Rosario Ferré

Rosario Ferré

Puerto Rican writer whose work includes short stories, novels, essays and poetry. She has also been a literary critic and researcher. She is currently one of the best-known Puerto Rican writers internationally, but her literary work has slowed due to health problems. Her novel, Maldito amor, won the Literature Prize at the Frankfort Book Fair in 1992.
Ferré was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on September 28, 1938. She was born into one of the island’s most affluent families. Her father was a successful businessman and governor of Puerto Rico in the 1960s. At age 13, she went to the United States to study at the Dana Hall School. At just 14 years of age, Ferré began publishing articles in the newspaper her father owned.

She studied English and French literature at universities in the United States and then returned to Puerto Rico, where she earned a master’s degree in Latin American literature. In 1970, along with her cousin Olga Nolla, she founded and directed the journal Zona de carga y descarga. The literary magazine’s purpose was to highlight the new literary voices on the island. Ferré earned a place in Puerto Rican letters and her columns in the newspaper El Mundo were popular.

Ferré earned her doctoral degree at the University of Maryland with a dissertation that studied the romanticism in the stories of Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. It was not until the appearance of her book of stories titled Papeles de Pandora in 1976 that she became well known as a writer. Her novel Maldito amor, published in 1986, is perhaps her best work. Also well known is her children’s story, El medio pollito, published in 1978.

In Maldito amor, Ferré combined the feminine and the political in Puerto Rico. Divided into four stories, it reconstructs the island’s history from the 19th century to the island’s fictional independence from the United States and, at the same time, the history of Puerto Rican women. Ferré earned a prominent place among Spanish-language American writers in part because of the sharp and biting nature of her work. The characters in her narrative, tragic heroines, go far beyond the traditional roles imposed on women. Ferré employs irony, psychoanalysis, mythology and the doppelganger.

Ferré has also worked as a professor, and has been a visiting professor at various universities in the United States, including Rutgers University and Johns Hopkins University. In 1997, she received an honorary doctoral degree from Brown University. Ferré currently lives in Puerto Rico, but due to her health she is not active in public forums.

Author: Christian Ibarra
Published: May 09, 2012.

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