The Argentine writer Sylvia Molloy.Eterna Cadencia
Silvia Molloy from Argentina was never satisfied with a single language, country or discipline.
The writer, translator and teacher, born in Buenos Aires in 1938, died this Thursday in New York at the age of 83.
“Sylvia Molloy passed away.
We will always remember her with a lot of love and the joy of having published her beautiful books, ”reported the Argentine publisher Eterna Cadencia through social networks.
Molloy, like many children and grandchildren of immigrants in Argentina, grew up between different languages.
The Spanish that she learned at school and used on a daily basis in Buenos Aires was mixed as a child with the English that she inherited from her father and with the French that she recovered from her maternal grandparents.
She kept all three alive throughout her life, using them interchangeably in her literary essays, and captured that multilingual experience in
Living Between Languages .
"This knowledge that what is said has always been foreign, that speaking always implies insufficiency and above all duplicity (there is always another way of saying it) is characteristic of any language but, in the anxiety of establishing contact, we forget it," he says. in one of the paragraphs of the book.
Molloy was living in Paris when he wrote his first novel,
In Brief Prison
, a love story—or the memory of that love—between two women.
It was 1981, Argentina was governed by a ferocious dictatorship and no publishing house in her native country accepted it, not even Sudamericana, which had published some previous essays.
Faced with censorship, she came out in Spain and in Argentina circulated from hand to hand in photocopies for years, becoming an icon of lesbian literature.
When it was published in the country in 1998 by Simurg, and when it was later rescued by the writer and critic Ricardo Piglia for the Recienvenido series, the novel found new audiences and rereadings.
“I was locked up, furious, writing against something.
Against a betrayal”, Molloy said in an interview with the newspaper
about the germ of that first work of fiction.
The writer would stay away from the genre until twenty years later, when she published
The common forgetfulness
(2002), where she narrates the search for a lost identity in another country and another time from the voice of an Argentine academic who lives in the United States —like her — and must temporarily return to Buenos Aires.
It was followed by the collection of stories
(2010) and the aforementioned
Living between languages
"There are many of us who live in linguistic swings, especially in these times of displacement, exile, temporary settlements, drifts of all kinds," he assured in 2016, during his visit to Buenos Aires to present the book.
A great lover of animals, Molloy counts among her pages the language with which she addressed the chickens, dogs and cats with which she lived together with her partner, Emily.
“Girls, let's eat”, she told them at first.
She assured that they understood her and came running.
Molloy alternated writing with a long teaching career.
She received a doctorate in Comparative Literature from the Sorbonne in 1967, she later moved to the United States, where she was professor of Latin American and comparative literature at Princeton and Yale universities.
In 2007, she founded the Master's in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University.
Among her essays, the early
Las Letras de Borges
(1979) stands out, as well as those that she published on autobiographical literature in the 1990s and that served as a reference for many of her later works, before the
in the literature of the self.
“We deeply regret the death of Sylvia Molloy, writer, essayist, teacher and pioneer in the LGBTQI+ theme.
We accompany the pain of her loved ones ”, the Argentine Union of Writers and Writers dismissed her along with an image of the writer with a cat.
“Beloved, beloved, beloved Sylvia, I will always miss you, your voice, your crystalline laugh, chatting about the little animals we love, books, going with you to buy cork or metal pigs or whatever, the photos of your interspecies family, your luminous intelligence, your loving talk, ”wrote his colleague Gabriela Cabezón Cámara upon learning of the death.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.