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Rare Books & Special Collections

Mario Benedetti (1920-2009)

Mario Benedetti is an author of great literary variety who has produced over seventy works across all genres, including novels, poetry, essays, and prose. Through a generous gift of Robert O'Grady the Department of Special Collections owns a manuscript of several verses from Benedetti's poem, "Despistes y franquezas," which can be found in the book, Poemas de otros.

Biographical Information

Born in Uruguay in 1920, Benedetti possesses a strong sense of national identity despite spending a number of his early years in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father's unstable employment resulted in numerous moves for the family, and before the age of twenty the future author began working wherever possible, eventually holding positions as a salesman, accountant, and public officer. In 1946 Benedetti married Luz López Alegre, and two years later became the director of the literary magazine, Marginalia. Quickly moving from editor to writer, Benedetti produced his first publication in 1949, a book of short stories titled Esta mañana. In addition to Benedetti's profuse literary output, his political activism against Uruguay's dictatorship resulted in his exile from 1973-1985. Benedetti used these years to travel extensively, living in Buenos Aires, Peru, Cuba, and Spain. It is often noted that his writings in exile reflect more concern for the social strife caused by the political situation than do his previous works. Since his return to Uruguay, Benedetti has continued to write, and currently divides his time between Montevideo and Madrid.

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Description of Archival Collection (MSH/SCL 1024-1)

The Department of Special Collections currently holds several verses from the poem, "Despistes y franquezas," written in the author's hand. In its entirety, the poem consists of twenty-one short verses that are individually numbered with roman numerals. These verses often have a proverb-like tone, and the manuscript contains the verses that would later become numbers vi, xiii, xiv, and xxi. Benedetti first published the poem in the book, Poemas de otros, which contains poems from 1973-1974.

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Benedetti, Mario. Poemas de otros. Buenos Aires: Editorial Nueva Imagen, 1977. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 8519 .B292 P59 1977)

Oliviera Williams, María Rosa. "Mario Benedetti." Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers. Ed. William Luis. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992. p. 48-54. (Hesburgh Library, Reference: PQ 7082 .N7 M55 1992)

Paoletti, Mario. El aguafiestas: La biografía de Mario Benedetti. Buenos Aires: Seix Barral, 1999. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 8519 .B292 Z78 1995)

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