Julio Cortázar

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Julio Cortázar
Cortázar.jpg
Cortázar by Sara Facio, in 1967.
Born August 26, 1914
Ixelles, Belgium
Died 12 February 1984(1984-02-12) (aged 69)
Paris, France
Pen name Julio Denis (in his first two books)
Occupation Writer, Translator
Nationality Argentine, French
Genres Short Story, Poetry, Novel.
Literary movement Latin American Boom
Notable work(s) Hopscotch
Blow-up and Other Stories
Notable award(s) Prix Médicis (France, 1974), Rubén Darío Order of Cultural Independence (Nicaragua, 1983)

Signature

Julio Cortázar, born Jules Florencio Cortázar[1] (American Spanish: [ˈxuljo korˈtasar] ( ); August 26, 1914 – February 12, 1984), was an Argentine novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Known as one of the founders of the Latin American Boom, Cortázar influenced an entire generation of Spanish-speaking readers and writers in the Americas and Europe. He has been called both a "modern master of the short story" and, by Carlos Fuentes, "the Simón Bolívar of the novel."[2]

Early life[edit]

Julio Cortázar was born on August 26, 1914 in Ixelles,[3] a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. According to biographer Miguel Herráez, his parents, Julio José Cortázar and María Herminia Descotte, were Argentine citizens, and his father was attached to the Argentine diplomatic service in Belgium.[4] However, the latter statement has been challenged, as the Ministry of Foreign Relation in Argentina has denied any connection between Julio José Cortázar and the diplomatic corps.[5]

At the time of Cortázar's birth Belgium was occupied by the German troops of Kaiser Wilhelm II. After the irruption of German troops in Belgium, Cortázar and his family moved to Zürich where María Herminia's parents, Victoria Gabel and Louis Descotte (a French National), were waiting in neutral territory. The family group spent the next two years in Switzerland, first in Zürich, then in Geneva, before moving for a short period to Barcelona. The Cortázars settled outside Buenos Aires by the end of 1919.[6]

Cortázar's father deserted his wife when Julio was six, and the family had no further contact with him.[7] Cortázar spent most of his childhood in Banfield, a suburb south of Buenos Aires, with his mother and younger sister. The home in Banfield, with its back yard, was a source of inspiration for some of his stories.[8] Despite this, in a letter to Graciela M. de Solá on December 4, 1963 he described this period of his life as "full of servitude, excessive touchiness, terrible and frequent sadness." He was a sickly child and spent much of his childhood in bed reading.[9] His mother, who spoke several languages and was a great reader herself, introduced her son to the works of Jules Verne, whom Cortázar admired for the rest of his life. In the magazine Plural (issue 44, Mexico City, May 1975) he wrote: "I spent my childhood in a haze full of goblins and elves, with a sense of space and time that was different from everybody else's."

Education and teaching career[edit]

Cortázar in his youth

Cortázar obtained a qualification as an elementary school teacher at the age of 18. He would later pursue higher education in philosophy and languages at the University of Buenos Aires, but left for financial reasons without receiving a degree.[10] According to biographer Montes-Bradley, Cortázar taught in at least two high schools in Buenos Aires Province, one in the city of Chivilcoy, the other in Bolivar. In 1938, using the pseudonym of Julio Denis, he self-published a volume of sonnets, Presencia,[11] which he later repudiated, saying in a 1977 interview for Spanish television that publishing it was his only transgression to the principle of not publishing any books until he was convinced that what was written in them was what he meant to say.[12] In 1944 he became professor of French literature at the National University of Cuyo in Mendoza, but he resigned the position in June 1946 due to political pressure from Peronists. He subsequently worked as a translator and as director of the Cámara Argentino del Libro, a trade organization.[13] In 1949 he published a play, Los Reyes (The Kings), based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur.

