Concha Meléndez was an essayist, poet, professor, and literary critic who was considered part of the Generación del Treinta (the 1930’s generation). Meléndez was an avid scholar of Hispanic American and Puerto Rican literature. She produced a great amount of books and newspaper articles. Because of her research, she won numerous prizes and recognitions from various schools and organizations.
Meléndez was born in Caguas in 1895. After graduating in 1915 from University High School, she completed a bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico in 1922. A year later, she published a collection of poems: Psiquis doliente (1923, Hurting psyche).
Later, she completed a master’s degree in arts at Columbia University in New York and a doctoral degree from the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Philosophy and Arts. Her doctoral dissertation titled La novela indianista en Hispanoamérica (1882-1889) was published in 1934. Later, she worked as professor at the University of Puerto Rico. She was also visiting professor at Middlebury College, as well as at other universities.
Her essay work, which focused mainly on the study of Hispanic American Arts, provided Puerto Rican students with extensive resources to familiarize themselves with literary works from Puerto Rico as well as from Latin American countries. Among her published books are: Amado Nervo (1926), Pablo Neruda: vida y obra (1936), Entrada en el Perú (1941, Entrance to Peru), La inquietud sosegada: poética de Evaristo Ribera Chevremont (1946, Calm restlessness: Poetry by Evarist Ribera Chevremont), Ficciones de Alfonso Reyes (1956), Figuración de Puerto Rico y otros estudios (1958), Generación del Treinta: cuento y novela (1960) and Literatura hispanoamericana (1967). Her essays were product of rigorous research and her prose was of lyrical character.
She belonged to various language organizations and academies. She distinguished herself for being the first woman member of the Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española . Meléndez was honored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Literature, Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, Puerto Rico Atheneum, Union of American Women, and Mexican Language Academy. In 1979, the Puerto Rico Endowment for the Humanities chose her as Humanist Lecturer of the Year.
Editorial Cultural published her Obras completas in fifteen volumes; later the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture published them in five volumes.
She died in San Juan on June 26, 1983.
Rivera de Alvarez, Josefina. Literatura puertorriqueña, su proceso en el tiempo. Madrid: Ediciones Panteón, 1983.
Del Rosario, Rubén. Breve Enciclopedia de la Cultura Puertorriqueña. Hato Rey: Ediciones Cordillera, 1976.
Gran Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico
Portal del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña
Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: September 15, 2014.
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