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Mario Benedetti
Born September 14, 1920(1920-09-14)
Paso de los Toros
Died May 17, 2009 (aged 88)
Nationality Uruguayan

Mario Benedetti (in full: Mario Orlando Hamlet Hardy Brenno Benedetti Farugia)[1] (September 14, 1920 – May 17, 2009)[2] was a Uruguayan journalist, novelist, and poet. He was not well known in the English-speaking world,[3] but in the Spanish-speaking world he was considered one of Latin America's most important 20th-century writers.



Benedetti was born in Paso de los Toros in the department of Tacuarembó. In 1946 he married Luz López Alegre.

From 1973 to 1985, when a military dictatorship ruled Uruguay, Benedetti lived in exile in Buenos Aires, Lima, Havana, and Spain. Following the restoration of democracy, he divided his time between Montevideo and Madrid. He has been granted Honoris Causa doctorates by the Universidad de la República, Uruguay, the Universidad de Alicante, Spain, and the Universidad de Valladolid, Spain. On June 7, 2005, he was named the recipient of the Premio Menéndez y Pelayo. His poetry was also used in the 1992 Argentine movie The Dark Side of the Heart (El lado oscuro del corazón) in which he read some of his poems in German.[4]

On January 26, 2006, Mario Benedetti joined other internationally renowned figures such as Gabriel García Márquez, Ernesto Sábato, Thiago de Mello, Eduardo Galeano, Carlos Monsiváis, Pablo Armando Fernández, Jorge Enrique Adoum, Pablo Milanés, Luis Rafael Sánchez, Mayra Montero and Ana Lydia Vega, in demanding sovereignty for Puerto Rico. The request for the recognition of Puerto Rico's independence was obtained at the behest of the Puerto Rican Independence Party.

He died in Montevideo on 17 May 2009. He had suffered from respiratory and intestinal problems for more than a year.[2]

Before dying, he dictated to his personal secretary, Ariel Silva what would become his last poem [5]:

Mi vida ha sido como una farsa
Mi arte ha consistido
En que esta no se notara demasiado
He sido como un levitador en la vejez
El brillo marrón de los azulejos
Jamás se separó de mi piel

A free translation into English of these few lines might be as follows:

My life has been just like a sham
My art has involved
Making it not to be noticed too much
I've been just as hovering during my old years
The dark shine of tiles
Never detached from my skin


For his poetry and novels Benedetti had won numerous international awards. The Truce, first published in 1960, has since been translated into 19 languages and made into two motion pictures.[6] Each year below links to either the corresponding "[year] in literature" or "[year] in poetry" article:



  • 1945:La víspera indeleble ("Indelible Eve"), his first published book[7]
  • 1956: Poemas de oficina ("Office Poems")[7]
  • 1963:
    • Inventario, Poesía 1950–1958 ("Inventory, Poems 1950–1958")[7]
    • Poemas del hoyporhoy ("Poems of Today")[7]
  • 1977: La casa y el ladrillo ("The House and the Brick")[7]
  • 1981: Viento del exilio ("Air From Exile")[7]
  • 1986: Preguntas al azar ("Random Questions")[7]
  • 1988: Yesterday y mañana ("Yesterday and Tomorrow")[7]
  • 1991: Las soledades de Babel ("The Loneliness of Babel")[7]
  • 1994: Inventario dos (1985-1994) ("Inventory Two (1985-1994)"), published in Madrid[7]
  • 1995: ("The Exercise of Discretion: Oblivion Is Full of Memory"), published in Spain[7]
  • 1996: El amor, las mujeres y la vida. Poemas de amor.
  • 1997: La vida ese paréntesis[7]
  • 2002: Insomnios y Duermevelas, ISBN 84-7522-959-X
  • 2004: Defensa propia, ISBN 950-731-438-5
  • Little Stones At My Window (Bilingual edition; translation and introduction by Charles Hatfield) ISBN 1-880684-90-X
  • Poemas de otros
  • Noción de Patria
  • Sólo mientras tanto
  • Quemar las naves
  • A ras de sueño
  • Letras de emergencia

Short stories

  • 1960: Montevideanos
  • Aquí se respira bien
  • Los pocillos
  • Acaso irreparable
  • Escrito en Überlingen
  • El reino de los cielos
  • Miss Amnesia
  • "Una carta de amor"
  • La noche de los feos
  • "La sirena viuda"
  • "El buzón del tiempo"


  • 1960: El país de la cola de paja
  • "La Colección"



  • 1958: Ida y Vuelta
  • 1979: Pedro y el capitán


  • 1969: Book Cubano, including poems, articles and interviews about Cuba and his experiences there [7]
  • 1996: Obras completas ("Complete Works"), in 28 volumes, published in Argentina[7]

See also


  1. ^ Martinez, Ezequiel (2000). "Los 80 años de Mario Benedetti". Retrieved 14 October 2006.  
  2. ^ a b "The Associated Press: Famed Uruguayan writer Benedetti dies at 88". Retrieved 2009-05-17.  
  3. ^ Gregory, Stephen William George (1999) The collapse of dialogue: Intellectuals and politics in the Uruguayan crisis, 1960-1973 Thesis, Modern Language Studies, University of New South Wales. OCLC 44284108, abstract
  4. ^ El lado oscuro del corazón at the Internet Movie Database
  5. ^ El Diario de Ecuador: Mario Benedetti dictates his las poem (in Spanish)
  6. ^ Famed Uruguayan writer Benedetti
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Web page titled "Biblioteca de autores contemporaneos / Mario Benedetti - El autor" (in Spanish), retrieved May 27, 2009

External links


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