Happy birthday to Julio Cortázar, born August 26, 1914 in Brussels, Belgium to Argentine parents, died Paris, 1984. Cortázar’s family, in Europe for business reasons, returned to Argentina when he was four; in 1951 he left again in protest of the Perón government, and lived the rest of his life in France.
Cortázar’s innovative and challenging books Hopscotch and Blow-Up and Other Stores were hugely influential on me, though I never have had the literary chops to incorporate much of Cortázar’s work into my writing; the almost 600-page Hopscotch, for instance, is designed with chapters that can be read in any order.
His short stories in Blow-Up are much easier to digest, but still in many ways mind-blowing and speculative. The title story of was the inspiration for Antonioni’s famous movie about a photographer who believes he’s photographed a murder.
Cortázar was also a huge Jules Verne fan, and translated Robinson Crusoe into Spanish. As you can see from this photo, he also had an excellent head of hair.
Image: Public domain, from Wikipedia.