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Collection Number: 12019

Collection Title: Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the FAQ section for more information.


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Size 0.5 feet of linear shelf space
Abstract Writer Jose Maria Vargas Vila was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1860. He spent a large part of his life in exile because of his critical and controversial writings, many of which included liberal ideas and criticism of the clergy. He died in Barcelona, Spain, in 1933. The collection is chiefly unpublished manuscripts by Vargas Vila. Most manuscripts are undated and unbound. They are handwritten or typed, and some have annotations and corrections. Included are the unpublished novel, "En los Jardines de Lesbos," and two typescript novels: "El Maestro" and "El Tigre." Also included is a diplomatic passport with a photograph of Vargas Vila at age 63; documents concerning his burial in Barcelona, Spain; and four images of him, one an oil painting and the other three, black-and-white photographs.
Creator Vargas Vila, Jose Maria, 1860-1933.
Language Spanish
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers #12019, Rare Book Literary and Historical Papers, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Purchased from Roberto Enrique Elizalde Hernandez, 2010; "El Maestro" and "El Tigre" manuscripts, received from Roberto Enrique Elizalde Hernandez, 2010 (Acc. 101478).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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Writer Jose Maria Vargas Vila was born in Bogota, Colombia, in 1860. His writings contain liberal ideas and staunch criticism of the clergy. In 1884, he left Bogota because of charges brought against him relating to his accusations of sexual misconduct against the Jesuit priest Tomas Escobar. In 1885, civil war broke out in Colombia, and Vargas Vila acted as secretary to the leader of the Liberal Army. After the victory of the conservatives, he fled the country and reappeared in Venezuela, where he was a co-founder of La federacion, a political newspaper that was critical of the conservative government in Colombia.

In Venezuela, Vargas Vila wrote his first novel, Aura o las violetas (1887). In 1892, he traveled for the first time to New York, where he wrote for the newspaper El progreso. After a brief trip to Colombia, he returned to New York where he lived from 1894 to 1896. In New York, he continued writing and also co-edited the journal Hispano America.

Between 1896 and 1903, Vargas Vila divided his time between Europe and New York. In 1903, he returned to New York, where he published his political journal Nemesis. After Colombia ceded the Canal Zone to Panama, his attacks against Colombia, Panama, and the United States resulted his leaving the United States. He eventually settled in Barcelona, Spain.

In the early 1920s, Vargas Vila's physical and mental health began to deteriorate, and he eventually became more distant and solitary. Nonetheless, he undertook a last journey through Latin America in 1924, visiting Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Cuba. In 1929, he was back in Barcelona, where he died in 1933.

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The collection is chiefly unpublished manuscripts by Vargas Vila. Most manuscripts are undated and unbound. They are handwritten or typed, and some have annotations and corrections. Included are the unpublished novel, "En los Jardines de Lesbos," and two typescript novels: "El Maestro" and "El Tigre." Also included is a diplomatic passport with a photograph of Vargas Vila at age 63; documents concerning his burial in Barcelona, Spain; and four images of him, one an oil painting and the other three, black-and-white photographs.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated.

36 items.

Arrangement: Items have been maintained, for the most part, as received by the repository. Titles and item page and leaf counts are based on the description received with the materials.

Unless otherwise noted, the manuscripts are handwritten by Jose Maria Vargas Vila.

Folder 1

"El final de una odisea," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 1

Originally written to continue and complete the unpublished work entitled, "El Maestro." 179 leaves.

Folder 2

"La revolucion y Bonaparte," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 2

Includes typewritten sections and handwritten annotations. 46 leaves

Folder 3

Notes for a conference about Jose Marti, undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 3

Notes for a conference concerning the Cuban national hero, Jose Marti. There is one handwritten document of 18 leaves and one typewritten document of 15 leaves.

Folder 4

"Los Mirafes de la muerte: diario de un convaleciente," 1925 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 4

120 leaves.

Folder 5-6

Folder 5

Folder 6

Seven manuscripts on various themes, undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 5-6

Items are handwritten on strip-like pieces of paper of about 8 inches in length.

