Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. He primarily wrote short stories, but also wrote novels and poems in addition to working as a translator. His father was an Argentine diplomat stationed there.
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When his family returned to Argentina after the war, he grew up in Banfield, not far from Buenos Aires. He took a degree as a schoolteacher and went to work in a town in the province of Buenos Aires until the early s, writing for himself on the side. Writers he translated included Poe, Defoe, and Marguerite Yourcenar.
Two posthumous collections of his political articles on Nicaragua and on Argentina have also been published. In the last decade, royalties from his books enabled him to buy his own apartment. The apartment, atop a building in a district of wholesalers and chinaware shops, might have been the setting for one of his stories: spacious, though crowded with books, its walls lined with paintings by friends.
The last months before this interview had been particularly difficult for him, since his last wife, Carol, thirty years his junior, had recently died of cancer. In addition, his extensive travels, especially to Latin America, had obviously exhausted him.
He had been home barely a week and was finally relaxing in his favorite chair, smoking a pipe as we talked. Have you yourself felt as if the fantastic and the commonplace are becoming one? Yes, in these recent stories I have the feeling that there is less distance between what we call the fantastic and what we call the real.
Of course, the fantastic takes on metamorphoses; it changes. The notion of the fantastic we had in the epoch of the gothic novels in England, for example, has absolutely nothing to do with our concept of it today. These days, my notion of the fantastic is closer to what we call reality.
Perhaps because reality approaches the fantastic more and more. Much more of your time in recent years has been spent in support of various liberation struggles in Latin America. So, I feel less free than before. That is, thirty years ago I was writing things that came into my head and I judged them only by aesthetic criteria.
If what he writes becomes simply literature with a political content, it can be very mediocre. So, the problem is one of balance. For me, what I do must always be literature, the highest I can do.
But, at the same time, to try to put in a mix of contemporary reality. What has been the response to such stories? Was there much difference in the response you got from literary people and that which you got from political ones? Of course. Those people regret that my stories often take a political turn. Other readers, above all the young—who share my sentiments, my need to struggle, and who love literature—love these stories.
If they were removed, if there were a change, then I could rest a little and work on poems and stories that would be exclusively literary. For me, literature is a form of play. It had no importance whatsoever, while playing with my friends was something serious. One can do everything for that game. It began in my childhood. Most of my young classmates had no sense of the fantastic. They took things as they were. But for me, things were not that well defined.
I read Edgar Allan Poe for the first time when I was only nine. The book scared me and I was ill for three months, because I believed in it.
For me, the fantastic was perfectly natural; I had no doubts at all. I preferred the world of the supernatural, of the fantastic. Link your subscription. Forgot password? Interviewed by Jason Weiss Issue 93, Fall Remember me.
A brief survey of the short story part 22: Julio Cortázar
When his family returned to Argentina after the war, he grew up in Banfield, not far from Buenos Aires. He took a degree as a schoolteacher and went to work in a town in the province of Buenos Aires until the early s, writing for himself on the side. Writers he translated included Poe, Defoe, and Marguerite Yourcenar. Two posthumous collections of his political articles on Nicaragua and on Argentina have also been published. In the last decade, royalties from his books enabled him to buy his own apartment. The apartment, atop a building in a district of wholesalers and chinaware shops, might have been the setting for one of his stories: spacious, though crowded with books, its walls lined with paintings by friends.
Julio Cortazar, the Argentine writer whose novels and short stories bore the Latin American literary stamp of richness in language and imagery and who was a supporter of the Cuban and Nicaraguan revolutions, died yesterday in Saint Lazare Hospital in Paris. He was 69 years old and had suffered from leukemia for several months. The writer had been hospitalized 10 days ago and death was caused by a heart attack, his family said. This was written in collaboration with Carol Dunlop, his companion, who died in After Miss Dunlop's death, Mr. Cortazar's own health declined.
Julio Cortazar: Biography, Short Stories & Poems
Known-of rather than widely read, some recognition is still afforded him as the author of the novel Hopscotch, and also of the excellent short story from which Blowup , Michelangelo Antonioni's iconic depiction of Swinging 60s London, was liberally adapted. Hopscotch's reputation comes partly from its experimental form: a three-part novel comprising numbered paragraphs, it can be read according to an alternative, non-linear pattern in which the final section becomes a metatextual commentary on the first two. More importantly, Hopscotch was influential in terms of the shifting registers and jazz-influenced riffs of its prose. Those written in the s and s offer the strongest case for their author's greatness.