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I’m fascinated by the writing process. I love finding out how writers work; how they transform disordered notes into immaculate works of fiction, how their notebooks look covered with brainstorms and doodles and frustrated crossings-out. And I love fiction by Argentine authors.

 Manuscritos literarios argentinosSo when I came across this exhibition “Manuscritos Literarios Argentinos: Escenas de Escritura” (Argentine Literary Manuscripts: Writing Scenes) in the Biblioteca Nacional, it was like stumbling into a treasure trove. Original manuscripts from Borges, Cortázar, Bioy Casares, Lugones, Walsh, Viñas and more, drafts of novels and short stories, corrected texts, notebooks, letters, unpublished writing and illegible scribblings, are all displayed in this unassuming space in the national library.

Cesar Aira quoteTogether these literary treasures demonstrate the fascinating process of constructing fundamental works of Argentinean prose. The mini-exhibition peeks into those moments when inspiration strikes, when work takes place over coffee or in bed, and when it’s time to correct and correct again, which usually remain hidden in privacy.

The presentation includes three archetypical writing spaces; the bedroom, the coffee shop, and the desk, where visitors are invited to stop, sit and contribute their own private musings to the public copy books.

Julio Cortazar quoteEven if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still get a lot out of the exhibition if you love literature. You don’t need to understand everything: just by looking at the drafts and corrections you can experience something of how these great authors worked.


Manuscritos literarios argentinos. Escenas de escritura

September to December 2014, Monday to Friday from 9am to 9pm, Saturday and Sunday from 12 noon to 7pm

Sala Leopoldo Marechal, Biblioteca Nacional, Agüero 2502