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Julio Cortazar

Creative Biography - Julio Cortazar

Mohammad Karam

on 16 April 2010

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Transcript of Julio Cortazar

Julio Cortazar August 26th, 1914 - February 12th, 1984 Introduction “Any who doesn’t read Cortazar is doomed”. -Pablo Neruda Julio Cortazar was an Argentine writer who wrote both prose and poetry in Spanish. Most of his stories deal with a certain element of “lo fantastico” – exploring the realm of improbability, the domain of invention, and ultimately blending the lines between reality and fiction. Early Life Julio Florencio Cortazar was born in Brussels, Belgium, right after the German invasion during the First World War. Although Cortazar was born in Europe, he was of Argentine descent, as both of his parents were from Argentina and had immigrated to Belgium due to business reasons. Essentially, Cortazar lived a very itinerant life, living in a mélange of countries, ranging from Spain to Switzerland. Women in Cortazar's Life During his entire life, Cortazar had married three different women. The first woman he had married was Aurora Bernardez, who was particularly helpful in the translation of Cortazar’s earlier works. His second wife was Ugne Karvelis, who Cortazar had met while working at UNESCO, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization. As a publisher, Karvelis was an essential asset to Cortazar in terms of publishing his work and promoting his work within France. Last but not least, Carol Dunlop was his ultimate wife, and she was known for her literal collaboration with Cortazar within one of his final pieces of writing, The Autonauts of the Cosmoroute. The variety in Cortazar’s taste in women reflects his diverse background, as each woman reflects a distinct stage in Cortazar’s career. As Cortazar had a penchant for various countries, he also had an affinity for a medley of women. Influences Childhood influences As a child, Cortazar was very intrigued by books, particularly those of fantasy and adventure. He was quite precocious for his age, finishing his first entire novel by the age of 9. However, most of his reading had been controlled by his mother, as she provided him with this “fantastic” literature. Among his favorite writers was Jules Verne, a perpetual role-model for the rest of Cortazar’s life. Most of his reading was done either in his bed, or his backyard, both of which may have served as the motivation and inspiration for some of his earlier works. Aside from childhood influences, there are several tangible events that caused Cortazar to write. Other Influences Due to his politics pangs within Argentina, Julio Cortazar had decided to move to France, a place where ideas could be expressed more freely and where the government promoted universal human rights. Specifically, the movement of poetry, literature, and artistic expression within the time period of his migration framed much of Cortazar’s work; there seemed to be a macro-enlightenment within the country that is reflected in his writing. For example, the short story “Graffiti” was written during Cortazar’s time in France, and was based on this conception of a surrealistic painting . Within this piece, Cortazar develops the notion of exploring deeper than just the superficial level, as there is always more than just a single side to a story. This theme, along with various others, can be seen universally among his other pieces of writing. Themes As mentioned, previously, there are countless themes that Cortazar explores within his writing. Specifically, much of his literature addresses some issue of identity, both within and out of the story. Usually, there is a sense of this hidden reality within a piece, which can be clearly illustrated by his short story “A Continuity of Parks” -- a story of self immersion within literature, and the creation of a fictional realm of reality. It is through subtle hints that the author exposes this certain hidden reality, but his writing often requires several readings due to complexity and intensity. Ultimately, all of these issues create this overlying concept of existentialism – exploring the idea of what it is to exist – and it is evident Cortazar investigates this notion on a higher echelon than most writers.
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