Ransom Center Acquires Gabriel García Márquez Archive


In the 1950s, Gabriel García Márquez was a young journalist at the Bogotá newspaper El Espectador. He pulled long hours writing movie reviews, editorials, and anything else the paper needed. On a typical night, he would finish his newspaper assignments around 1 a.m. as the newsroom emptied out. “Then at night, after everyone had gone home, I would stay behind writing my novels,” García Márquez told an interviewer in 1981. “I liked the noise of the Linotype machines, which sounded like rain. If they stopped, and I was left in silence, I wouldn’t be able to work.”

His diligence paid off: García Márquez went on to publish six novels, four novellas, and a slew of short story collections and works of nonfiction, all of which made him arguably the most celebrated Latin American writer of the 20th century. And today, UT’s Harry Ransom Center announced it has acquired his archive.

The Ransom Center purchased the collection from the García Márquez family for an undisclosed sum. It includes original manuscripts of García Márquez’s most beloved works, including the novels One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, as well as 2,000-plus pieces of correspondence, more than 40 photo albums, and even the typewriters and computers he used.

García Márquez’s work helped popularize magical realism, a literary style in which fantastical events intrude on the ordinary world. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, one character leaves clouds of yellow butterflies in his wake, while the mother of a murder victim is haunted by drops of blood that appear in her house. The meticulous detail and lush language García Márquez used to describe these events helped give his writing a universal appeal to critics and general audiences alike. His works were translated into at least 21 languages.

“Above all, he was an intoxicating stylist with the primal instincts of a storyteller,” said Benson Latin American Collection staffer José Montelongo in a statement. “As one literary critic has put it, García Márquez’s imagination was so powerful and original that he will be remembered as a creator of myths, a Latin American Homer.”

With the addition of the García Márquez collection, the Ransom Center brings its count of Nobel laureates to 10. The other nine whose archives are housed on the Forty Acres are Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, T. S. Eliot, Ernest Hemingway, Doris Lessing, George Bernard Shaw, Isaac Bashevis Singer, John Steinbeck, and W. B. Yeats.

Above: Gabriel García Márquez working on One Hundred Years of Solitude.

Image courtesy the Harry Ransom Center


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