University of Notre Dame


Hesburgh Libraries

Rare Books & Special Collections

Ricardo Güiraldes (1886-1927)

"The beauty of the vast, uniform plain, the great spectacle of those days and nights in the pampa that follow upon each other with equal splendor, but which are never the same, have instilled in me a love for that which is simple and great...

My writing can have a literary style without having to use only words approved by the Royal Spanish Academy. Our pampa has its own vocabulary which has come from the need to create new terms. The use of these expressions are as proper, indeed as necessary, as the best. I can write literature with what we may call "gaucho" vocabulary in as pure a style as the most Castilian."

Ricardo Güiraldes and Don Segundo Sombra, Life and Works.
Giovanni Previtali. New York: Hispanic Institute, 1963.

Biographical Information

Ricardo Güiraldes is one of the most significant Argentine writers of the first half of the Twentieth Century. His 1926 epic novel set among the gauchos, Don Segundo Sombra, remains one of the most important Argentine works of that period. He was also active in the Buenos Aires literary scene, coediting the literary journals Martín Fierro and Proa (cover at right; click for enlarged view of Borges' signature) with Jorge Luis Borges and others. His intellectual curiosity led him to write poetry, essays and novels that ranged far beyond Argentina to universal themes including religion and philosophy. Sadly, he died shortly after the publication of Don Segundo Sombra.

Return to top of page

Books: Editions & Translations of Don Segundo Sombra

There are sixteen works representing numerous editions of Don Segundo Sombra in this collection. Two copies of the first edition are included: one is number 18 of 30 finely printed volumes. A 1926 Chilean edition is interesting in that it may have been unauthorized. A number of the other editions are also from limited editions. One edition has the signature of Güiraldes' wife.

The collection represents all of Güiraldes' novels, although there are later anthologies and other compilations that are not included here. The collection includes Cuentos de muerte y de sangre, his first work which was published in Buenos Aires (1915). His 1922 work, Rosaura, was first published in a journal as a short story in 1898. This short story, along with a first edition of the novel, are included here. Many of the works are limited editions of very high quality printing.

Return to top of page


Two items stand out in this category. The Revista Don Segundo Sombra, 1928-1929, is a rarity. There is also a collection of newspaper clippings pasted into four workbook volumes about Don Segundo Sombra.

Return to top of page


The manuscript materials vary in importance. The manuscript of the essay Los dos conquistadores and an outline for his book Xaimaca are significant. The letters by Güiraldes and others help to understand the writer. There is a poem from Paul Valery to Güiraldes that will be of interest to Valery critics. The original typescript of the French version of Don Segundo Sombra will interest those who study translation.

Return to top of page