Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914-1999)
Robert O'Grady has presented the Department of Special Collections with several archival materials related to Adolfo Bioy Casares. In addition to three letters written by the author concerning his work for the PEN International Club, Special Collections is privileged to have an unbound typescript of the novel Guirnalda con amores, as well as a signed first edition of the work.
Following the example of his extremely literary and erudite parents, the young Argentine Adolfo Bioy Casares began to write at the age of eleven, frequently dedicating his stories to teenage loves. By 1928, however, his themes had changed and he published his first set of detective stories, a collection that revealed his ability to create fantastic literature. Indeed, he is best known for his work in developing this genre, in 1940 achieving international recognition with La invención de Morel, a story that has become canonical in teachings on the fantastic.
Bioy Casares benefited from friendships with other prominent South American authors, and even married Silvina Ocampo, with whom he had one daughter. The most famous result of such a friendship, however, is the literary collaboration he maintained with Jorge Luis Borges who regarded the older writer as his mentor. Together the two published several fantastic stories under the pseudonym H. Bustos Domecq.
In spite of his extensive work in the fantastic, Bioy Casares never abandoned his first theme of love, and in 1950 he published Guirnalda con amores, a collection of short stories that explores the matter in detail. A mature writer, he now incorporates the theme into the complex tapestry of Argentine life as seen in "El mito de Orfeo y Euridice," a chapter that is inspired by both mythic love and an historical injustice of the Perón regime.
In 1975 Bioy Casares received perhaps the highest national award, the Gran Premio de Honor de la Sociedad Argentina de Escritores, an accomplishment only outdone by his 1990 acceptance one of the most prestigious literary prizes in the Hispanic World, the Premio Cervantes.
The Department of Special Collections holds three letters from Bioy Casares to Antonio Aita, his personal friend and the President of the PEN (poets, essayists, and narrators) International Club. Bioy Casares represented the Argentine delegation at the official meeting in France for the year 1951, and during this time sent two typed letters to Aita. The first is his official report of the meeting. It details resolutions proposed by other delegations, the most controversial of which is a joint resolution from the Americans and Eastern Europeans asking the Club to openly call for peace. In the second letter Bioy Casares gives his personal opinion on each of the resolutions. Interestingly, it also contains his poetic plea to be released from an agreement to give a lecture on André Gide due to his extreme fear of public speaking. The last letter to Aita is dated April 1952, and is a handwritten note of best wishes for the Club's activities during the coming year.
In addition to these letters, the Collection also holds a signed first edition of Guirnalda con amores, dedicated to María Teresa. With this edition comes an unbound typescript of the entire work that has been edited by hand with the corrections still clearly visible. Finally, the manuscript is accompanied by a newspaper clipping from La nación, entitled, "Los infinitos mundos de Adolfo Bioy Casares," in which Ernesto Schoo provides an overview of the author's work and brief description of his life.
Bioy Casares, Adolfo. Guirnalda con amores. Buenos Aires: Emecé Editores, c1959. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 7797 .B535 G95 1978b)
Levine, Suzanne J. "Adolfo Bioy Casares." Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers. Ed. William Luis. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1992. p. 55-66. (Hesburgh Library, Reference: PQ 7082 .N7 M55 1992)
Villordo, Oscar Hermes. Genio y figura de Adolfo Bioy Casares. Buenos Aires: Editorial Universitaria de Buenos Aires, 1983. (Hesburgh Library, General Collection: PQ 7797 .B535 Z924 1983)
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