Years in France[edit]

In 1951, Cortázar emigrated to France, where he lived and worked for the rest of his life, though he traveled widely. From 1952 onwards, he worked intermittently for UNESCO as a translator. He wrote most of his major works in Paris or in Saignon in the south of France, where he also maintained a home. In later years he became actively engaged in opposing abuses of human rights in Latin America, and was a supporter of the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua as well as Fidel Castro's Cuban revolution and Salvador Allende's socialist government in Chile.[14]

Cortázar had three long-term romantic relationships with women. The first was with Aurora Bernárdez, an Argentine translator, whom he married in 1953. They separated in 1968[15] when he became involved with the Lithuanian writer, editor, translator, and filmmaker Ugnė Karvelis, whom he never formally married, and who reportedly stimulated Cortázar's interest in politics,[16] although his political sensibilities had already been awakened by a visit to Cuba in 1963, the first of multiple trips that he would make to that country throughout the remainder of his life. He later married the Canadian writer Carol Dunlop. After Dunlop's death in 1982, Aurora Bernárdez accompanied Cortázar during his final illness and, in accordance with his longstanding wishes, inherited the rights to all his works.[17][18]

He died in Paris in 1984 and is interred in the Cimetière de Montparnasse. The cause of his death was reported to be leukemia though some sources state that he died from AIDS as a result of receiving a blood transfusion.[19][20]

Marble grave stone with mementoes, flowers, notes and other small items placed on it.
Cortázar's grave in Montparnasse, Paris

Works[edit]

Cortázar wrote numerous short stories, collected in such volumes as Bestiario (1951), Final del juego (1956), and Las armas secretas (1959). In 1967, English translations by Paul Blackburn of stories selected from these volumes were published by Pantheon Books as End of the Game and Other Stories. Cortázar published four novels during his lifetime: Los premios (The Winners, 1960), Hopscotch (Rayuela, 1963), 62: A Model Kit (62 Modelo para Armar, 1968), and Libro de Manuel (A Manual for Manuel, 1973). Except for Los premios, which was translated by Elaine Kerrigan, these novels have been translated into English by Gregory Rabassa. Two other novels, El examen and Divertimiento, though written before 1960, only appeared posthumously.

The open-ended structure of Hopscotch, which invites the reader to choose between a linear and a non-linear mode of reading, has been praised by other Latin American writers, including José Lezama Lima, Giannina Braschi, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.[citation needed] Cortázar's use of interior monologue and stream of consciousness owes much to James Joyce[21] and other modernists,[citation needed] but his main influences were Surrealism,[22] the French Nouveau roman[citation needed] and the improvisatory aesthetic of jazz.[23] This last interest is reflected in the notable story "El perseguidor" ("The Pursuer"), which Cortázar based on the life of the bebop saxophonist Charlie Parker.[24]

Cortázar also published poetry, drama, and various works of non-fiction. In the 1960s, working with the artist José Silva, he created two almanac-books or libros-almanaque, La vuelta al día en ochenta mundos and Último Round, which combined various texts written by Cortázar with a photographs, engravings, and other illustrations, in the manner of the almanaques del mensajero that had been widely circulated in rural Argentina during his childhood.[25] One of his last works was a collaboration with Carol Dunlop, The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute, which relates, partly in mock-heroic style, the couple's extended expedition along the autoroute from Paris to Marseille in a Volkswagen camper nicknamed Fafner. As a translator, he completed Spanish-language renderings of Robinson Crusoe, Marguerite Yourcenar's novel Mémoires d'Hadrien, and the complete prose works of Edgar Allan Poe.[26]

Influence and legacy[edit]

Michelangelo Antonioni's film Blowup (1966) was inspired by Cortázar's story "Las babas del diablo," which in turn was based on a photograph taken by Chilean photographer Sergio Larraín during a shoot outside of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.[27] Cortázar's story "La autopista del sur" ("The Southern Thruway") influenced another film of the 1960s, Jean-Luc Godard's Week End (1967).[28] The filmmaker Manuel Antín has directed three films based on Cortázar stories, Cartas de mamá, Circe, and Intimidad de los parques.[29]

Chilean novelist Roberto Bolaño cited Cortázar as a key influence on his novel The Savage Detectives: "To say that I'm permanently indebted to the work of Borges and Cortázar is obvious."[30]

Puerto Rican novelist Giannina Braschi used Cortázar's story "Las babas del diablo" as a springboard for the chapter called "Blow-up" in her bilingual novel Yo-Yo Boing! (1998), which features scenes with Cortázar's characters La Maga and Rocamadour.[31] Cortázar is mentioned and spoken highly of in Rabih Alameddine's 1998 novel, Koolaids: The Art of War.

In Buenos Aires, a school, a public library, and a square in the Palermo neighborhood carry Cortázar's name.

