Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Scholar Provides an Intimate Look at Mexican Author María Luisa Puga

Tue, February 27, 2018
Scholar Provides an Intimate Look at Mexican Author María Luisa Puga
Professor Irma López, photo by Travis WIllmann

On February 15, LLILAS Benson celebrated the opening of the literary archive of Mexican author María Luisa Puga (1944–2004). This unusual archive is replete with the author’s voice and vision, consisting in large part of some 327 diaries that span the years 1972 through 2004. In honor of the occasion, Irma López of Western Michigan University delivered a lecture titled “Escritura y autofiguración el los diarios de María Luisa Puga.”

A novelist and short-story writer, Puga was the winner of numerous prestigious literary awards and highly esteemed by her peers, yet she largely eschewed the limelight. Her complex attitude about her identity as a writer is on display in the diaries, which Mexican Studies Librarian José Montelongo refers to as “a truly remarkable document of struggles both personal and artistic.” Puga’s diaries were donated to the Benson Latin American Collection by her sister, Patricia Puga, who attended the opening lecture and reception along with her husband, son, and other family members.

Written in a beautiful hand, with occasional doodle-like illustrations, the notebooks contain the entire trajectory of Puga’s celebrated literary works and thus are of enormous research value. The pages also carry within them a poignant emotional charge: the author was someone for whom putting pen to paper was a vital activity in her art and thought, and her diaries are an almost visceral expression of her self.

If the collection of diaries itself is remarkable, the lecture by literary scholar Irma López was similarly compelling. She spoke with both erudition and affection about Puga, her writing, and the intimate access afforded by the diaries to a writer for whom self-examination was essential. López concluded her talk speaking directly to the members of the author’s family, reading to them from a tender diary passage by the late author. (López, a leading authority on Puga, is author of Historia, escritura e identidad: La novelística de María Luisa Puga.)

__________________

During their visit, the Puga family was able to see five display cases containing select materials from the archive in the Benson’s main reading room. This exhibition, titled María Luisa Puga: A Life in Diaries, is on display in the main reading room of the Benson Latin American Collection, and was curated by graduate research assistant Emma Whittington. View the finding aid for the María Luisa Puga Papers at Texas Archival Resources Online – Puga.

Bookmark and Share

  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
    SRH 1.310
    2300 Red River Street D0800
    Austin, Texas 78712