Somers, Armonía (1914–1994)

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Somers, Armonía (1914–1994)

Armonía Somers (Armonía Etchepare de Henestrosa; b. 1914; d. 1994), Uruguayan writer, educator, and critic. Born in Montevideo, Somers taught elementary school for many years and served in various capacities in the Montevideo school system. She has written on subjects related to the education of adolescents. Her literary career began in 1950 with the publication of her first novel, La mujer desnuda.

From the beginning, Somers has been considered one of the major fiction writers of Uruguay, together with Juan Carlos Onetti and Felisberto Hernández. She is known for the innovative narrative style that she incorporates in her novels, considered by many as a fundamental break with the Uruguayan novel of the 1950s. In 1953 she published her first collection of short stories, in which a nightmarish and erotic atmosphere becomes almost unbearable to the alienated characters. La calle del viento norte y otros cuentos (The North Wind Street and Other Stories, 1963), her second collection of short stories, shows a more mature writer in style and depth, one who works slowly and patiently on the margins of literary circles.

Two novels followed, De miedo en miedo (From Fear to Fear, 1965) and Un retrato para Dickens (1969). Todos los cuentos (1967) included the two earlier collections of stories plus two unpublished ones. In these works Somers continued to elaborate the fictional world created in her previous works, emphasizing cruelty and loneliness as central elements that shape the lives of her protagonists.

After a silence of nine years, Somers published a second edition of her short stories. By that time her work had begun to be noticed by critics and readers in several countries. In 1986 she published Viaje al corazón del dia and Sólo los elefantes encuentran mandrágora (Only Elephants Encounter Mandragora), the latter being her most ambitious and difficult text. She also published two additional anthologies of her work, Muerte por alacrán (1979; Death by Scorpion) and La rebelión de la flor (1988).

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America .


Armonía Somers: Papeles críticos. Cuarenta años de literatura, edited by R. Cosse (1990).

Ana María Rodríguez-Villaml, Elementos fantásticos en la narrativa de Armonía Somers (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Cosse, Rómulo, and Arturo Sergio Visca. Armonía Somers, papeles críticos: Cuarenta años de literatura. Montevideo: Librería Linardi y Riss, 1990.

Fitts, Alexandra. "Reading the Body, Writing the Body: Constructions of the Female Body in the Work of Latin American Women Writers." Ph.D. diss., Duke University, 1995.

                               Magdalena GarcÍa Pinto

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Somers, Armonía (1914–1994)

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