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Writer Fernando Alegria dead at 87

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WALNUT CREEK, Calif., Nov 23, 2005 (UPI via COMTEX) -- Fernando Alegria, a Chilean-born writer who introduced the study of Latin American literature to U.S. universities, has died. He was 87.

His daughter, Isabel, told the Los Angeles Times Alegria died of kidney failure on Oct. 29 at his home in California.

Alegria, who spent most of his adult life in the United States, was banned from Chile between 1973, when a coup overturned the government of his friend Salvador Allende, to 1987. Alegria taught at Berkeley and Stanford and served as Allende's cultural attache in Washington from 1970 to 1973.

"Fernando Alegria was very important in integrating Latin American literature into academic studies in the U.S. at a time when 'Latin' meant the literature of Spain," Adan Griego told the Times. Griego is curator for Latin American, Mexican American and Iberian Collections at the Stanford University Libraries, where Alegria's papers are housed.

Alegria's work included novels like "My Horse Gonzalez" about a Chilean jockey, and "Allende: A Novel" about the Chilean president's life and assassination. He also wrote studies of South American literature and poetry and translated Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" into Spanish.


Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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