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Angelina Muñiz-Huberman

MUÑIZ-HUBERMAN, ANGELINA (1936– ), Mexican poet, novelist, and esssayist. Muñiz-Huberman was born in Hyères, France, to parents who were refugees of the Spanish Civil War. In addition to her career as a writer, she is also a professor of comparative literature at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. When she was still a young girl her mother revealed to her that she had Sephardi roots. Following the discovery of her ancestral origins, she undertook the study of Judaism and eventually underwent a formal conversion. In her brief autobiographical text, El juego de escribir (1991), she narrates this experience along with other significant moments that have shaped her life and her literature. Her work has been recognized with numerous honors and some of the most prestigious literary awards from Mexico and Spain.

Her first novel, Morada interior (1972), draws on the life of Santa Teresa de Jesús. It explores the converso Jewish identity of the Spanish mystic poet by presenting a spiritual crisis, but the main character is a thinly veiled representation of the author herself struggling with issues of identity, exile, nationality, and religion. In her second novel, Tierra adentro (1977), Muñiz-Huberman again recalls the Sephardi heritage of Spain by telling the story of a young Jew during the time of the Expulsion. The monumental novel El mercader de Tudela (1998) is closely modeled after the real-life travels of Benjamin of Tudela and is based on Tudela's own 12th-century travelogue. Muñiz-Huberman also demonstrates her interest in Sephardi culture in her two books La lengua florida: antología sefardí (1989) and Las raíces y las ramas: fuentes y derivaciones de la Cábala hispanohebrea (1993). The first is an anthology of traditional Sephardi texts accompanied by her own essays on the subject. The second is an in-depth study of the kabbalistic tradition in Jewish Iberia. In addition to her prolific narrative, Muñiz-Huberman is an accomplished poet. Her poetry, as one would expect, expresses issues of identity, exile, gender, and death, which serve as a starting point for exploring human nature and the experience of life.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.