Clandestine first Chilean edition of Pablo Neruda's Canto General; Inscribed by him to close friend and publisher Americo Zorilla
Item Number: 82604
Santiago: Imprenta Juárez, 1950.
Clandestine first Chilean edition of Neruda’s stunning epic poem, published underground by the Communist party in Chile under a false imprint one month after the true first edition, published in Mexico from a different manuscript. Quarto, bound into contemporary red linen boards with parts of original printed wrappers serving as titles to the front panel and spine. Copyright leaf mounted to front pastedown bearing the false imprint “Imprenta Juárez, Reforma 75, Ciudad de México D.F.”, half tone portraits of Neruda tipped in at front and back. Inscribed by Neruda on the title page, “Al camarada Americo, Pablo Neruda.” The recipient Americo Zorilla was a close friend of Neruda’s and editor of the Chilean Communist daily newspaper, El Siglo. Zorilla facilitated the clandestine publication of five thousand copies of Neruda’s Canto General in Chile, published under a false imprint and based on a manuscript Neruda had left behind before he went into hiding with the banning of the Communist Party under the Ley de Defensa Permanente de la Democracia in 1948. Neruda had officially joined the Communist Party of Chile in 1945 and served as campaign manager for the radical party’s presidential candidate Gabriel Gonzalez Videal in 1946. Once in office, Gonzalez Videla turned against the Communist Party and Neruda was forced into hiding and later exile in Buenos Aires to avoid arrest. An exceptional association.
"Canto General" ("General Song") consists of 15 sections, 231 poems, and more than 15,000 lines. It is the stunning epic of an entire continent and its people. The Canto speaks of the destiny of Latin American peoples and the life of the poet himself. Without question, this is one of the most important and powerful long poems written in the century. "Neruda was a kind of King Midas. Everything he touched turned to poetry," says Gabriel García Márquez, who also considers the Chilean Nobel laureate "the greatest poet of the twentieth century, in any language."