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Adolfo Bioy Casares

Adolfo Bioy Casares Adolfo Bioy Casares[1†]

Adolfo Bioy Casares (September 15, 1914 – March 8, 1999) was an Argentine fiction writer, journalist, diarist, and translator[1†][2†]. He was a friend and frequent collaborator with his fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges[1†][2†]. Bioy Casares is known for his elegantly constructed works that are oriented toward metaphysical possibilities and employ the fantastic to achieve their meanings[1†][2†]. He wrote what many consider one of the best pieces of fantastic fiction, the novella "The Invention of Morel"[1†][3†].

Early Years and Education

Adolfo Bioy Casares was born on September 15, 1914, in Buenos Aires, Argentina[2†][1†]. He was the only child of Adolfo Bioy Domecq and Marta Ignacia Casares Lynch[2†][1†]. Born into a wealthy family, Bioy Casares was encouraged in his writing[2†][1†]. He wrote his first story (“Iris y Margarita”) at the age of eleven[2†][1†].

Bioy Casares began his secondary education in the Instituto Libre de Segunda Enseñanza at the Universidad de Buenos Aires[2†][1†]. However, he later moved to a family ranch where he devoted himself almost entirely to his study of literature[2†][1†]. He started but did not end up finishing degrees in law, philosophy, and literature[2†][1†]. Fueled by disappointment with the university atmosphere, he moved to a family ranch where, when he didn’t have visitors, he devoted himself almost entirely to his study of literature[2†][1†].

By the time he reached his late twenties, he maintained proficiency in Spanish, English, French (which he spoke from the age of 4) and German[2†][1†]. Between 1929 and 1937 Bioy Casares published a number of books (Prólogo, 17 disparos contra lo porvenir, Caos, La nueva tormenta, La estatua casera, Luis Greve, muerto) that he would later disdain, restricting additional publications and refusing to discuss them, labeling all his work previous to 1940 as 'horrible’[2†][1†].

In 1932, he met Jorge Luis Borges at Villa Ocampo, a house in San Isidro belonging to Victoria Ocampo[1†]. There, she often hosted different international figures and organized cultural celebrations, one of which brought Borges and Bioy Casares together[2†][1†]. This meeting resulted in a lifelong friendship and many influential literary collaborations[2†][1†].

Career Development and Achievements

Adolfo Bioy Casares was a prolific writer and editor, known both for his own work and for his collaborations with Jorge Luis Borges[2†][1†]. His elegantly constructed works are oriented toward metaphysical possibilities and employ the fantastic to achieve their meanings[2†][1†].

Bioy Casares published several books before 1940, including collections of short stories[2†][1†]. However, he did not win wide notice until the publication of his novel “La invención de Morel” (1940; The Invention of Morel)[2†][1†]. This carefully constructed and fantastic work concerns a fugitive (the narrator) who has fallen in love and strives to establish contact with a woman who is eventually revealed to be only an image created by a film projector[2†][1†]. The novel formed the basis for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s film script for Last Year at Marienbad (1961)[2†].

The novel “Plan de evasión” (1945; A Plan for Escape) and the six short stories of “La trama celeste” (1948; “The Celestial Plot”) further explore imaginary worlds, tightly constructed to adhere to a fantastic logic[2†]. In the novel “El sueño de los héroes” (1954; The Dream of Heroes), Bioy Casares examines the meaning of love and the significance of dreams and memory to future actions[2†].

Bioy Casares’s novel “Diario de la guerra del cerdo” (1969; Diary of the War of the Pig) is a mixture of science fiction and political satire[2†]. Other works by Bioy Casares include the collections of short stories “El gran serafín” (1967; “The Great Seraphim”), “Historias de amor” (1972; “Love Stories”), “Historias fantásticas” (1972; “Fantastic Stories”), and the novels “Dormir al sol” (1973; Asleep in the Sun) and “La aventura de un fotógrafo en La Plata” (1985; The Adventure of a Photographer in La Plata)[2†].

