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Mercedes Marín de Solar

Other names/titles:
Gender: F
Ethnic origin: White

Biographical details

Born in 1804, she was the daughter of Luisa Recabarren and Gaspar Marín. She was brought up on French and Italian literature. Ventura Blanco Encaladra introduced the poetry of young Spanish poets to her in 1821. She then began to write herself. In 1837 "El Araucano" and "Canto Fúnebre a la Muerte de Don Diego Portales" were published. She contributed to the Sociedad de Instrucción Primaria de Santiago and worked in the institutions of Beneficiencia y Asistencia Social. She is quoted as saying that her parents taught her the value of education, and equally important, the need to know when to remain silent. She was aware that a literary woman was a rare phenomenon and dedicated herself to educating her children. Her poems were "a luxury for my private life". She died in 1866. (Urzua y Adriasola, 17-20)

The Chilean poet whose first poem, a homage to Diego Portales, (1793-1837) appeared in 1837. (Knaster, 74.) It appeared as an anonymous pamphlet in 1837 entitled "Imprenta de la opinión" and then in in El Araucano on 28 July 1837. According to her son, everyone wondered who this unknown poet could be. (Marín, xi)

She educated her niece, Quintera Veras (born in Santiago de Chile in 1838). Veras also became a poet. (Urza and Ariasola, 31)

Her son, Enrique (born in 1844) was also a poet. He published her Obras completas in 1874. Hugo Montes describes her as active "en la lucha por el desarrollo del bello sexo". She admired the Romantics. (Montes, Orlandi, 62-64.)

She had an excellent education and was taught French at a time (1821) when one priest refused to absolve a woman because she was studying French. Andres Bello published her Canto a Portales in Araucano in July 1837. She wrote all 334 lines in one night. Many of her poems are dedicated to family members - to my daughter on the death of her husband etc. Just before she died, she apparently realised that she hadn't written anything specifically for her youngest daughter, Matilde. So from her death bed she quickly wrote a sonnet of the joys Matilde had given her. (Coester, 207-208)

She was a disciple of Andres Bello. (Goic, 195-196)

Her son Enrique recalls a General C** arriving at his parents´ house each day to drink maté in the 1830s. He had become penniless following Diego Portales´ death. He sought revenge, but Mercedes Marín said he would never achieve it because his nature was too generous. She then told the following story to her son: General C was one of the first veterans of independence who fought like a lion at Rancagua, but was taken prisoner by Osorio. One official called Alejandro told General C to shout "¡Viva el Rey!" The general refused. Then the fortunes of war changed and San Martín rounded up many royalist prisoners, among them Alejandro, and General C looked his former jailor in the eye and let him go free. Her point was that this was revenge for those with noble and Christian hearts. (del Solar, 896-899)

She was friends with Mauricio Rugendas and wrote letters to him with news of her family. (Vergara Quiroz, 187-188, 200-203)

Davies underlines that her work has been neglected by academics and that Acevedo is thus "poorly recignused". She provides a detailed analysis of Marín's patriotic poems and prose of her family, and her essays on domesticity. (Davies et al, 183-195, 264, 272)

Life Events

Born 1804She was born on 11 September 1804.
Other 1821She learned French.
Other 1836She wrote letters to Mauricio Rugendas in 1836 and 1840.
Other 1837Her first poem was circulated.
Other 1844Her son, Enrique was born.
Died 1866She died on 21 December 1866.


Knaster, Meri, (1977), Women in Spanish America: An Annotated Bibliography from Pre-Conquest to Contemporary Times

Marín de Solar, Mercedes, (1874), Poesías de la señora Mercedes Marín de Solar, Dadas a luz por su hijo Enrique de Solar

Urzua, María, and Adriasola, Ximena, (1963), La mujer en la poesía chilena, Antología 1784-1961

Montes, Hugo and Orlandi, Julio, (1969), Historia y antología de la literatura chilena

Coester, Alfred, (1919), The Literary History of Spanish America

Smith, Verity, (1997), Encyclopedia of Latin American Literature

Vera Lamperein, Lina, (1994), Presencia femenina en la literatura nacional: Una trayectoria apasionante 1750-1991

Solar, Enrique del, (1875), La venganza de un patriota

Vergara Quiroz, Sergio, (1987), Cartas de mujeres en Chile, 1630-1885

Davies, Catherine, Brewster, Claire and Owen, Hilary, (2006), South American Independence. Gender, Politics, Text


Book: Poesías

Edited Book: La caridad

Poem: Homage

Letter: Carta

Letter: Carta

Poem: Homaje a Don Diego Portales


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