Authors: Adolfo Bioy Casares

  • Last updated on December 10, 2021

Argentine novelist and short-story writer

Author Works

Long Fiction:

La nueva tormenta: O, La vida multiple de Juan Ruteno, 1935

La invención de Morel, 1940 (The Invention of Morel, and Other Stories from “La trama celeste,” 1964)

Un modelo para la muerte, 1946 (with Jorge Luis Borges, under the joint pseudonym B. Suárez Lynch)

Los que aman, odian, 1946 (with Silvina Ocampo)

El sueño de los héroes, 1954 (The Dream of Heroes, 1987)

Diario de la guerra del cerdo, 1969 (Diary of the War of the Pig, 1972)

Dormir al sol, 1973 (Asleep in the Sun, 1978)

Plan de evasión, 1973 (A Plan for Escape, 1975)

La aventura de un fotógrafo en La Plata, 1985 (The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata, 1989)

Un campeón desparejo, 1993

De un mundo a otro, 1998 (novella)

Short Fiction:

Diecisiete disparos contra lo porvenir, 1933

Caos, 1934

Luis Greve, muerto, 1937

Seis problemas para don Isidro Parodi, 1942 (with Jorge Luis Borges, under the joint pseudonym H. Bustos Domecq; Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, 1981)

El perjurio de la nieve, 1945

Dos fantasías memorables, 1946 (with Borges, under the joint pseudonym Domecq)

La trama celeste, 1948 (in The Invention of Morel, and Other Stories from “La trama celeste,” 1964)

Las visperas de Fausto, 1949

Historia prodigiosa, 1956

Guirnalda con amores: Cuentos, 1959

El lado de la sombra, 1962

Crónicas de Bustos Domecq, 1967 (with Borges; Chronicles of Bustos Domecq, 1976)

El gran serafín, 1967

Historias de amor, 1972

Historias fantásticas, 1976

El héroe de las mujeres, 1978

Historias desafornadas, 1986

La invención y la trama: Una antología, 1988

A Russian Doll, and Other Stories, 1992

Selected Stories, 1994

Una magia modesta, 1997

Nonfiction:

Memorias, 1994

En viaje, 1967, 1997

De las cosas maravillosas, 1999

Conversaciones con Adolfo Bioy Casares, 2000

Descanso de caminantes: Diarios intimos, 2001

Translations:

Los mejores cuentos policiales, 1943 (with Jorge Luis Borges; of detective stories by various authors)

Los mejores cuentos policiales, segunda serie, 1951 (with Borges; of detective stories by various authors)

Cuentos breves y extraordinarios, 1955, 1973 (with Borges; of short stories by various authors; Extraordinary Tales, 1973)

Edited Texts:

Antología de la literatura fantástica, 1940 (with Silvina Ocampo and Jorge Luis Borges; The Book of Fantasy, 1988)

Antología poetica argentina, 1941 (with Ocampo and Borges)

Poesía gauchesca, 1955 (2 volumes; with Borges)

Libro del cielo y del infierno, 1960, 1975 (with Borges)

Miscellaneous:

Obras completas, 1997 (2 volumes)

Biography

The novelist and short-story writer Adolfo Bioy Casares (bee-YOY kah-SAH-rays), who became known in the United States primarily as a longtime friend and collaborator of Jorge Luis Borges, has been credited with introducing the science-fiction genre into the Argentine literary landscape. Bioy Casares was the son of Adolfo Bioy, a wealthy landowner, and his wife, Marta Casares. He spent his infancy both in the city and on the family ranch in the province of Buenos Aires. As an imaginative young boy, Bioy Casares found the night sky, pictures of the dead, and mirrors to be gateways to a marvelous reality. He also nurtured the terrifying yet compelling world of the fantastic through his readings. During his high school years he was particularly attracted to mathematics, but his love of writing was stronger.{$I[AN]9810001394}{$I[A]Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$S[A]Lynch, B. Suárez;Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$S[A]Davis, B. Lynch (joint);Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$S[A]Domecq, H. Bustos (joint);Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$S[A]Miranda, Javier;Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$S[A]Sacastra, Martin;Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$I[geo]ARGENTINA;Bioy Casares, Adolfo}{$I[tim]1914;Bioy Casares, Adolfo}

Bioy Casares’s first literary work, completed in 1928, was a fantastic thriller titled Vanidad: O, Una aventura terrorifica (vanity, or a terrifying adventure). At that time, he was discovering nineteenth century Spanish literature, the Bible, Dante, James Joyce, and the Argentine classics. Comic strips and popular novelettes, however, also appealed to him. Like most upper-class Argentinians, he studied at the University of Argentina, first in the law school, then in the faculty of philosophy and letters, but he never completed his university studies and returned instead to manage his father’s ranch.

