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Julio Cortázar: 6 Little-Known Facts About the Author of ‘Hopscotch’

Por: Shantal Romero4 de enero de 2023

Julio Cortázar, the Argentine writer of the iconic book ‘Hopscotch,’ was born on August 26, 1914.

Julio Cortázar, the Argentine writer and translator born in Ixelles, Brussels, is considered one of the most important authors of short stories, novels, and poems of the so-called magical realism during the famous Latin American boom. The literary current also included authors Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Among his best-known works are Hopscotch, The Winners, Divertimento, and the short stories Bestiario, and End of the Game. To commemorate his literary mastery, here are some little-known facts about the iconic writer who wittily subverted literature.

Facts About Julio Cortázar

1. He started writing at the age of 8

His family was surprised to see the writings of the child author because, at his age, his writing style already seemed like that of an adult. In fact, it is said that his mother kept his first novel which they doubted if it had really been written by him due to its complexity.

2. His favorite sport was boxing

Julio Cortázar highlighted in several of his works his fondness for boxing. For a time, he even became a commentator in the ring as a pastime. In “La vuelta al mundo” and “La noche de mantequilla,” the writer makes some references to this sport.

3. He was allergic to garlic

The writer was allergic to garlic; something very curious is that this coincided with his passion for writing stories about vampires, fantastic beings that live far away from this cooking ingredient because it makes them sick.

4. He liked jazz

His passion for this musical genre also inspired him to write literary masterpieces such as The Pursuer or Hopscotch, where he quotes artists such as Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Bessie Smith, and Monk.

5. Bestiario was not his first published book

Cortázar’s first work was a book of poems called Presencia, published in 1938, in which he used the pseudonym, Julio Denis. Bestiario was the first one signed under his real name.

6. Hopscotch was going to be called Mandala

Initially, the writer had chosen the name Mandala for the book, which is a Hindu symbol that represents harmony and which merged perfectly with the main character of the story. However, he thought it was too pretentious and decided to change the name to Hopscotch, a children’s game that seeks to reach the sky.

Story originally published in Spanish in Cultura Colectiva

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