Biography (Critical Survey of Mystery & Detective Fiction, Revised Edition)
Manuel Puig was born on December 28, 1932, in the small town of General Villegas in the Argentine Pampas. According to his own account, the provincial elevation of machismo and authority made his daily existence extremely unpleasant in his youth, so that he sought escape by going to the movie theater. Puig’s childhood immersion in the Hollywood superproductions of the 1930’s and 1940’s became a powerful influence in his life and work.
In 1951, Puig left the provinces to begin his studies at the university in Buenos Aires, expecting the big city to resemble Hollywood. Disappointed by reality, he left Argentina for Italy on a grant to study cinematography in 1956. In Italy he pursued his dream of working in the film industry, acting as an assistant director at Cinecittà in Rome until 1962. During this time, however, he became disillusioned with life on the set and began his first novel, La traición de Rita Hayworth (1968; Betrayed by Rita Hayworth, 1971), in part to express his disenchantment. As Puig later explained, that novel was an attempt to discover why he suddenly found himself at the age of thirty without a career or money and with the knowledge that his life’s vocation was a sham. From that time onward, the betrayal of reality by illusion and the seduction of the individual by popular culture would be constant themes in his writing.
From 1964 until 1967, Puig worked as a clerk at Kennedy Airport in New York...
(The entire section is 385 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!
Biography (Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Fourth Edition)
Juan Manuel Puig was born on December 28, 1932, in General Villegas, Argentina. His early life, however confusing it may have been to him, provided him with excellent insight into the problems of mass-media saturation and contemporary uncertainties about sexuality and sex-role definition. As the author reported it, his almost daily filmgoing began before he had reached the age of four. The boy favored films with a strong element of glamour and fantasy, especially the extravagantly mounted musical comedies and dramas imported from the United States. His attention, he recalled, was directed almost exclusively to the female lead performers; male actors failed to provoke an empathetic response.
At the age of ten, Puig suffered a traumatic experience: an attempted rape by another male. Because Puig chose to make public this very troubling incident in his early life, one may assume that it is associated with his later literary interest in showing the effects of formative experiences in the shaping of one’s identity, particularly in the emergence of a conflicted or uneasy sense of one’s sexual self.
Puig’s hometown was severely limited in its cultural and educational opportunities, but U.S. films provided continual reminders of the larger, cosmopolitan world. Puig’s mother was an urban woman who had gone to the pampas to work in the provincial health services and ended up staying there and marrying a local man. This woman stood out from her...
(The entire section is 753 words.)
Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Manuel Puig (pweeg) was born in General Villegas, a dusty village on the Argentine pampas, one much like those he examines with such telling detail in his novels. His father, Baldomero, was a businessman, and his mother, Maria Elena Delledonne Puig, was a chemist.
For many years readers have had to rely on Puig’s own observations in interviews for most information about him. He was, by his own account, a sensitive, timid youth in a small town that valued authority and machismo; these were two things that Puig thought he lacked. He escaped this situation by immersing himself in Hollywood fantasies, going to the cinema at least four times a week.
In contrast to most writers, Puig was not enthralled by the medium—fiction—that would make him famous but by the world of Hollywood films. He read literature, but probably no more than other young Argentines of artistic inclinations, and what reading he did was almost exclusively of foreign authorship. He deliberately avoided Spanish literature for being tainted with the machismo that he despised. He also held Argentine films in contempt for much the same reason.
His education moved Puig in the direction in which he was already inclined. After enduring the small-town schools of General Villegas, Puig studied at the University of Buenos Aires, starting in 1950, and then won a scholarship...
(The entire section is 750 words.)
Biography (Magill's Survey of World Literature, Revised Edition)
Great writers accomplish two things: They make their chosen corner of the world profoundly real and universal. They also push at the boundaries of their chosen medium, opening up unexpected vistas for succeeding writers and readers. Manuel Puig is therefore a great writer. He has adventurously tested the conventions of the novel and has shown what new possibilities of structure and voice are available to writers. His experiments were not for their own sake but helped him bring small-town Argentina vividly to life.
(The entire section is 83 words.)
Biography (Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition)
Manuel Puig (pweeg), one of Latin America’s major writers and one of the most widely read, has been called the chronicler of middle-class Argentina. Born in the provincial town of General Villegas, where he spent his childhood and received his elementary education, Puig was the son of Baldomero Puig, who worked in commerce, and Elena Delledonne. He began learning English at the age of ten to enhance his enjoyment of the American films that he and his mother saw every afternoon. Within a year, Puig was at the top of his class and had added to his interest in American films new interests in literature, philosophy, psychology, and Italian films. His ambition as a teenager was to become a film director.
In 1957, after having studied philosophy, languages, and literature in Argentina, he traveled to Rome with a scholarship to study at the Experimental Film Center; however, he was dissatisfied with the school and moved on to Paris, and then to London, where he earned a living by giving Spanish and Italian lessons as well as by washing dishes at the theater restaurant. During this time, Puig began writing film scripts; he continued to do so in 1959, when he moved to Stockholm. A year later, upon his return to Argentina, he obtained a position as assistant director in the Argentine film industry. After a short stay in his native country, he moved to New York City...
(The entire section is 915 words.)
Manuel Puig was born on December 28, 1932, in General Villegas, in the pampas of Argentina. His father, Baldomero, was a businessman, and his mother, Maria Elena, was a chemist. As a young boy in a provincial town, Puig was enchanted by the Hollywood movies that his mother regularly took him to see. In 1950, Puig entered the University of Buenos Aires. In 1953, he joined the Argentine Air Force, serving as a translator. Beginning in 1955, Puig studied cinema at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia. From 1955 to 1956, he worked as a translator and a language instructor in London, England, and Rome, Italy. From 1957 to 1958, he was an assistant film director in Rome and in Paris, France. From 1958 to 1959, he lived in London, and in Stockholm, Sweden, working as a dishwasher. In 1960, he returned to Argentina and worked as an assistant film director in Buenos Aires. From 1961 to 1962, Puig worked again in Rome, translating film subtitles. In 1963, he moved to New York, working as a clerk for Air France until 1967.
Puig's serious writing career began while he lived in New York. He had originally planned to write a film script but found that his extensive notes for the script were turning into a novel. In 1968, the result of this effort became Puig's first novel, La traicion de Rita Hayworth (translated as Betrayed by Rita Hayworth), which soon became a best seller and was chosen by Le Monde, a French periodical, as one of the best...
(The entire section is 473 words.)