In 1932, Bioy Casares met Borges, and a close personal friendship and lifelong collaborative effort began. Together they created the literary personality they jokingly called “Biorges,” the figure who represented some of their collaborative works they published under the pseudonyms Honorio Bustos Domecq, B. Suárez Lynch, and B. Lynch Davis. Bioy Casares began to read under Borges’s guidance, and aside from the literary influence of Borges himself, such writers as Franz Kafka, Robert Louis Stevenson, Joseph Conrad, Marcel Proust, and Henry James left a lasting impression on him. In 1933, he published a collection of short stories, Diecisiete disparos contra lo porvenir (seventeen shots at the future), under a pseudonym. This work was followed in 1935 by La nueva tormenta (the new storm), which was illustrated by the artist and writer Silvina Ocampo, whom he married in 1940.

Bioy Casares has consistently renounced his early writing, maintaining that his literary career began in 1940. In that year, he published what became one of the most widely read literary classics in Argentine history, the work that is largely responsible for his fame: The Invention of Morel. The novel, awarded the Argentinian Municipal Prize in 1941, contains a surrealistic atmosphere that, as critics maintain, bears much resemblance to H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896). While the novel contains overtones of the gothic, it uses the vehicle of fantasy rather than the supernatural. Within the context of contemporary Argentine literature, The Invention of Morel launched Argentine science fiction, a genre in which that country has excelled since.

After publishing several volumes of short stories, Bioy Casares returned to the novel in 1969 with a best-seller, Diary of the War of the Pig. The novel, radically different from his earlier works, focuses on Argentine reality and the destiny of humankind. It is a somber work that portrays a world in which a human being has no right to grow old, yet the work also contains the elements of hope and love. This novel was followed in 1973 by Asleep in the Sun, for which Bioy Casares won the much-coveted Argentinian Society of Writers’ Prize. In this novel, the author returned again to the fantastic genre, the gothic, and the pseudoscientific (phrenology). Compared with the bleak irony of Diary of the War of the Pig, this novel is one of light humor and displays great imagination in its hallucinatory fantasies.

Although some critics maintain that Bioy Casares’s plots are overly ambiguous and complex, others consider his strength to lie in his complex humor. Adolfo Bioy Casares died in 1999. He will probably best be remembered for his works of the 1940’s and 1950’s, works that experiment with narrative voice and discourse and innovatively blend science fiction and fantasy. In these works, the author clearly foreshadowed the Latin American “new narrative” of the 1970’s.

BibliographyBach, Caleb. “The Inventions of Adolfo Bioy Casares.” Americas 45, no. 6 (November/December, 1993). A comprehensive survey of Bioy Casares’s works. Bioy Casares’s early years as a law student and his collaboration with Jorge Luis Borges and Silvina Ocampo are detailed.Camurati, Mireya. “Adolfo Bioy Casares.” In Latin American Writers, edited by Carlos A. Solé and Maria I. Abreau. Vol. 3. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1989. An essay on the life and career of Bioy Casares. Includes analysis of his works and a bibliography.Coleman, Alexander. “Fantastic Argentine.” The New Criterion 13, no. 2 (October, 1994). Coleman profiles Bioy Casares and focuses on his fictional works.Levine, Susanne J. “Parody Island: Two Novels by Bioy Casares.” Hispanic Journal 4, no. 2 (Spring, 1983). Compares The Invention of Morel and A Plan for Escape.Levine, Susanne J. “Science Versus the Library in The Island of Dr. Moreau, La invención de Morel, and Plan de evasión.” Latin American Literary Review 9, no. 18 (Spring/Summer, 1981): 17-26. Relates Bioy Casares’s novels to H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896).Meehan, Thomas C. “Temporal Simultaneity and the Theme of Time Travel in a Fantastic Story by Adolfo Bioy Casares.” Romance Quarterly 30, no. 2 (1983). The topic of time travel is studied.Snook, Margaret L. In Search of Self: Gender and Identity in Bioy Casares’s Fantastic Fiction. New York: Peter Lang, 1998. Snook analyzes gender and identity issues in Bioy Casares’s fiction. A close reading and psychological interpretation of his major works.
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