Alternate Author Name(s)

Marilyn Gaddis Rose

Document Type


Date of Award



Cortázar, Julio, Short stories, Translations, Criticism and interpretation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Julio Rodriguez-Luis

Second Advisor

Frederick Garber


When I came into contact with Cortázar's work for the first time, what impressed me the most was his ability to present ideas of mine about the nature of reality which I had never dared to express. I suppose many a work of criticism begins as a personal confrontation between critic and writer, leading to a cooler recollection of ideas which the critic feels he must organize and express in visible form. In my case, the shock of recognizing in a Cortázar a kind of outspoken alter ego led to the desire to study his literary output and become a mouthpiece for his ideas.

Cortázar has been the subject of countless articles, books and interviews. It seems everyone in Spanish American literary circles is in a hurry to explain his work rationally, a thing he professedly detests. He is very much aware of what rational explanations can do to a literature based on a non-rational view of reality. Reading some of the critics I found Cortázar's fears to be well founded. He has taken infinite pains, in many articles and books, to explain his world-view as best he can, given the fact that language itself is based on reason. Critics have chosen what is convenient for their own work hypotheses and left the rest unsaid, contradicting at times Cortázar's own definitions of terms he utilizes. They have made use of "scholarly" elements which do nothing but obscure Cortázar's message; their bibliographies are long, but the portion of their studies dedicated to individual works is small.

I decided that Cortazar should be allowed to speak for himself as much as possible, and tried to use his words more than my own in the first chapters of this study. Then I examined one representative work on the basis of what I had learned. In reality the process was easy: Cortázar himself mapped it for me when he described, in Vuelta al dÍa enochenta mundos, what love is: the ability to perceive through someone else's eyes. This is what I tried to do in my analysis of the short-stories of Final del juego. My use of other criticism has been minimal: my goal was not to make a survey of what has been said.