Mario Benedetti completed six years of primary school at the Deutsche Schule in Montevideo, where he also learned German, which allowed him later to be the first translator of Kafka in Uruguay. When Nazism was present in the classrooms, he was immediately removed from the school by his father. For two years he studied at Liceo Miranda, but for the rest of his high school years he did not attend an educational institution. In those years he learned shorthand, which was his livelihood for a long time.
At age 14 he began working, first as a stenographer and then as a seller, public officer, accountant, journalist, broadcaster and translator. Mario Benedetti trained as a journalist with Carlos Quijano, in the weekly March. Between 1938 and 1941 he lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Mr. Benedetti also wrote in the famous weekly Uruguayan newspaper Marcha from 1945 until it was forcibly closed by the military government in 1973, and was its literary director from 1954.
For 12 years, from 1973 to 1985, when a civic-military dictatorship ruled Uruguay, Mr. Benedetti lived in exile, first going to Buenos Aires. He then went to Lima in Peru where he was detained, deported and then given an amnesty. He went to Cuba in 1976 and the following year went to Madrid, Spain. His exile was made particularly trying as his wife had to remain in Uruguay to look after both of their mothers. In 1980 he moved to Palma, Majorca.
Mario Benedetti returned to Uruguay in March 1983 following the restoration of democracy, dividing his time between Montevideo and Madrid.
In the last ten years of his life he suffered from asthma and spent his winters in Madrid (where it was summer) in order to avoid the cold, though as his health deteriorated he eventually remained in Montevideo. In 2006 his wife Luz López died, ending more than six decades of matrimony.
He died in Montevideo on 17 May 2009, a little after 6:00 pm. He had suffered from respiratory and intestinal problems for more than a year. His remains are buried at the National Pantheon, Central Cemetery of Montevideo.
(En la ciudad, hombres y mujeres se aman y se odian; muere...)
(Este libro de cuentos es un verdadero mosaico de emocione...)
(Autor de novelas, cuentos y piezas teatrales, Mario Bened...)
(Indispensable en la bibliografía de Benedetti, Gracias po...)
(Este libro reúne los mejores poemas de amor escritos por ...)
("It gives me great pleasure to see the work of Benedetti,...)
(Claudio retrocede hasta volver a ser un niño de cinco año...)
(This first ever bilingual edition of "Only in the Meantim...)
(Este libro reúne todos los poemas publicados en libro por...)
(Una novela sobre la soledad y la incomunicación, el amor ...)
(Un visión humana sobre el exilio y la dictadura en la que...)
(Benedetti seleccionó y preparó la edición de estos poemas...)
(Un hombre a quien le diagnostican una grave enfermedad, r...)
(«Son muchas las razones que nos llevan a la lectura de Be...)
(«Todo es adrede, todo hace trizas el alma.» ¿Nos traicion...)
Mr. Benedetti’s life was also shaped by politics. After a military coup overthrew Uruguay’s democratically elected government in 1973, he left the country and spent ten years in exile in Argentina, Peru, Cuba, and Spain. “The experience of exile made me into another person, more alert, better informed about the world,” Benedetti told El País in one of his last interviews.
In 2006, Mario Benedetti signed a petition in support of the independence of Puerto Rico from the United States.
“Five minutes are enough to dream a whole life, that is how relative time is.”
“When we made love it seemed that every hard bone of mine corresponded with a soft bone of hers, that every impulse of mine found itself coordinated with its echo. This against that. It’s just like when one becomes accustomed to dancing with the same partner. At first every movement introduces a corresponding response; then the response corresponds immediately to every thought. There is only one person who thinks, but the two bodies make the dance step.”
In 1946 he married Luz López Alegre.