Biography and History

José “Pepe” Bianco was born on 21 November 1908 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He left the university just shy of obtaining a law degree, and later joined the prestigious literary journal Sur as a contributor in 1938. Bianco rose through the ranks from secretary to editor, and it was during his years at Sur that the publication earned its greatest international renown. However, in 1961, a public disagreement with Victoria Ocampo, the head of Sur, over a trip he took to Cuba led to Bianco's resignation. Bianco quickly began work at Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires (EUDEBA), but again was forced to resign only six years later when the dictator Juan Carlos Onganía took over the government of Argentina.

In addition to his editorial work, Bianco also wrote four principal works, La pequeña Gyaros (short stories, 1932), Sombras suele vestir (novel, 1941), Las ratas (novel, 1943), and La pérdida del reino (novel, 1972). A collection of his essays previously written for Sur and other publications were published as Ficción y realidad (1977). Bianco was also well regarded as a translator of the writings of foreign authors to Spanish, including Samuel Beckett, Julien Benda, Ambrose Bierce, T. S. Eliot, Jean Genet, Henry James, Jean Paul Sartre, Tom Stoppard, and Paul Valéry. He was a long-time friend of fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges, as well as publisher, through Sur, of Borges' El jardín de senderos que se bifurcan and Ficciones.

Bianco died in Buenos Aires on 24 April 1986 as a result of a lung ailment.

Source: From the finding aid for C0681


  • Novelists, Argentine -- 20th century..
  • José Bianco Papers. 1928-1985 (inclusive), 1941-1979 (bulk).

    Call Number: C0681

    The José Bianco Papers consists of notes and correspondence of the Argentine editor, author, and translator José Bianco, as well as a small selection of writings by others and audio recordings of Cuban poets José Lezama Lima and Nicolás Guillén reading their poetry.