Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza:
A Preliminary Inventory of His Collection of Gabriel García Márquez Correspondence at the Harry Ransom Center
The forty-eight letters in the Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza Collection of Gabriel García Márquez Correspondence, all written by García Márquez and sent to Mendoza between 1961 and 1971, provide insight into the close relationship between the two Colombian writer-journalists, an acquaintanceship begun when both were teenagers and would grow into what García Márquez described as a friendship of compadres.
All but a few of the letters are typed and vary in length from a postcard to seven pages, and all are in Spanish. García Márquez himself dated the majority of letters with the month and day, but most have the year written in ink by an unknown hand, perhaps Mendoza’s. The letters largely remain in the order in which they arrived at the Ransom Center, including the undated letters, which may or may not be correctly ordered chronologically. Overall, the letters are in good condition, and although some written on onionskin paper are delicate, only one, dated October 28, 1968, has lost some text (pp.1 and 6).
In the earliest letter of the collection, dated April 7, 1961, García Márquez writes of leaving Prensa Latina, soon after Jorge Masetti and Angel Boan had left, and moving his family to Mexico. In the latest dated letter, April 25, 1969, García Márquez invites Mendoza to visit Barcelona after the García Márquez family returns from a trip to Africa. In the intervening letters, García Márquez discusses his thoughts, his work, and his life in an often intimate tone, including difficulties and successes with writing, financial issues, particularly in the early years, family topics, and travel in Colombia, France, and Spain.
The letters contain much about García Márquez’s writing process. In mid-1966, he writes of finishing Cien años de soledad (One Hundred Years of Solitude) within two weeks and being happy with the work, and in early 1968, in Barcelona, of how he is writing children’s stories to get away from the style he used in that novel. Also in 1968, García Márquez describes totally reworking El otoño del patriarca (The Autumn of the Patriarch) from his original idea as a monologue in the general’s words to a story told in his own words, writing it from end to beginning and having difficulty working with a fictional world’s people, politics, and nation.
Other works referred to by García Márquez in the correspondence include "Un hombre ha muerto de muerte natural" ("A Man Has Died a Natural Death"), El coronel no tiene quien le escriba (No One Writes to the Colonel), Un señor muy viejo con unas alas enormes (A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings), El charro (Tiempo de morir)(The Cowboy (Time to Die)), and the unpublished La Gloria secreta.
Open for research
Purchase, 2015 (15-05-011-P)
Stephen Cooper, Daniela Lozano, 2015