University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Manuel Puig (1932-1990)

The University of Notre Dame has acquired 320 letters written by the Argentine writer Manuel Puig, one of South America’s finest authors of the 20th century. This collection makes up the largest cache of letters by Manuel Puig outside of those held by his family.

Biographical Information

Manuel Puig first rose to prominence in the late 1960s and gained international recognition with the 1985 release of the movie “Kiss of the Spider Woman," which was based on his novel Beso de mujer araña . Prior to this, he wrote a series of well received novels that often intertwined film, politics, and gender. These include La traición de Rita Hayworth (1968), Boquitas pintadas, folletin (1969), The Buenos Aires Affair: Novela policial (1973), El beso de la mujer araña (1976), Pubis angelical (1979), Maldicion eterna a quien lea estas paginas (1982), and Sangre de amor correspondido (1982).

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Description of Archival Collection (MSH/SCL 1362-1 to 1362-40 and 1364-1 to 1364-2)

The bulk of the letters were written over thirty years to Mario Fenelli, a fellow Argentine who Puig met when both were film school students in the 1950s in Rome, Italy. Mr. Fenelli’s enthusiastic support of Puig’s initial writing efforts helped him to give up his dreams of being a director and realize his true talent lay in fiction. The densely written letters are a window into Puig’s rise to fame, his world travels, and fertile creativity that produced several books and plays. The final letter was sent shortly before his untimely death in 1990. There is also a small collection of letters to the Swedish essayist and novelist Ingmar Björkstén, including a four page "autobiography."

There are also two movie scripts that Puig and Fenelli, an author in his own right, wrote together but never saw performed.

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Tittler, Jonathan. Manuel Puig . New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 7793.26 .U4 Z89 1993)

Levine, Suzanne Jill. Manuel Puig and the Spider Woman: his life and fictions. New York: Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux, 2000. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 7798.26 U4 Z772 2000)

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