Friday, July 19, 2013

Hopscotch at Fifty

This summer marks the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Julio Cortázar's Rayuela (Hopscotch) by Editorial Sudamericana, and next year will be the centenary of the author's birth. Blog Morellianas has a useful round-up of some related articles and announcements in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Among the more interesting are an exhibit at the Instituto Cervantes in Paris devoted to Rayuela: El París de Cortázar and a nice appreciation by Ted Gioia (link dead).

Much of this activity is inevitably highly "meta," as they say these days, since the author himself has been dead for nearly thirty years. Supreme cronopio that he was, he would probably have found all of it more than a bit tiresome and wandered off to play with the nearest cat or spin some Louis Armstrong records. But hopefully it will draw the attention of new readers and bring old readers back to the books themselves, which are aging nicely, thank you.

I'll leave the last word to Cortázar, from a letter to Jean Barnabé dated June 3rd, 1963, just as Hopscotch was going to press:
Personally, I think I've written nothing better than "The Pursuer" [his novella loosely based on Charlie Parker]; nevertheless, in Hopscotch I have broken any number of dikes, of doors, I have smashed myself to pieces in so many and such various ways, that as far as I'm concerned it wouldn't matter to me if I died right now. I know that in a few months I'll think that I still have other books to write, but today, when I'm still within the atmosphere of Hopscotch, I feel that I've gone to my own limits, and that I would be incapable of going further.

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