Bioy Casares won several awards, including the Gran Premio de Honor of SADE (the Argentine Society of Writers, 1975), the French Legion of Honour (1981), the Diamond Konex Award of Literature (1994), the title of Illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires (1986), and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (awarded to him in 1991 in Alcalá de Henares)[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Adolfo Bioy Casares was a prolific writer, with a body of work that spans several decades and includes novels, short stories, and collaborations with other authors. Here are some of his main works:

Bioy Casares also collaborated with Jorge Luis Borges on several projects, including an Anthology of Fantastic Literature and a series of satirical sketches written under the pseudonym of H. Bustos Domecq[2†][1†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Adolfo Bioy Casares was a writer of considerable skill, best known as Jorge Luis Borges’s right-hand man[6†]. His works, often dismissed summarily as fantastic fiction, are now ripe for reassessment[6†]. His elegantly constructed works are oriented toward metaphysical possibilities and employ the fantastic to achieve their meanings[6†][1†][2†].

Bioy Casares’ most famous work, “La invención de Morel” (1940; The Invention of Morel), is a carefully constructed and fantastic work. It concerns a fugitive who has fallen in love and strives to establish contact with a woman who is eventually revealed to be only an image created by a film projector[6†][1†][2†]. The novel formed the basis for Alain Robbe-Grillet’s film script for Last Year at Marienbad (1961)[6†][1†][2†]. The design of Morel’s cinematic apparatus in the novel represents time through space, consciousness through matter[6†][7†].

His other works also explore imaginary worlds, tightly constructed to adhere to a fantastic logic[6†][2†]. For instance, the novel “Plan de evasión” (1945; A Plan for Escape) and the six short stories of “La trama celeste” (1948; “The Celestial Plot”)[6†][2†]. In the novel “El sueño de los héroes” (1954; The Dream of Heroes), Bioy Casares examines the meaning of love and the significance of dreams and memory to future actions[6†][2†].

Bioy Casares’ works are a significant contribution to the literary genre of magical realism, a style that characterizes much of Latin American literature. His stories often present an ordinary world transformed by an extraordinary event or character, leading the reader to question the nature of reality[6†][1†].

Personal Life

Adolfo Bioy Casares was born into a wealthy family in Buenos Aires, Argentina[1†][2†]. This allowed him to dedicate himself exclusively to literature[1†][2†]. He lived a private life among friends and family in the same apartment in Buenos Aires for many years, in an elegant neighborhood near the Plaza de Fran-cia[1†][8†]. In his studio there, he composed some of his most famous works[1†][8†].

In 1944, Bioy Casares married Silvina Ocampo[1†][9†]. Ocampo was a painter and writer, and they had one daughter[1†][9†]. Their marriage lasted until Ocampo’s death in 1993[1†][9†]. Bioy Casares passed away in Buenos Aires on March 8, 1999[1†][9†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Adolfo Bioy Casares left an indelible mark on the literary world. His works, often dismissed summarily as fantastic fiction, are now ripe for reassessment[6†]. His extensive oeuvre offers many surprising reflections on the twentieth century’s cultural, social, and political transformations, both in Argentina and farther afield[6†].

Bioy Casares was the perfect Argentine dandy and one of Argentina’s most original writers[6†][10†]. He once said he learned his writing skills concocting yoghurt adverts with his friend Jorge Luis Borges[6†][10†]. But perhaps Borges’s fame led to his own work being unjustly overshadowed[6†][10†].

Winner of the Premio Miguel de Cervantes in 1990, Adolfo Bioy Casares is one of the most important Argentine writers and indeed one of the most important authors writing in Spanish[6†][5†]. Although he started writing very young, he later rejected everything he had written before 1940[6†][5†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Adolfo Bioy Casares [website] - link
  2. Britannica - Adolfo Bioy Casares: Argentine author [website] - link
  3. Sticky Facts - Adolfo Bioy Casares - Facts, Bio, Favorites, Info, Family [website] - link
  4. The New York Review of Books - Adolfo Bioy Casares [website] - link
  5. Agencia Literaria Carmen Balcell - Adolfo Bioy Casaress [website] - link
  6. Google Books - Adolfo Bioy Casares: Borges, Fiction and Art [website] - link
  7. JSTOR - Reconciling Film Studies and Geography [website] - link
  8. Encyclopedia.com - Bioy Casares, Adolfo [website] - link
  9. The Independent - Obituary: Adolfo Bioy Casares [website] - link
  10. The Guardian - Adolfo Casares obituary [website] - link
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