Manuel Mujica Láinez (1910-1984)
Through the efforts of Robert O'Grady, the Manuel Mujica Láinez collection is among the most extensive of the Southern Cone holdings. It includes newspaper and magazine reviews, published interviews, business letters, and personal correspondence, all of which work together to provide a portrait of the author and his work throughout his life. The majority of the materials are also valuable as they were produced in the author's more reclusive later years.
Born to a Spanish Creole father and a French inspired mother, Manuel Mujica Láinez grew up in a uniquely Argentine home. The future author spent his childhood in libraries and his adolescence learning languages in Europe, thus it is no surprise that he abandoned law school to pursue a literary career. His talent quickly earned him a spot on the board of editors for La nación when he was only twenty-one years of age.
In spite of this rapid rise in the newspaper ranks, Mujica Láinez's personal literary development covered the next twenty years. Unlike his contemporaries, he opted to remain outside of the literary magazine circles, and refined his writing primarily through his own efforts.
Mujica Láinez's mature works began in 1949 with the publication of Aquí vivieron. The success of this novel was soon followed by La casa in 1951, a novel that would be the start of his most productive decades. The 1962 publication of Bomarzo propelled Mujica Láinez to international fame; the novel was even made into an opera in the United States. During the 1970s the author explored spirituality with El viaje de los siete demonios, written after he had retired to the solitude of his country estate in the Argentine province of Córdoba. Mujica Láinez continued to write from this residence until his death in 1984.
The Mujica Láinez collection is among the most extensive of the Southern Cone holdings. Consisting of over twenty-five materials from a variety of sources, it includes newspaper and magazine reviews, published interviews, business letters, and personal correspondence.
The newspaper and magazine reviews cover several of the author's works, although much of the criticism focuses on Bomarzo. In general, the reviews are mixed, yet the popular conception of Mujica Láinez as a national hero is readily apparent.
Among the interviews, El paraíso de Manucho (MSH/SCL 1236-9) is perhaps the most valuable. Published after the author's retirement to Córdoba, it not only offers rare photos of the estate, but also gives the author's thoughts on several aspects of his literary career.
Most important in the collection, however, is the personal correspondence from Mujica Láinez to Abelardo Arias (MSH/SCL 1232-01 to MSH/SCL 1232-18). Beginning in 1968, these letters cover a period of twelve years and frequently discuss the author's progress in his literary endeavors, especially as he writes El viaje de los siete demonios.
Aira, César. "Manuel Mujica Láinez." Diccionario de autores latinoamericanos. Buenos Aires: Emecé, 2001. p.382-383. (Hesburgh Library, Reference: PQ 7081.3 .A35 2001)
Lindstrom, Naomi. "Manuel Mujica Láinez." Spanish American Authors: The Twentieth Century. Ed. Angel Flores. New York: Wilson Company, 1992. p. 568-570. (Hesburgh Library, Reference: PQ 7081.3 .F57 1992)
Mujica Láinez, Manuel. Obras completas. Buenos Aires: Editorial Sudam ericana, c.1978. (Hesburgh Library, Special Collections: MUJICA LAINEZ 29)