Verses Against the Darkness: Pablo Neruda's Poetry and Politics

Verses Against the Darkness: offers a new assessment of Pablo Neruda's poetry by looking at the intersection of his aesthetic method and political radicalism from 1925 to 1954. It challenges the canonical view that Neruda was a gifted verse maker who, in 1936, let himself be carried away by the excesses of communist politics. Instead, by focusing primarily on Tercera residencia (1935-1945), Greg Dawes argues for an uneven yet steady evolution and continuity in Neruda's work, politics, and morality. Dawes relies on historical accounts, biographies, literary history, and criticism - and on Neruda's political and aesthetic theory - to prove that his poetry became, contrary to received critical opinion, more sophisticated literarily and politically as he became more radicalized during the Spanish Civil War and World War II and as he developed his dialectical realism or guided spontaneity. Greg Dawes is Associate Professor of Latin American and World Literatures at North Carolina State University and is the editor of the on-line journal A contracorriente.