Although recordings of the year of Rosario Ferré’s birth vary between 1938 and 1942, the best evidence lists the date as September 28, 1938, in Ponce, Puerto Rico. Her mother, Lorenza Ramirez, was born to the landowning elite, and her father, Luis A. Ferré, was a businessman and engineer who served as governor of Puerto Rico from 1968 to 1972. Rosario Ferré was raised and educated as a Catholic: she first attended a Jesuit boys’ school, during which time she started to write. She later transferred to the School of the Sacred Heart, a Catholic girls’ school, and continued her writing, inspired by the fairy tales and stories taught to her by her black nanny, Gilda Ventura.
Throughout most of her young adulthood, Ferré led the privileged yet limited life of an upper-class woman, the contradictions of which she addresses in much of her writing. After high school, she studied English and American literature in the United States at Wellesley and Manhattanville Colleges. After completing her studies in the States, Ferré married Benigno Trigo, a merchant, and had three children, Rosario, Benigno, and Luis. Several years later, she divorced her husband and resumed her education at the University of Puerto Rico, where she received her M.A. in Spanish. While there, Ferré met Uruguayan critic Angel Rama and Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, both of whom encouraged her in her writing. Also during this time, her mother died; subsequently, Ferré moved in with her father and served as hostess of the governor’s residence. Although her father remained politically invested in seeking statehood for Puerto Rico, Ferré began to explore her own politics and openly embraced Puerto Rican independence.
In the early 1970s, Ferré founded and directed Zona de carga y descarga [Loading and Unloading Zones], a literary magazine dedicated to new Puerto Rican literature. She then moved to Mexico, where her first work, Papeles de Pandora, was published in Spanish in 1976. Translated into English as The Youngest Doll in 1991, this collection of short stories offers a transgressive, ex-