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Cabrera Infante, G. (Guillermo), 1929-2005
Guillermo Cabrera Infante Papers
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
19 boxes and 7.5 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-19


Consists of manuscripts and correspondence of the Cuban novelist and storywriter Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929-2005). These papers contain published work and screenplays from 1964 through 1982, a manuscript of Three Trapped Tigers (1971), the English translation of Tres tristes tigres (1967), and film stills from Wonderwall (1968). Furthermore, the collection contains extensive correspondence between Cabrera Infante and literary agents, publishers, film producers, Latin American writers, and others.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of at least one manuscript for each of Cabrera Infante's published works and screenplays from 1964 through 1982, including the novels La Habana para un Infante Difunto (1979) and Tres tristes tigres (1967); the essay collections Arcadia todas las noches (1978), Exorcismos del esti(l)o (1976), and O (1975); the vignette collection Vista del amanecer en el trópico (1974); and the screenplays Under the Volcano (1972), Vanishing Point (1970), and Wonderwall (1968). Also included is a manuscript of Three Trapped Tigers (1971), the English translation of Tres tristes tigres. The manuscripts for Cabrera Infante's early works, Así en la paz como en la guerra (1960) and Un oficio del siglo veinte (1963), are not included in the collection since they were not retained by the author.

There is also extensive correspondence between Cabrera Infante and literary agents, publishers, film producers, Latin American writers, and others. The letters consist of a variety of correspondents and cover a wide scope of topics. The Nestor Almendros correspondence includes frequent mention of progress in the Cuban cinematographer's various creative projects. One of the two Reinaldo Arenas letters is in regard to the unauthorized use of Arenas' and Cabrera Infante's respective works in an anthology of Cuban literature written after the revolution. The large amount of Julio Cortázar correspondence includes discussion about a screenplay Cabrera Infante wrote based on Cortázar's short story "La autopista del sur." These letters mostly concentrate on troubles in the film's production and the interest of others in adapting the story. The letters of Calvert Casey contain some written to Cabrera Infante, as well as letters by and to others. Joseph Losey's correspondence covers his direction of Cabrera Infante's film adaptation of the Malcolm Lowry novel Under the Volcano. The letters of both Virgilio Piñera and Manuel Puig with Cabrera Infante are predominately personal in nature. The correspondence of Emir Rodríguez Monegal is extensive and primarily personal; however it also contains letters relating to politics in literature and some discussion of the literary journal Mundo Nuevo from the period when Rodríguez Monegal was its editor. Manuel Scorza's letters are also mostly personal, but they occasionally address literary issues. Also among the open material are Cabrera Infante's letters (1976-1981) to Cuban poet and writer Juana Rosa Pita.

Collection Creator Biography:

Cabrera Infante, G. (Guillermo), 1929-2005

Guillermo Cabrera Infante was born on April 22, 1929, in Gibara, Oriente Province, Cuba. His parents, Guillermo Cabrera López and Zoila Infante, founded the Cuban Communist Party and were routinely persecuted and discriminated against for their criticism of Fulgencio Batista. These early political experiences would influence Cabrera Infante's later politics and career. In 1941 the family moved from the coast to the Cuban capital in search of work opportunities.

Cabrera Infante attended the Universidad de la Havana to study medicine, but left shortly thereafter to write. His early literary activities involved editing the journal Bohemia, founding the magazine Nueva generación, and organizing and directing the Cinemateca de Cuba (1951-1956). In 1952 the Batista regime's censors found Cabrera Infante guilty of incorporating English obscenities in a short story that he wrote in Bohemia. As punishment, he was prohibited from publishing in his own name, although he quickly adopted the pseudonym G. Caín, a contraction of his surnames. On August 18, 1953, Cabrera Infante married Marta Calvo. The couple had two daughters, Ana and Carola, but then later divorced in October 1961.

Under the pseudonym G. Caín, Cabrera Infante wrote film reviews for Carteles (1954) and went on to become the magazine's chief editor (1957). He later assumed the directorship of the Instituto del Cine (1959) and edited Lunes de Revolución (1959-1961), the literary supplement of the pro-Fidel Castro newspaper Revolución. At the same time, Cabrera Infante published his first short story collection, Así en la paz como en la guerra (1960); in 1962 it was nominated for the Prix International de Literature (France). Cabrera Infante married his second wife, Miriam Gómez, a former Cuban stage star, on December 9, 1961.

After Lunes de Revolución was officially banned in 1961 as reprisal for editorial protest against government censorship, Cabrera Infante joined the diplomatic service and worked at the Cuban Embassy in Brussels, Belgium, as a cultural attaché (1962-1965). During this time abroad, he composed Un oficio del siglo veinte (1963), a collection of his film reviews written between 1954 and 1960.

The unpublished manuscript of Tres tristes tigres (1967) won the Biblioteca Breve award (Spain) in 1964, and was nominated for the Prix Formentor–International Publishers Prize in 1965. This novel, perhaps Cabrera Infante's best-known work, provides a vision of Havana nightlife before the revolution through the eyes of several friends. Beginning with the title, the text is full of alliteration, puns, and other wordplay, as well as Cuban colloquialisms. Cabrera Infante would continue this style of writing in his later works.

While in Brussels during the early 60s, Cabrera Infante's disenchantment with the Castro government grew, and finally culminated in 1965 when he resigned from the diplomatic corps and subsequently immigrated to England. There he began a new career writing screenplays (1967-1972), a vocation that combined his love of cinema and literature in a new form. From his home in London, Cabrera Infante continued to contribute to major European and American publications, as well as produce new works. He died in London on February 21, 2005.

Collection History


This collection was purchased by the Special Collections directly from the author.


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Claire A. Johnston and Karla J. Vecchia in 2002. Finding aid written by Claire A. Johnston and Karla J. Vecchia in 2002. Finding aid updated by Jill Baron in 2012.

Restrictions of correspondence placed until December 2020 were removed by Armando Suárez.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Guillermo Cabrera Infante Papers; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
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Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Box 1-19