Adolfo Bioy Casares

Adolfo Bioy Casares: Borges, Fiction and Art

Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: 1
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  • Book Info
    Adolfo Bioy Casares
    Book Description:

    This volume reconsiders the work and cultural import of Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914−1999), who is best known for his collaborations with Jorge Luis Borges.

    eISBN: 978-0-7083-2538-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Series Editors’ Foreword
    (pp. vii-viii)

    Over recent decades the traditional ‘languages and literatures’ model in Spanish departments in universities in the United Kingdom has been superseded by a contextual, interdisciplinary and ‘area studies’ approach to the study of the culture, history, society and politics of the Hispanic and Lusophone worlds – categories that extend far beyond the confines of the Iberian Peninsula, not only in Latin America but also to Spanish-speaking and Lusophone Africa.

    In response to these dynamic trends in research priorities and curriculum development, this series is designed to present both disciplinary and interdisciplinary research within the general field of Iberian and Latin...

  4. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
    Karl Posso
  5. List of figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Note on translations
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Notes on contributors
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  8. Introduction: Rethinking Adolfo Bioy Casares
    (pp. 1-38)

    In September 2001, as Argentina came to a standstill amidst one of the worst economic crises in history,La Nación– the country’s only daily broadsheet – in association with Grupo Planeta – the largest publishing group in Latin America and Spain – came up with what was perhaps a rather characteristic display of cultural nationalism: it decided to launch its ‘Biblioteca Argentina’ (‘Argentinian library’), an elegantly presented collection of ‘affordable’ hardbacks comprising twenty-six iconic works of ‘contemporary’ national literature. The aim was to reinvigorate the so-called Argentinian tradition of engaging with its own pioneering literary culture by making ‘works...

  9. Chapter 1 Adolfo Bioy Casares: a biographical sketch
    (pp. 39-58)

    In a diary entry for 20 July 1971, Bioy asks Borges’s advice about what excuse to give for not accepting an invitation to Oxford University (2006, p. 1380). Bioy was reluctant to visit the Latin American Centre at St Antony’s College due to the concern of his wife, Silvina Ocampo, at leaving their daughter Marta alone in Buenos Aires. Another important reason was what Bioy called the ‘impossibility’ of speaking in public (2006, p. 1380). Whatever excuse was finally committed to paper, the visit did not take place. Had they come to Oxford in 1972, perhaps I would not have...

  10. Chapter 2 Borges’s appendix: reflections on Bioy’s diary
    (pp. 59-72)

    Sixteen hundred pages of diary entries, plus a hundred pages of appendixes (and a hundred and thirty pages more of indexes that were not published in the volume but are available on the publisher’s website, along with dozens of pages of corrections): the extracts from Adolfo Bioy Casares’s diary that have been published in the huge single volume entitled simplyBorges(2006) are said, by the editor, Daniel Martino, to be selections from a diary that totals more than twenty-five thousand pages.¹ Unwieldy, infuriating, fascinating, repugnant and disconcerting: all of these adjectives apply, and then some. Without doubt the most...

  11. Chapter 3 Bioy and Borges: from the third man to the world of Bustos Domecq
    (pp. 73-88)

    Adolfo Bioy Casares’s and Jorge Luis Borges’s first meeting has passed into the realm of twentieth-century Argentinian literary mythology.¹ Bioy recalls that they met in 1931 (possibly 1932), the day he read Borges’s ‘Nuestras imposibilidades’ (1931, pp. 131–4; ‘Our Inabilities’) in the literary magazineSur(‘south’), which characterizes Argentinian man by his poor imagination and irrepressible delight in failure. Bioy read the essay before going off to Villa Ocampo – the Ocampo family’s opulent mansion in San Isidro, an elegant Buenos Aires suburb – at the invitation of Victoria, the eldest and most famous daughter of this patrician family....

  12. Chapter 4 Every man is an island: Bioy’s fiction
    (pp. 89-112)

    Adolfo Bioy Casares’s decision to remain in Buenos Aires during the 1960s and 1970s prevented his novels from being assimilated into the Latin American ‘Boom’. Some of Bioy’s novels, particularlyDiario de la guerra del cerdo(1969;Diary of the War of the Pig) andDormir al sol(1973;Asleep in the Sun), coincide, both chronologically and thematically, with the major fiction of the Boom period. Latin American writers who lived in Western Europe, particularly in Catalonia – as did Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and José Donoso – were the first to be incorporated into the Boom’s marketing...

  13. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  14. Chapter 5 1969: youth and rebellion in Diario de la guerra del cerdo and Invasión
    (pp. 113-128)

    1969 was a decisive year in Argentinian politics marked by popular uprisings such as theCordobazo.¹ State repression and the actions of guerrilla groups – the Peronist Montoneros, Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (‘people’s revolutionary army’), the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias (‘revolutionary armed forces’) – created a highly fervent atmosphere. In the wake of the 1959 Cuban Revolution most left-wing groups of the 1960s and 1970s saw violence as a legitimate form of politics and as the only route to social change. Curiously, the critical years between theCordobazoand the 1976 military coup were then largely ignored during public debates in...

  15. Chapter 6 The fantastic in Bioy’s short stories
    (pp. 129-142)

    In his prologue toAntología de la literatura fantástica(1940;The Book of Fantasy), Adolfo Bioy Casares defines Jorge Luis Borges’s short stories as metaphysical fantasies in which ‘lo fantástico está, más que en los hechos, en el razonamiento’ (Borgeset al., 1977, p. 14; ‘the fantastic is in the reasoning rather than in the events narrated’). In the revised edition of 1965 he modifies this formula slightly because he feels it is ‘admirablemente adecuada a los más rápidos lugares comunes de la crítica’ (1977, p. 16; ‘too well suited for use as one of criticism’s most repeated clichés’); however,...

  16. Chapter 7 Bioy, Ocampo and the photographic image
    (pp. 143-162)

    The relationship between Adolfo Vicente Perfecto Bioy Casares and Silvina Inocencia María Ocampo de Bioy, more familiarly known aslos Bioy(‘the Bioys’), spanned some sixty years from the early 1930s – they married in 1940 – to Ocampo’s death in 1993. Dedicating their lives to literature, they habitually read and commented on each other’s work (Iglesias and Arias, 2002, pp. 19–20). An ongoing intertextual dialogue between their works is superficially apparent in recurrent thematic coincidences such as separated lovers and attachment to dogs, as in Bioy’s novelsLa invención de Morel(1940;The Invention of Morel) andDormir...

  17. Chapter 8 To love in the infinitive: time, image and the powers of the false in La invención de Morel
    (pp. 163-202)

    Given what has fast become the most infamous line in Daniel Martino’s edition of Bioy’s diaries, the pedantic refrain ‘come en casa Borges’ (Bioy, 2006, p. 52,passim; ‘Borges comes to dinner’), the latter’s effort to affect pedestrian reality in the introduction to ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ (1940) has recently acquired a heightened air of – now slightly comic – authenticity: Borges and Bioy have dinner together, during which they discuss parallel worlds and Bioy refers to the horror of mirrors and copulation as these cause people to proliferate. Borges’s narrative then becomes a wry disquisition on the human desire...

  18. Index
    (pp. 203-224)