Biography of Julio Cortázar (1914-1984)

Argentine writer, born in Brussels (Belgium) on August 26, 1914 and died in Paris (France) on February 12, 1984, victim of leukemia. It was a great cultivator of prose fiction, both in the field of the story and the novel; and wrote one of the most brilliant novels of world literature: hopscotch (1963).

Julio Cortázar.


He was the son of Argentine parents, so had since birth that nationality. Two years later he was taken to Switzerland, where her family took refuge from the violence of the first world war.

In 1918 it set foot on Argentine soil first. He spent his childhood in Banfield, a suburb of Buenos Aires, in the midst of difficulties, because his father had abandoned the family. As a child showed great fondness for writing (arrived at end of a novel at the age of nine). Fourteen began to prepare to become a teacher, title he won in 1932. Already at that time he wanted with force leaving Argentina to settle in Europe.

He was an indefatigable reader, and was fascinated to see the works of some French authors who made him discover the avant-garde movements. Initially, he was fascinated by surrealism, and tried to reflect their proposals in his first poems.

In 1935, at the age of twenty-one, he began to study philosophy and literature. But at home the money was needed so he abandoned these studies to dedicate himself to teaching. He worked as a teacher in a small Argentine cities, as they carried much reading and writing poems and stories. He also published studies of literary criticism in specialized magazines.

In the mid-1940s he was Professor at University, and taught French literature. But for political reasons, he left this profession and returned to Buenos Aires, where he began to publish short stories and articles in major literary journals.

Studying without rest, graduated as translator English and French officer (ended in nine months courses usually lasting three years). He then won a scholarship from the French Government and settled in Paris, where she worked as a translator in the UNESCO.

In 1953 he married Aurora Bernárdez, Argentine translator (then had other two wives: Ugné Karvelis and Carol Dunlop). He traveled by many countries (Uruguay, Italy and United States) and began to be translated on your own great universal works (especially in the American Edgar Allan Poe, whom Cortázar admired). In 1961 he travelled to Cuba and became fascinated by the revolution of Fidel Castro.

Had already published books of short stories, poems and articles of criticism in Argentina and other Latin American countries (Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico...); but it didn't really famous as a writer until 1963, year in which appeared his masterpiece hopscotch.

From 1966, Julio Cortázar publicly announced its political commitment, always in favor of the oppressed. It became the best model of the committed intellectual. He always defended the leftist causes: the Castro revolution (Cuba), the socialism of Allende (Chile), the Sandinista movement (Nicaragua), etc. And he came to be appointed to an international tribunal which met in Rome to study violations of human rights that occurred in Latin America.

He continued traveling tirelessly, giving courses and lectures all over the world, and writing other many tales, novels and essays.


The work of Julio Cortázar is amazing both for its beauty and its intellectual depth. The Argentinian author was one of the principal followers of the normally open by compatriot Borges. This ended with the realism (traditional until then in argentina fiction) and opened the way to fantasy and imagination. Thus, in the work of Cortázar there cultured references, fantastic inventions and complicated intellectual games, which require much effort, attention and cooperation from the reader.

But his books, despite demand this effort, are not harsh or bored, because they abounds with humor and tenderness. One of his great achievements is to reflect perfectly the world of feelings and emotions, despite that high intellectual level.

In his style fit the full range of language records, from Argentine popular speech to the cultured expression of European artists and intellectuals. But always with a poetic background which increases beauty and makes more intense emotion.

In stories and the extensive narratives of Cortázar, reality mingles with the fantastic admirably, to ensure that the reader is unable to distinguish between reality and fiction.

Cortazar has gone to the history of world literature through his narrative work (short stories and novels); but he also wrote several books of verses. Poet as noted in his prose, in which there is always an intense lyrical tone.


Cortázar wrote verses since his childhood. In his youth, fascinated by the discovery of the avant-garde, devoted much time to poetry; and he continued to write poems until his old age, even when it was a prose writer of world fame.

His major books of verses are presence (1938), a collection of sonnets very influenced by the French Symbolist poet Mallarme and published under the pseudonym Julio Denis; the poem in prose about the myth of the Minotaur (1949) Kings, where the Minotaur represents the poet; Pameos and meopas (1971), containing poems written between 1944 and 1958; and except for the Twilight (1984)



The first two novels written by Cortázar, titled Divertimento (1949) and test (1950), the latter considered predecessor of Rayuela, were not published until 1986, two years after the death of its author.

But, despite the suffered failure with these two first novels, Cortazar is not discouraged and yes she could see his following novels published: Los premios (1960); Hopscotch (1963), his masterpiece; 62, model to assemble (1968), a sentimental novel where the reader plays an important role, since you must use imagination to enter fully into the book; and book of Manuel (1973), where it is well clear political commitment; Cortázar was always a faithful defender of the revolution through numerous articles and lectures.

Rayuela is undoubtedly his work teacher, and one of the most important novels of the universal literature. In it he wanted to reflect in it his vision of the world, as a fragmented space, hence the work allows multiple readings. Experimentation in the language, where the poetic instance predominates over the language by way of example, permeates the text of a poignant poetic beauty. It is one of the books most criticized and controversial literature in Spanish, translated into all the languages.

Apart from the importance of Rayuela, tales of Cortazar had served to make it go down in history of Latin American literature. In the cultured and imaginative line Borges, was a true master of this genre. Its main collections of stories are the other shore (1945); Bestiario (1951), where, together with the influence of the master Borges, can be felt also the footprint of your master Poe; End of the game (1956); Secret weapons (1959), where fantasy begins to burst with force in everyday life; Cronopios and famas (1962); All fires the fire (1966); Octahedron (1974); an autobiographical account entitled a such Lucas (1979); the collection of stories we want so much to Glenda (1980), and finally, after hours (1982).

Miscellaneous works

With his miscellaneous books, Cortázar composed a collage that allows you to break established molds, mixing genres as diverse as newspaper clippings, prose, poetry, humour, tenderness and irony, among many others. Among these works, quite unclassifiable, remember the round on the day in eighty worlds (1967), which consists of short stories, chronicles, essays and poems; Last round (1968), with stories, poems, humorous articles, etc.; and Los autonautas de la cosmopista (1983), which describes the "timeless" trip from Paris to Marseille made by Cortázar (Wolf) and the co-author of the book, Carol Dunlop (the bear), stop at each and every one of the bus stops which are on the road.

On May 2, 2009 appears in the Buenos Aires book fair a 485-page publication called unexpected roles, with many unpublished, written stories and letters, found in a sideboard by his widow Aurora Bernárdez.