Mundo Nuevo

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Mundo Nuevo (1966–1971, Spanish for "the New World") was an influential Spanish-language periodical, being a monthly revista de cultura (literary magazine) dedicated to new Latin American literature. Sponsored by the Ford Foundation, it was founded in 1966 by Emir Rodríguez Monegal in Paris, France, and distributed worldwide. Monegal edited it until 1968 and resigned after a smear campaign related to a CIA scandal. The magazine stopped in 1971 after 58 issues.

Mundo Nuevo prepublished then-new writers, such as Mario Vargas Llosa or chapters of Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, famous poets such as Octavio Paz and younger writers, such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante or Severo Sarduy. It contributed to the 1960s publishing phenomenon dubbed "The Boom" in Latin American literature.[1]



In 1966, the Ford Foundation decided to publish a Latin American literary magazine. They approached Emir Rodríguez Monegal, scholar of Latin American literature and friend of Borges and Neruda. The magazine was published via ILARI (Instituto Latinoamericano de Relaciones Internacionales) which was habilitated to receive the Ford funding.

Monegal's only demand was to establish it in Paris, France, because, as he explained later, "Paris [...] has the advantage of being a great city where you can still live cheaply. Latin American writers, especially during the sixties, always made their sentimental journey to Paris, and I knew that I could always find talent just outside the door. Besides, if you publish a magazine in any Latin American city, it inevitably takes on a local air. This was just what I wanted to avoid. And the French postal service enabled us to reach the entire New World."[2]

Contribution (1966–1968)[edit]

In July 1966, the first issue was published. It was a 23 cm illustrated magazine.[3] Mundo Nuevo published articles and interviews, prose, poetry, and essays, but also excerpts of unreleased texts. It helped launch the career of younger writers such as Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Severo Sarduy, Manuel Puig but also helped then-new writers such as Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, or José Donoso.[4]

During 1966, Mundo Nuevo prepublished two chapters of García Márquez's breakthrough novel One Hundred Years of Solitude one year before the book's release; Monegal explained, "I wanted to prepare the ground for the book, which came out in 1967."[2]

Mundo Nuevo contributed to the 1960s publishing phenomenon dubbed "The Boom" in Latin American literature that led to many Latin American writers being published outside of their home countries and gaining critical recognition.[2][4]


Monegal directed Mundo Nuevo with full editorial control. In those times of Cold War, the magazine was attacked and boycotted from the beginning by Cuba and Latin-American Castrists or Marxists. Monegal defined himself as "a socialist of the English Labour Party type" who "had nothing to do with what they call socialism in the Soviet Union"[2] and he refused to turn Mundo Nuevo into yet another pro-Communist or anti-Communist journal. He explained later, "I conceived Mundo Nuevo as an open forum and invited writers of all political persuasions to contribute to it." This stand of independence also attracted the ire of the anti-Castro in exile.[2]

In 1967, a political scandal was manufactured, with a rumor alleging that Mundo Nuevo was funded by the CIA.[2][4] In answer, Monegal published in the July 1967 issue of Mundo Nuevo "La CIA y los intelectuales" ("The CIA and the intellectuals"), an article not only debunking the rumor, but also lambasting both the Stalinists and the CIA. He expressed (translated from the Spanish) "the strongest condemnation" of the CIA's actions against intellectuals "who had demonstrated independence against Fascism and Stalinism", being "victim of slander of the organized reaction of the McCarthyist or Stalinist gangs" and of "the deceit" of "the CIA or other corrupters from other sides".[5] This article, and its follow-up two months later, did not amuse Monegal's backers. Escalating disagreements with the Ford Foundation and the ILARI eventually led to Monegal's resignation in July 1968.[2]

Dissolution (1968–1971)[edit]

As Monegal explained, the magazine was moved to Argentina in Buenos Aires, "where it became just one more anti-Communist journal. It died of exhaustion in the early seventies."[2]

In 1971, the last issue was the double #57/58 for the months of March/April.[3][6]


Primary sources consulted
Tertiary sources consulted
  1. ^ Jaime Perales Contreras, "Octavio Paz y el círculo de la revista Mundo Nuevo" Estudios Magazine, Mexico City number 112, October 2012: 185-193
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Mac Adam 1984, primary sources.
  3. ^ a b LOC, tertiary sources.
  4. ^ a b c EB, tertiary sources.
  5. ^ Monegal 1967, primary sources. "Ante este hecho, Mundo Nuevo expresa la más enérgica condenación. Porque no se trata sólo de que la CIA haya engañado a tanto escritor independiente: se trata, sobre todo, que ha engañado a quienes habían demostrado su independencia frente al fascismo y al stalinismo [...] El escritor o el artista que no esté dispuesto a decir Amén o Heil [...] está por eso mismo expuesto a la más cruel aventura. Por un lado, es víctima de la calumnia de la reacción organizada, de la pandilla maccarthista o stalinista; por el otro, del engaño de la CIA. [...] La CIA, u otros corruptores de otros bandos, pueden pagar a los intelectuales independientes sin que éstos lo sepan. Lo que no pueden hacer es comprarlos."
  6. ^ WorldCat, tertiary sources.

See also[edit]