Elena Poniatowska, the daughter of a Polish count and an upper-class Mexican mother, was born in Paris in 1933. In 1942 the family left war-torn France for Mexico where Poniatowska was educated in an English school. French continued to be spoken in the home and she learned Spanish from her family’s servants, which Poniatowska claims gave her “sympathetic feelings” for the poor and an understanding of their problems (García Pinto, 1991: 166). Such empathy has become increasingly evident in her work as she has addressed the plight of those denied a voice in Mexican society, whether they be political prisoners, the homeless, or victims of government repression and natural disaster. As she explained in 1996, “I write when something causes me great indignation” (Brewster, 2005: 28).

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Citation: Brewster, Claire. "Elena Poniatowska". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 16 November 2009 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=12650, accessed 05 March 2024.]

12650 Elena Poniatowska 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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