Cook Music Library Digital Exhibitions

Mario Benedetti (Uruguay, 1920-2009)

Photo: Mario Benedetti

Mario Benedetti.


Writer, essayist, and critic

With a voluminous oeuvre covering many literary genres, Mario Benedetti is one of Latin America’s most revered and prolific writers. He was a politically engaged writer. His lyrical work has been popularized by prominent Ibero-American performers. 

Born in the countryside, Benedetti’s was raised in Montevideo. He pursued a career in journalism, working for important organs, particularly the influential weekly Marcha. In 1959, Benedetti came to the United States on a fellowship from the American Council of Education. He traveled extensively during the next decade, visiting revolutionary Cuba several times. In Cuba, he founded and led the Center for Literary Research at Casa de las Américas (1968-1971). In 1971, he became a leading member of a left-leaning political coalition in Uruguay. Following the 1973 military coup in Uruguay, Benedetti went into exile, eventually settling in Spain. He returned to Uruguay after the restoration of democracy in 1985.

Benedetti introduced urban themes into Uruguayan literature, critically depicting the world of the middle class in a stagnant Uruguay of the 1950 and 1960s. The experience of political exile pervaded his literary and intellectual work during the 1970s and 1990s. Humor, experimentation combining genres, and a simple and conversational literary style are the hallmarks of his literary work. 

Mario Benedetti has received major distinctions and awards, including the Golden Flame from Amnesty International (1987), the Orden al Mérito Docente y Cultural Gabriela Mistral (1996), the Reina Sofía Ibero-American Poetry Prize (1999), the José Martí Ibero-American Prize (2001), and the Menéndez Pelayo International Prize (2005).

Created in 2013, the Mario Benedetti International Prize for the Fight for Human Rights and Solidarity is awarded by the Benedetti Foundation every year on the late writer's date of birth.



Mario Benedetti - Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes (Cervantes Virtual)

Mario Benedetti - Gredos, Gestión del Repositorio Documental de la Universidad de Salamanca

Mario Benedetti - Europeana

Mario Benedetti – Biblioteca de Casa de las Américas


Mario Benedetti: Writing and Revolution (in Spanish with English Subtitles). Films On Demand. 1999. Accessed November 14, 2020. [Benedetti reflects on topics such as his life, political activism, and his diverse literary work.] Resource available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus).

Mario Benedetti A Fondo: A Fondo—In Their Own Words. Films On Demand. 1978. Accessed November 14, 2020. Resource available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus).

Mario Benedetti A Fondo [EDICIÓN COMPLETA y RESTAURADA (Televisión Española, RTVE, 1978).] Complete program in open access.

Videoteca de Mario Benedetti - Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes

Mario Benedetti - Palabra Virtual, Fonoteca literaria

Mario Benedetti en Los siete locosInterviewed by Cristina Mucci on his 80th birthday. (2000)

Mario Benedetti interviewed by Roberto Pereira and Carlos Hakas - Video Reporte, early 1990s. [Topics include his literary career, political and social, the origins of his characters, and reflections on exile and return from exile (desexilio).] View published transcription of the interview.

Encuentro con Mario Benedetti. Escritores latinoamericanos I - Taller de Imagen, Universidad de Alicante, 1996. [Mario Benedetti reflects on his life and work through readings and interviews recorded in Spain and Uruguay, and images of endearing places that evoke part of his literary creation.]

Film Adaptations

La tregua – Oscar-nominated film directed by Argentine filmmaker Sergio Renán based on Mario Benedetti’s most popular work (1974).

Theater Adaptations

Primavera con una esquina rota, written by Mario Benedetti. [TV Recording of play staged by Compañía Teatro ICTUS, Sala La Comedia, Santiago, Chile (1985).]

Poetry Reading

Mario Benedetti, Narraciones y poemas[Poems read by Mario Benedetti, from Narraciones y poemas, CD recording published in Colección Palabra de esta América by Centro de Investigaciones Literarias at Casa de las Américas (2009).]

Musicalized Poetry

Poems by Mario Benedetti set to music 

Especial “El Sur también existe” – Joan Manuel Serrat (Televisión Española, RTVE, 1986)

Nacha Guevara canta a Benedetti (1972)

Los versos se hacen canciones: Benedetti y Serrat – by María Carmela Mitidieri (Università di Salerno, Italy)

La vida ese paréntesis - Tania Libertad canta a Mario Benedetti (1998)

“Te Quiero” (I Love You) - Written by Mario Benedetti, set to music by Argentine composer Alberto Favero, and arranged for chorus by Argentine arranger Liliana Cangiano, “Te quiero” is popular in the choral realm. View selected choral music performances of Benedetti’s iconic song.

“Te Quiero” – CANTA AMERICA – 100 coros para los 100 años del nacimiento de Benedetti [International choralists honor Mario Benedetti on the centennial of his birthday (September 14, 2020).]  

“Te quiero” [Performed by Oregon State University's Bella Voce women’s choir (2014).]

 “Te quiero”  [Flash mob by Coro del Colegio Nacional Almirante Brown, at Estación Plaza Constitución in central Buenos Aires Argentina (2013).]

Todos los Coros - Te Quiero - Benedetti/Favero - Arr.: L. Cangiano - YouTube [Performed at Festival Internacional de Coros and directed by Carolina Romero López, Colombia (2012).]

Te Quiero - Mario Benedetti - YouTube [Performed by Coro de Cámara Ars Nova de Plasencia - Legado de Pepe Neria, Plasencia, Spain (2009).]

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La vida ese paréntesis – Tania Libertad canta a Mario Benedetti (music video, 1998)


Mario Benedetti, homenaje al poeta - Instituto Cervantes, 14 September 2020

’Querido Mario…’. Dedicatorias en la biblioteca madrileña de Mario Benedetti - Centro de Estudios Literarios Iberoamericanos Mario Benedetti, Universidad de Alicante, 2020  

Mario Benedetti y la Universidad de Alicante (1990-2003): Defensa de la alegría - Universidad de Alicante, September 2020

Secuencias: Benedetti 100 Años – TV Ciudad, Uruguay (2020)

Homenaje a Mario Benedetti - Fundación Mario Bendetti/ Associación General de Autores del Uruguay (AGADU)/ Administración Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (ANTEL), 2014

Circuito Mirada Benedetti - División Turismo, Intendencia de Montevideo, Uruguay (2020)

100 años del nacimiento de Mario Benedetti: un repaso a su trayectoria vital y literaria - Televisión Española, RTVE, (2020).

Homenaje a Mario Benedetti - Casa de las Américas, 2009.

Homenaje a Benedetti - Eduardo Galeano [The late Eduardo Galeano (Uruguay, 1940-2015) remembers his esteemed friend Mario Benedetti (2010).]


Montevideo in Benedetti’s Work [Map]

Benedetti in El País - A collection of articles on Mario Benedetti published in El País, Spain’s newspaper of record.

En memoria de Mario Benedetti - Mario Benedetti in Archivo de RTVE

Un Día de Muertos "muy mexicano" que recuerda a un Benedetti "muy uruguayo" - Agencia EFE (3 November 2020)