Look out, literary-lovers, because it seems like Christmas may have come early this year: Gabriel García Márquez’s archive is now available online, and you can start reading his drafts and revisions right now. The Harry Ransom Center, one of the largest literary archives in the nation, is giving the best bookish present of the year by making this digital collection of approximately 27,500 items from the Colombian-born writer available to any fan with an internet connection. Take that, Santa Claus.
When he published his seminal novel One Hundred Years of Solitude in 1967, Colombian author and master of magical realism Gabriel García Márquez went from being a writer-to-watch to a household name almost overnight. His literary stardom only grew when, in 1982, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his now-iconic stories and novels, including The Autumn of the Patriarch. When he wasn't busy creating literary masterpieces like Love in the Time of Cholera, he was making a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most outspoken critics of Colombian and foreign politics. He was a committed leftist and socialist, and his polarizing political views (and his friendship with Fidel Castro) lead to him being banned from several countries, including the United States.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, $13.26, Amazon
When he died in 2014 at the age of 87, the entire literary world collectively mourned the loss of the legendary author. But now, three years later, there's finally a reason for fans to rejoice, because the Gabriel García Márquez collection at the Harry Ransom Center will let them get to know the beloved author like never before.
Featuring approximately 27,500 items from the Colombian author, the archive includes original drafts of both published and unpublished works, personal photographs, letters and correspondence, newspaper and review clippings, notebooks, and more. With the help of the extensive searchable online collection, fans can see a rough draft of the second volume of García Márquez’s unfinished memoirs, or listen to an audio recording of "The Solitude of Latin America," the author's acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in 1982. Die-hard readers can even use a unique viewing tool — the International Image Interoperability Framework — to compare the archival pages with different drafts.
Who needs "A Visit from St. Nicholas" this holiday when you could spend the countdown to Christmas reading drafts of the author's most famous novels online?
The archive was sold to the University of Texas in 2014 for $2.2 million, the acquisition was criticized by many who didn't think the United States was the appropriate literary resting place for the Colombian author who spent most of his adult years Mexico, let alone one who passionately criticized American imperialism and was even banned from entering the country for several decades. Despite reservations from some in the literary world, though, the purchase was approved and the university's Harry Ransom Center, the only literary archive "in the country’s borderlands with Latin America," took ownership of the massive collection of manuscripts, notebooks, letters, photos, and more. Now, García Márquez’s life work can be found alongside the impressive archives of other global literary leaders, including James Joyce, Jorge Luis Borges, Lewis Carroll, Anne Sexton, Julia Alvarez, and more.
Although the online archive is rich and extensive, it does not include everything in the Ransom Center's collection. Certain high-profile items, including ten different drafts of García Márquez’s last and unfinished novel We’ll See Each Other in August, are only available as a physical copy at the Center in Texas. Regardless, it is one of the biggest and most revealing literary archives online to date.
“Often estates take a restrictive view of their intellectual property, believing scholarly use threatens or diminishes commercial interests,” Steve Enniss, the director of the Ransom Center, said in an interview with The New York Times. “We are grateful to Gabo’s family for unlocking his archive and recognizing this work as another form of service to his readers everywhere.”