Books[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Montes-Bradley, Eduardo. "Cortázar sin barba". Editorial Debate. Random House Mondadori. p.35 Madrid. 2005.
  2. ^ The New York Review of Books. March 4, 1984
  3. ^ Cortázar sin barba, by Eduardo Montes-Bradley. Random House Mondadori, Editorial Debate, Madrid, 2004
  4. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 p. 25
  5. ^ Montes-Bradley, Eduardo. “Cortázar sin barba” Random House Mondadori, p. 40.
  6. ^ Montes-Bradley, Eduardo. "Cortázar sin barba". Editorial Debate. Random House Mondadori. p.110 Madrid. 2005.
  7. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 p. 38 & p. 45
  8. ^ Banfield is mentioned in the short story "Conducta en los velorios" from Historias de cronopios y de famas.
  9. ^ Julio Cortázar - A fondo on YouTube TVE 1977
  10. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada. Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 p. 343
  11. ^ Conversaciones con Cortázar on YouTube Omar Prego, Muchnik Editores, 1985 (p.33)
  12. ^ Julio Cortázar - A fondo on YouTube TVE 1977
  13. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada. Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 p. 118-119
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 pp. 245-252.
  16. ^ Mario Goloboff (1998). "Chap. 11: De otros lados". Julio Cortázar - La biografía. pp. 170–174. ISBN 950-731-205-6. 
  17. ^ «Las cartas de Cortázar», article in the newspaper El Mundo (Madrid) dated 15 July 2012.
  18. ^ Julio Cortázar. Cartas, 3 (2000 edition, Alfaguara), p. 1785. ISBN 9505115938
  19. ^ Una nueva biografía sostiene que Cortázar habría muerto de sida clarin.com, 7.06.2001
  20. ^ «Peri Rossi: “Cortázar murió de sida por una transfusión”», article in the newspaper ABC from 25 January 2009.
  21. ^ Julio Cortázar y James Joyce
  22. ^ Picón Garfield, Evelyn. Es Julio Cortázar un surrealista?, 1975
  23. ^ http://www.march.es/bibliotecas/repositorio-cortazar/jazz/pdf/El_jazz_en_la_obra_de_Cortazar.pdf p.41
  24. ^ Doris Sommer, "Grammar Trouble for Cortázar", in Proceed with Caution, When Engaged by Minority Writing in the Americas, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, p. 211.
  25. ^ Herráez, Miguel. Julio Cortázar, Una Biografía Revisada Alrevés, 2011 ISBN 9788415098034 p. 242
  26. ^ http://www.march.es/bibliotecas/repositorio-cortazar/buscador.aspx?l=1&p2=5&p3=Julio%20Cortazar%20como%20traductor#avanzada
  27. ^ post (2012-01-24). "Fallece Sergio Larraín, el mítico fotógrafo chileno que renunció al mundo | Cultura". La Tercera. Retrieved 2012-02-09. 
  28. ^ Jean Franco, "Comic Stripping: Cortázar in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction", in Critical Passions: Selected Essays, eds. Mary Louise Pratt and Kathleen Newman, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999, p. 416.
  29. ^ http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/suplementos/espectaculos/5-24666-2012-03-21.html
  30. ^ Roberto Bolaño, Between Parentheses: Essays, Articles, and Speeches, 1998-2003, trans. Natasha Wimmer, New York: New Directions, 2011, 353.
  31. ^ Debra A. Castillo, editor, Redreaming America: Toward a Bilingual American Culture, "Language Games," by Ilan Stavans, pages 172-186,SUNY, New York, 2005.

Further reading[edit]

