Ferre, Rosario (Writer)

(1942- ) novelist, short-story writer, poet, critic

Rosario Ferre was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico, to Luis Ferre, politician and eventual governor of the island, and Lorenza Ramirez Ferre. Although Ferre received a conventional, aristocratic education, her childhood nanny, a vivid storyteller, introduced her early on to the worlds of fantasy, legend, and myth. Later in life, she studied under the Peruvian novelist Mario vargas llosa and the Uruguayan critic Angel rama, both of whom encouraged her to write.

Ferre’s early work, including The Youngest Doll (1976), a series of short stories set in Puerto Rico, established her as one of the first Puerto Rican feminist writers. In it, one finds the criticism of feminine stereotypes and an implicit call for the end of the repression of women, both of which themes have come to characterize much of her work. Her writing also deals with the cultural and historical heritage of Puerto Rico. To explore such themes, she incorporates elements of local myth and legend as well as realistic depictions of characters and settings. The title story of one of her best-known books, Sweet  Dust (1986), relates the rise and fall of the aristocratic De la Valle family. The alternation of colloquial and formal language and the incorporation of different narrative perspectives in this work are typical of her fiction.

For Ferre writing has been and continues to be a manner of breaking through the societal constraints placed on her as a woman and as an individual. In this sense, she has followed in the tradition of such feminine writers as Simone de beauvoir and Virginia woolf. Her questioning of restrictive gender and class divisions in Puerto Rico and the West in general, as well as her sensitive and profound character portrayals, have made her an important figure in contemporary Hispanic and world literature.

Another Work by Rosario Ferre

Ferre, Rosario. The House on the Lagoon. New York: Plume, 1996.

A Work about Rosario Ferre

Hintz, Suzanne S. Rosario Ferre, A Search for Identity. New York: Peter Lang, 1995.

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