Manuel Mujica Láinez

Manuel Mujica Láinez
The Paradise, his villa in Córdoba (architect: León Dourge)
His study at El Paraíso

Manuel Mujica Láinez[1] (11 September 1910, Buenos Aires, Argentina- 21 April 1984, Cruz Chica, La Cumbre, Córdoba, Argentina) was an Argentine novelist, essayist and art critic.


His parents belonged to old and aristocratic families, being descended from the founder of the city, Juan de Garay, as well as from notable men of letters of 19th century Argentina, such as Florencio Varela and Miguel Cané. As was traditional at the time, the family spent protracted periods in Paris and London so that Manuel, known proverbially and famously as Manucho, could become proficient in French and English. He completed his formal education at the Colegio Nacional de San Isidro, later dropping out of Law School.

In spite of their proud ancestry, the Mujica-Laínez family was not notably well-off by this time, and Manucho went to work at Buenos Aires' newspaper La Nación as literary and art critic. This permitted him to marry in 1936, his bride being a beautiful patrician girl, Ana de Alvear, descended from Carlos María de Alvear. They had two sons (Diego and Manuel) and a daughter (Ana). 1936 was also the year of the 25-year-old's first publication, Glosas castellanas.

Mujica Lainez was a member of the Argentine Academy of Letters and the Academy of Fine Arts. In 1982 he received the French's Legion of Honor. He died at his Villa "El Paraíso" (The Paradise) in Cruz Chica, Córdoba Province, in 1984.


Mujica Láinez was preeminently a narrator and enumerator of Buenos Aires, from its earliest colonial times to the present. The society of Buenos Aires, especially high society, its past triumphs and present decadence, its quirks and geographies, its language and lies, its sexual vanities and dreams of love: he relished bringing all this to his elegantly written, quietly ironic, subtly subversive page. He was also a great translator. He translated Shakespeare's Sonnets and works by Racine, Moliére, Marivaux, and others.



Mujica Láinez adapted his novel Bomarzo for the operatic stage, writing the libretto set to music by Alberto Ginastera and premièred in 1967. This opera was banned by the Argentine military dictatorship in those days.



  1. In fact, the writer himself spelled his surnames without accents, as all his books published during his lifetime show.


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