Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Marquéz on the Web

Gabriel Garcia Marquéz
When Nobel Prize-winner Gabriel García Marquéz's family decided to sell his documents to a center in Texas after his death in 2014, it caused lots of teeth grinding back in Colombia. After all, Marquéz, a leftist buddy of Fidel Castro, was no great admirer of Yankeeland - and was even banned from entering the U.S. for many years.

Yet, the Harry Ransom Center in Austin, Texas has accomplished something which many Colombian institutions with less resources and sophistication might not have: It has placed tens of thousands of pages of Marquéz's documents online, where they are indexed and accesible in both English and Spanish. Expect a flood of high school and college papers on topics such as Marquéz's relationship to other authors, his publishers and the evolution of his works.

Bill Clinton and Marquéz.
The New York Times reports that the documents have already destroyed the myth that Marquéz (like Jack Kerouac with his On The Road) wrote his great novel One Hundred Years of Solitude in a spontaenous flow of creativity. Rather, Marquéz 'regularly sent out sections for reactions from friends and literary critics. He also published about a third of the chapters in newspapers around the world before the book’s publication, and sometimes made adjustments according to audience reaction,' says the Times.

Of course, Marquéz's relationship with the U.S. wasn't one dimensional. He traveled across the U.S. South, admired and learned from North American authors such as William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway, and was buddies with Bill Clinton.

Among the documents on the Ransom Center's website are manuscripts, reviews, press clippings, letters and lots of photos of Marquéz with other literary luminaries, such as Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, Venezuelan newspaper editor Teodoro Petkoff and even U.S. film makerWoody Allen.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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