English
  • Julio Cortázar (Modern Critical Views). Bloom, Harold, 2005
  • Schmidt-Cruz, Cynthia (2004). Mothers, Lovers, and Others: the short stories of Julio Cortázar. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-5955-3. 
  • Julio Cortázar (Bloom's Major Short Story Writers). Bloom, Harold, 2004
  • Weiss, Jason (2003). The Lights of Home: a century of Latin American writers in Paris. New York: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-94013-9. 
  • Standish, Peter (2001). Understanding Julio Cortázar (Understanding Modern European and Latin American Literature). University of South Carolina Press. ISBN 978-1-57003-390-2. 
  • Questions of the Liminal in the Fiction of Julio Cortázar. Moran, Dominic, 2000
  • Critical Essays on Julio Cortázar. Alazraki, Jaime, 1999
  • Alonso, Carlos J. (1998). Julio Cortázar: new readings. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-45210-6. 
  • Stavans, Ilan (1996). Julio Cortázar: a study of the short fiction. New York: Twayne Publishers. ISBN 0-8057-8293-1. 
  • The Politics of Style in the Fiction of Balzac, Beckett, and Cortázar. Axelrod, Mark, 1992
  • Writing at Risk: Interviews in Paris With Uncommon Writers. Weiss, Jason, 1991
  • Rodríguez-Luis, Julio (1991). The Contemporary Praxis of the Fantastic: Borges and Cortázar. New York: Garland. ISBN 978-0-8153-0101-1. 
  • Yovanovich, Gordana (1991). Julio Cortázar's Character Mosaic: reading the longer fiction. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. ISBN 978-0-8020-5888-1. 
  • Carter, E. Eugene (1986). Julio Cortázar: Life, Work and Criticism. Fredericton, Canada: York Press. ISBN 978-0-919966-52-9. 
  • Peavler, Terry J. (1990). Julio Cortázar. Boston: Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-8257-5. 
  • Boldy, Steven (1980). The Novels of Julio Cortázar. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-23097-1. 
Spanish
  • Julio Cortázar. Una biografía revisada. Miguel Herráez, 2011
  • Discurso del Oso. children's book illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga, Libros del Zorro Rojo, 2008
  • Montes-Bradley, Eduardo (2005). Cortázar sin barba. Madrid: Random House Mondadori. pp. 394 Hard Cover. ISBN 84-8306-603-3. 
  • Imagen de Julio Cortázar. Claudio Eduardo Martyniuk, 2004
  • Julio Cortázar desde tres perspectivas. Luisa Valenzuela, 2002
  • Otra flor amarilla: antología: homenaje a Julio Cortázar. Universidad de Guadalajara, 2002
  • Julio Cortázar. Cristina Peri Rossi, 2000
  • Julio Cortázar. Alberto Cousté, 2001
  • Julio Cortázar. La biografía. Mario Goloboff, 1998
  • La mirada recíproca: estudios sobre los últimos cuentos de Julio Cortázar. Peter Fröhlicher, 1995
  • Hacia Cortázar: aproximaciones a su obra. Jaime Alazraki, 1994
  • Julio Cortázar: mundos y modos. Saúl Yurkiévich, 1994
  • Tiempo sagrado y tiempo profano en Borges y Cortázar. Zheyla Henriksen, 1992
  • Cortázar: el romántico en su observatorio. Rosario Ferré, 1991
  • Lo neofantástico en Julio Cortázar. Julia G Cruz, 1988
  • Los Ochenta mundos de Cortázar: ensayos. Fernando Burgos, 1987
  • En busca del unicornio: los cuentos de Julio Cortázar. Jaime Alazraki, 1983
  • Teoría y práctica del cuento en los relatos de Cortázar. Carmen de Mora Valcárcel, 1982
  • Julio Cortázar. Pedro Lastra, 1981
  • Cortázar: metafísica y erotismo. Antonio Planells, 1979
  • Es Julio Cortázar un surrealista?. Evelyn Picon Garfield, 1975
  • Estudios sobre los cuentos de Julio Cortázar. David Lagmanovich, 1975
  • Cortázar y Carpentier. Mercedes Rein, 1974
  • Los mundos de Julio Cortázar. Malva E Filer, 1970

Filmography[edit]

  • La Cifra Impar, 1960. Feature film by Manuel Antín, based on "Letters from Mother".
  • Circe, 1963. Feature film by Manuel Antín, based on "Circe". Script by Manuel Antin and Julio Cortázar.
  • El Perseguidor, 1963. Feature film by Osias Wilenski, based on "El perseguidor".
  • Intimidad de los Parques, 1965. Feature film by Manuel Antín.
  • Blow Up, 1966. Feature film by Michelangelo Antonioni, based on "Las Babas del diablo".
  • Cortázar, 1994. Documentary directed by Tristán Bauer.
  • Cortázar, apuntes para un documental, documentary. Eduardo Montes-Bradley (Director), Soledad Liendo (Producer). Theatrical release 2002. DVD Release 2007.
  • Graffiti on YouTube, 2005. Short movie based on Julio Cortázar´s short story "Graffiti". Directed by Pako González.
  • "Graffiti, 2006, Short movie based on Julio Cortázar´s short story "Graffiti". Directed by Vano Burduli [2][3]
  • "Mentiras Piadosas" (released in English as Made Up Memories), 2009. Feature film by Diego Sabanés, based on the short-story "The Health of the Sick" and other short stories by Julio Cortázar.

External links[edit]