About half of the 27,000-page archive of the late Nobel prize winner has been published on the internet by the University of Texas. The move was unusual considering Marquez’ work remains under copyright protection.
The University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center has put about half of its Gabriel Garcia Marquez archive online for free public use, US media reported late on Monday. The university has said that it plans to make all of the Nobel laureate’s 27,000 pages of manuscripts, photographs, letters and scrapbooks available on the Internet in both English and Spanish.
As the New York Times pointed out, the extraordinary action was made all the more so by the fact that Marquez’s work is still protected by copyright.
“Often estates take a restrictive view of their intellectual property, believing scholarly use threatens or diminishes commercial interests,” Steve Enniss, director of the Harry Ransom Center, was quoted by the Times as saying.
“We are grateful to Gabo’s family for unlocking his archive and recognizing this work as another form of service to his readers everywhere,” he added, using a popular nickname for Marquez.
‘The greatest Colombian who ever lived’
Described as the “greatest Colombian who ever lived” by President Juan Manuel Santos upon his death in 2014, Marquez achieved international renown in his lifetime for his mastery of magical realism, especially his acclaimed novels 100 Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.
Marquez began his writing career as a journalist, and was unafraid of condemning both Colombian and foreign politicians. An ardent critic of the human cost of rampant capitalism, Marquez was also opposed to what he perceived as creeping imperialism on the part of the United States government throughout his lifetime.
After taking a trip to the US in the 1950s and settling in Mexico City, Marquez was later banned from entering the US for three decades, reportedly for his ties to Colombia’s communist party. Somewhat ironically, Marquez is the favorite novelist of former US President Bill Clinton, who once called him “the most important writer of fiction in any language since William Faulkner died.”
For this reason, many where surprised when the Harry Ransom Center bought the writer’s archives for a reported $2 million (€1.7 million).
The famously deep-pocketed library has also purchased the archives of British novelist Ian McEwan, as well as Marquez’s fellow Nobel prize winners J.M. Coetzee and Kazuo Ishiguro.
Accepting his prize in Stockholm on Sunday, Ishiguro highlighted the importance of literature in a fractured world, saying “good writing and good reading will break down barriers.”