed out the autobiographical marks of the stories and reproached her for having “distorted” those memories of childhood. 14] Sur was created by Victoria and played a foundational role in Silvina’s life: “There, the first stories, poems and translations of her younger sister appear, where a solid group of writers is formed that also arms the privileged and narrow circle of elective affinities of Silvina: Borges, Bioy, Wilcock … ”

Despite the initial negative criticism of the forgotten Journey, nowadays the book is considered a fundamental text within the work of the writer, in which the traits and themes that characterize her writing already appear, and which she would develop and perfecting in later books. [Quote required] A few years later he collaborated with Borges and Bioy in the preparation of two anthologies: Anthology of Fantastic Literature (1940), with a prologue by Bioy, and Antología poética argentina (1941). In 1942 appeared two poems, Enumeración de la Patria and Metric Spaces, from then on, alternated narrative with poetry. [Citation required]

In 1948 he published Irene’s autobiography, stories where he shows greater ease in writing and a greater influence of Borges and Bioy appears. [citation required] Despite this, the book did not have much impact at the time of its appearance . Two years before he had written a four-handed police novel with Bioy Casares, Those who love, hate.

After several years of publishing only poetry (Los sonetos del jardín, Desperate Love Poems, Los nombres, which won the National Poetry Prize) he returned to the story in 1959 with La furia, with which he finally gained some recognition and often to consider the moment in which Silvina reaches the fullness of her style and the treatment of her subjects.

The 60

The 1960s would be somewhat less active in terms of editorial presence, since it only published the volume of stories Las invitadas (1961) and the collection of poems Lo amargo por dulce (1962). In contrast, the 1970s was somewhat more fertile. The poems of Celestial Yellow, Buenos Aires Trees and School Singing, the stories of The Days of Night and a series of children’s stories appeared: The Flying Chest, The Slide, The Winged Horse and The Wonderful Orange. [Citation required]

Last years and posthumous publications

Crypt of the Ocampo family. Cemetery of Recoleta, Buenos Aires.

The publication of her last two books, And so on (1987) and Cornelia in front of the mirror (1988), coincided with the appearance of Alzheimer’s, which reduced her faculties until leaving her prostrate during her last three years. He died in Buenos Aires on December 14, 1993 at the age of 90. She was buried in the family crypt of the Recoleta Cemetery, a cemetery where Bioy Casares is also buried.

Possibly appeared volumes that collected unpublished texts, from poems to short novels never published in a book. Thus, in 2006 were published Inventions of Memory (an autobiography written in free verse) and The Replays, a collection of unpublished stories that includes two short novels, The Seer and The Best of the Family. In 2007, the novel The Tower without an End was published for the first time in Argentina, and in 2008, Armies of Darkness appeared, a volume that collects various texts. All the material was edited by Sudamericana, which also reissued some of its collections of stories. In 2010 La promesa was published, a novel that Ocampo began around 1963 and that, with long interruptions and rewrites, ended between 1988 and 1989, driven by his illness. The edition was in the care of Ernesto Montequin.

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