Oversize Volume SV-12019/1a-b

"En los jardines de Lesbos," 1925 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." SV-12019/1a-b

Described as a novel of high erotic content, the handwritten manuscript begins with the introductory text, "La belleza que haya en este libro ha de ser desnuda, como el cuerpo de la bella mujer cuya vida vive en las paginas de el (The beauty found in this book ought to be naked, as the body of the beautiful woman whose life resides within its pages)." 419 leaves. The manuscript was received bound in paper covers which have been removed from item and can be found in SV-12019/1b.

Folder 7

"Para el portico," 1932 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 7

The only published item of the collection. 44 leaves, November 1932.

Folder 8

"A los 16 anos ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 8

67 leaves.

Folder 9

"Danzaron ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 9

34 leaves.

Folder 10

Scattered fragments of manuscripts, undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 10

Scattered fragments of apparently unrelated handwritten manuscripts. 40 leaves.

Folder 11

"Nadie es mas poeta que Goethe ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 11

33 leaves.

Folder 12

"El amor y Luis XV ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 12

24 leaves.

Folder 13

"Un dossmandoit etre toute poesie Novalis," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 13

Two newspaper clippings: one showing Vargas Vila in Veracruz, Mexico, and the other showing Vargas Vila among a group of intellectuals in Brasil. 17 leaves.

Folder 14

"No escuchais el ruido que hacen ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 14

24 pages.

Folder 15

Autobiographical notes, undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 15

7 pages.

Folder 16

"El Japon ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 16

6 leaves.

Folder 17

"Jose Marti: heroe - tribuno - poeta," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 17

Typewritten document with handwritten annotations throughout. 7 leaves.

Folder 18

"La sombra del gran caudillo," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 18

6 leaves.

Folder 19

"El arte es divino," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 19

24 leaves.

Folder 20

"La palabra del enigma," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 20

25 leaves.

Folder 21

"France ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 21

18 leaves.

Folder 22

"Ya los ojos ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 22

10 leaves.

Folder 23

"Plego las alas curvas, el Condor ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 23

18 leaves.

Folder 24

"Mi amor exasperado ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 24

"1929" is handwritten in pencil on the third leaf. 22 leaves.

Folder 25

"Novela de arte y para artistas, fue mi novena sinfonia," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 25

14 leaves.

Folder 26

"La injusticia es vieja como el mundo ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 26

14 leaves.

Folder 27

"Donde hallar los yacimientos de esa pasion virgen ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 27

Typescript text is unclear; each line of text has a handwritten transcription in pencil just below it. 46 leaves.

Folder 28

"Ojos ...," undated #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 28

19 leaves.

Folder 29

Diplomatic passport, 1927 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 29

Includes a black-and-white photograph of Vargas Vila at the age of 63 and his signature.

Folder 30

Burial documents, 1933 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." Folder 30

Documents from Barcelona, Spain, related to the burial of Vargas Vila including details of his tomb and headstone. One of the documents appears to be written in Catalan.

Image P-12019/1

Portrait in oils of Jose Maria Vargas Vila, 1924 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." P-12019/1

Oil painting of Jose Maria Vargas Vila, painted on a cardboard core and signed by the artist, "al hijo mas grande de mi patria. Sinceramente. Enrique Duarte. Mxco. Junio 26-1924 (to the greatest son of my country. Sincerely. Enrique Duarte. Mexico. 26 June 1924)."

Image P-12019/2

Photograph: Jose Maria Vargas Vila at office desk, 1918 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." P-12019/2

Photograph depicting Jose Maria Vargas Vila behind what appears to be his office desk in Barcelona, Spain, August 1918.

Image P-12019/3

Photograph: Jose Maria Vargas Vila in Montevideo, Uruguay, 1924 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." P-12019/3

Image P-12019/4

Photograph: Jose Maria Vargas Vila in Havana, Cuba, 1927 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." P-12019/4

Photograph for his diplomatic passport.

Oversize Volume SV-12019/2

"El Maestro," circa 1933 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." SV-12019/2

Unpublished novel. There are three copies of about 170 leaves each.

Oversize Volume SV-12019/3

"El Tigre," circa 1933 #12019, Series: "Jose Maria Vargas Vila Papers, 1919-1937 and undated." SV-12019/3

Unpublished novel of 266 leaves.

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Processing Information

Processed by: Armando Suarez, September 2011

Encoded by: Armando Suarez, September 2011

Diacritics and other special characters have been omitted from this finding aid to facilitate keyword searching in web browsers.Other processing info

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