Rafael Squirru's multilingualism comes early: raised with English nanny "Memé" Murray, he completed his primary education at St. Andrew's Scots School of Buenos Aires. The first Latin American to obtain a law degree at Scotland's Edinburgh University, he then married Mary Dodd with whom he spoke English and Spanish from his 23rd year of age until his death. He also spoke fluent French.
His library contained more books in the English language than in his own. It is no surprise that Borges should summon him often to read to him in order to enjoy the original versions of his favorites -Stevenson, William James and Whitman among them- with Rafael's impeccable English pronunciation. As a token of his appreciation, the blind poet gave Squirru some of his books, such as James' Varieties of Religious Experience with comments written in his neat, minute handwriting.
Squirru's essays overflow with quotes from foreign authors, both modern and classic. When writing in Spanish, he translated the citations himself.
It was during his seven-year stay in the U.S. that he undertook the task of translating his favorite poet, William Shakespeare. Hamlet, translated into Argentine Spanish and illustrated by artist Juan Carlos Liberti, was followed by La tempestad and Romeo y Julieta, the latter as yet unpublished. Using the local "you" form of "vos", his Hamlet was evaluated by Hispanic Studies Professor Shaw of Edinburgh University as "a milestone of Shakesperean studies in Latin America".
Brahma, de R. W. Emerson
Una exhortación, de P.B. Shelley
Fragmentos, de P.B. Shelley
Ozymandias, de P.B. Shelley
Sonetos 116 y 66, de W. Shakespeare
Un sueño dentro de un sueño, de E. A. Poe
Translation of Shakespeare's The tempest with illustrations by J.C. Liberti
Translationof Shakespeare´s Hamlet, with ilustrations by J.C. Liberti