“Los niños en el bosque,” one of Juan Carlos Onetti’s unpublished novels, dates from 1936. “Tiempo de abrazar,” a novel written in 1933 and circulated in manuscript form among Onetti’s friends, was not published, despite the praise it received from respected writers such as Roberto Arlt. The manuscript was entered in the contest for the Rinehart and Farrar Prize in 1941. After coming in second, it disappeared, except for a number of fragments, which were published in various journals over the years. In 1974, the Uruguayan critic Jorge Ruffinelli gathered these fragments, a good portion of the original, along with “Los niños en el bosque” and Onetti’s uncollected short stories dating from 1933 to 1950, into one volume titled Tiempo de abrazar, y los cuentos de 1933 a 1950. There are to date at least eleven short-story collections, with overlapping items. The most complete of these is Cuentos completos (1967; revised 1974), edited by Ruffinelli.
Onetti’s Obras completas (1970) is far from complete, the title notwithstanding. Still uncollected are the many literary essays written by Onetti for Montevideo’s weekly Marcha, where the author served as editor for two years (1939-1941). Under a variety of exotic pseudonyms and humorous epithets, Onetti wrote not only essays and criticism but also short pieces of fiction as “fillers” for that weekly, all of which remain uncollected. During his first stint in Buenos Aires, from 1930 to 1934, Onetti wrote a number of film reviews for the periodical Crítica, and they also remain uncollected. While he may have attempted genres other than prose, only two poems exist in print: “Y el pan nuestro,” in Cuadernos hispanoamericanos (1974), and “Balada del ausente,” in Casa de las Américas (1976).