Norah Lange

Norah Lange (October 23, 1905 – August 5, 1972) was an Argentine author.

Born in Buenos Aires, Lange spent her childhood in Mendoza, after the family moved in 1910. Her father was a Norwegian engineer and her mother an Irish-Norwegian society hostess.

In 1915, Lange’s father died, and the family returned to Buenos Aires. There, her mother started to host famous literary tertulias (salons) at their family home, which were attended by Jorge Luis Borges, Horacio Quiroga, and Alfonsina Storni, among others.

From a young age, Lange felt drawn to books, and she actively took part in the 1920’s avant-garde movements in Argentina. Together with Borges, Lange founded the magazine Prisma, in 1922, and then Proa. Norah was at the centre of the bohemian-Scene in Buenos Aires and was friends with Pablo Neruda and Federico García Lorca, among others. Lange was also a popular member of the Martín Fierro group (also known as Florida group), an avant-garde movement created in the 1920s in Buenos Aires, focused on pursuing “art for art’s sake” (they published the magazine Martín Fierro). Norah was regarded as ‘the muse’ of Borges and of Ultraísmo, a literary movement born in the late 1910’s which, influenced in part by Symbolism and Futurism, aimed at fusing plastic arts and poetry. Borges and Chilean poet Vicente Huidobro were famous members of the group.

Lange contributed to the magazines Proa and Martín Fierro. In 1925, Lange published her first poetry collection, La calle de la tarde (1925), with a preface written by Borges. In the following year, in 1926, she published her first novel, Voz de la vida (1926). Her first major success came in 1937 with her memoir Cuadernos de infância (1937, ‘Notes from Childhood’. Read an excerpt here, tr. Maureen Shaughnessy). In 1959, Lange was awarded Argentina’s Gran Premio de Honor of the Argentine Writers’ Association.

After living together with poet Oliverio Girondo for more than ten years, Norah married him in 1943, and they remained a well-known couple until Oliverio’s death, in 1967: they led an extravagant, rebellious lifestyle, and Enrique Molina coined the expression “Noraliverio” when referring to them.

Norah Lange died on August 4th, 1972.

Books

Poetry

  • La calle de la tarde (1925)
  • Los días y las noches (1926)
  • El rumbo de la rosa (1930)

Novels

  • Voz de la vida (1927)
  • 45 días y 30 marineros (1933)
  • Personas en la sala (1950)
  • Los dos retratos (1956)
  • Obras completas, ed. Beatriz Viterbo, v. 1 (2005) and v. 2 (2006), with an introduction by César Aira and a foreword by Sylvia Molloy

Nonfiction

  • Cuadernos de infancia (1937)
  • Discursos (1942)
  • Antes que mueran (1944)
  • Estimados congéneres (1968)

.About her

  • Latin American Women’s Writing: Feminist Readings in Theory and Crisis, ed. Anny Brooksbank Jones and Catherine Davies (1996)
  • Norah Lange. Una biografía, by María Esther de Miguel (1991)
  • Argentinas de Rosas a Perón, by María Gabriela Mizraje (1999)

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