The unknown history of Elena Poniatowska begins in Paris in 1932 when Elena, a descendent of an ancient family of the Polish nobility took her first breath. Her real name was Hélène Elizabeth Louise Amelie Paula Dolores Poniatowska Amor. Her mother, Dolores Amor was the daughter of a family of exiles during the Porfiriato. Dolores married the prince of Poland Jean Evremont Poniatowski Sperry, in exile also. This made Elena Poniatowska and her sister Sofia, princess heirs of Poland, she is even dubbed by members of her European family as “the red princess”. Later the family fled from WWII to Mexico. His father remained fighting, and he later reunited with his family in Mexico. The family founded the Linsa laboratories where Hélène worked as a secretary.
In 1952 Elena Poniatowska was sent to a religious boarding school in the USA in a quest to improve her education and make her a candidate for a real marriage. But Hélène waived her fate, refusing to marry a member of the European nobility and instead decided to become a journalist. Her first job was in the newspaper Excelsior where she signed as Hélène, the rest is history we all know and that made her one of the most remarkable figures of the Mexican cultural scene.
For the social activist, Mexico was always a mystery to solve, due to its social, political and cultural contrasts. To celebrate her birthday, in FAHRENHEITº, we recommend five books that defined her as one of the most important writers of our time:
- Lilus Kikus. Collection of Short Stories (1954) was her first novel, written under the tutelage of Juan Jose Arreola.
- The Night of Tlatelolco (1971), is an investigative work about massacre of Mexican students on October 2nd, 1968.
- La piel del cielo (2001), with this novel won the Alfaguara prize of novel in 2001.
- El tren pasa primero (2006), in this novel the protagonist is a railway union leader, this novel won the Romulo Gallegos prize in 2007.
- Leonora (2011), a fictionalized biography of the painter Leonora Carrington with which won the Seix Barral Biblioteca Breve Prize.
FAHRENHEITº recommends you the exhibition in honor of the writer in the Centro Cultural España in Mexico Elena Poniatowska, una obra de rabia y de amor.
Source and images: web