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Culture

ONETTI LIVED HIS LAST YEARS OF LIVE LAID ON BED FOR SIMPLE LAZINESS

San Lorenzo de El Escorial (Madrid) / The Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti (Montevideo, 1909- Madrid, 1994) lived the last years of his life laid on bed because, he said publicly, that it was where “everything important” happened, but in reality, according to his widow, the violinist Dorotea Muhr, was for simple “laziness”.

Muhr, known as Dolly Onetti, has reviewed some of the aspects of her life with which he is considered the inventor of the modern Latin American novel during her participation in the Summer Courses by Complutense University.

“Juan slept, ate, read and made love, all on bed, because he considered that it was where everything important happened, but in reality it was laziness,” said the violinist, who lived with her husband since 1974 in Spain.

Dolly Onetti, to which Mario Vargas Llosa -author of The Journey to Fiction. The world of Juan Carlos Onetti– has described as “companion, secretary and guardian angel”, was the fourth “and definitive” wife of the Uruguayan.

The author of Juntacadáveres was married for the first time to his cousin María Amalia Onetti, mother of his son Jorge; at three he separated and married the sister of the previous one, Maria Julia, and in 1945 he married Elizabeth Maria Pekelharing, his partner in Reuters.

Onetti went into exile in Spain in 1974, fleeing the Uruguayan dictatorship and after spending three months imprisoned, accused of having been sworn in for the literary prize “Marcha”, which won a story labeled as “pornographic” by the authorities.

Dolly Onetti and the Uruguayan were together for almost forty years, in the midst of which he wrote columns for EFE thanks to which, his widow remembered, they could live because they were paid in dollars.

The Onetti couple lived happily because, says Dolly, they complied “as good marriages do”, even though her father had serious reluctance to this link.

“I took care of Juan even although he tried to convince my parents that he took care of me so they would let us be together”, explains Dolly Onetti, who assumed all the tasks and responsibilities, “from passing the articles and books to machine to sign the housing contracts. “

About the three months he spent in jail in Uruguay, she recalled that this was “a delicate moment” in the history of the Latin American country.

It was she who took him out of there and put him in a psychiatric hospital selling everything they had to pay for it; “When he got out of jail, Uruguay was a dictatorship.”

The writer did not expect to be given the Cervantes Prize -in 1980- “because he was very superstitious, so he laid on bed; but in the end they knocked on the door”.

When they asked Onetti what the Cervantes meant to him, he said “ten million pesetas.”

During her participation in the Courses of El Escorial, Dolly Onetti presented some letters that she had sent to her mother about the writer, in which she described how Onetti suffered for “killing the characters in his books” and other daily moments of the couple.

She, although she saw her life dedicated to him, was also a violinist, something that, as she related, “was the cross of Juan, but I understood it because it is horrible to live with a violinist”. (July 2018, EFE/Practica Español)

News related in video (December 2010):


Comprehension

Lee la noticia y responde a las preguntas. (Read the news and answer the questions.)

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Question 1
La noticia trata...  
A
de unas declaraciones sobre cómo era un escritor uruguayo.
B
de lo que dijo la nieta de un escritor acerca de su abuelo.
C
de lo que solían decir unos novelistas sobre un conocido escritor uruguayo.
Question 2
Según el texto, Dolores Muhr...  
A
fue la persona con la que Onetti estuvo casado.
B
nunca llegó a ser la esposa de Juan Carlos Onetti.
C
es una de las hijas que tuvo Onetti en su primer matrimonio.
Question 3
En el texto se dice que Muhr...  
A
evitó hablar de su marido durante su participación en un curso sobre literatura.
B
relató cómo era su marido durante la presentación de un libro en Madrid.
C
habló de Onetti cuando estuvo participando en unos cursos impartidos por una universidad.
Question 4
Según Muhr, Onetti pasaba mucho tiempo en la cama porque era hiperactivo.  
A
En absoluto.
B
Así es.
C
¡Imposible saberlo!
Question 5
En la noticia se dice que este escritor...      
A
no estuvo viviendo en ningún país europeo.
B
tuvo que abandonar su país a causa de la situación política de su país.
C
jamás abandonó su país a causa de la situación política de su país.
Question 6
Onetti jamás llegó a trabajar para una agencia de noticias.  
A
Para nada.
B
Así es.
C
No se sabe.
Question 7
Sobre el Premio Cervantes se dice que...  
A
Onetti no pensaba que algún día ganaría este galardón.
B
Onetti siempre supo que algún día ganaría este galardón.
C
Onetti estuvo a punto de ganar este galardón.
Question 8
En el vídeo...    
A
se recuerda cuándo Onetti recibió el Premio Cervantes.
B
se habla de todos los ganadores del Premio Cervantes.
C
se habla del aniversario del fallecimiento de Onetti.
Question 9
Según el vídeo, Onetti nunca llegó a escribir cuentos.  
A
Es mentira.
B
Es verdad.
C
¡Imposible saberlo!
Question 10
Según el vídeo, Onetti falleció en su ciudad natal.    
A
Verdadero.
B
No se sabe.
C
Falso.
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