Mexico, high in Julio Cortázar's list
In the work of the Argentine author, who died on February 12, 1984, you can find references to Mexico, a country he wanted to visit since the 1950s.
"Mexico is one of the countries that are on my list, but the years go by without my time to go see it," Julio Cortázar wrote in July 1954 to art critic Damián Bayón.
It was in Mexico where Cortázar lived an unforgettable trip with Carol Dunlop, his last wife, in the 80s and where he found a "congregation of cronopios" in the 70s.
The Argentine writer, who died on February 12, 1984, mentioned 553 times Mexico or the Mexicans in his letters, said Ricardo Bada in an article in which he made clear the interest of Cortázar in the country.
The relationship between Mexico and Cortázar began long before fame came to the Argentine author. Already in his first story, Bruja let see his knowledge about the country by mentioning the music of Pedro Vargas and Elvira Ríos.
Of course it was not the only text where he made reference to the nation. Undoubtedly, his most 'Mexican' tale is Axolotl, the Nahuatl name of the aquatic creature that in Spanish is called ajolote.
The fascination of Cortázar for the animal, which is capable of self-regenerating limbs of his body that were amputated, became evident thanks to this text.
"There was a time when I thought a lot about the axolotl. I went to see them at the Jardin des Plantes aquarium and I spent hours looking at them, observing their immobility, their dark movements. Now I am an axolotl ", says his story at the beginning.
In the night face up the Aztecs persecute the protagonist. Perhaps it was in this story that the author expressed his interest in that culture, something he had already spoken about when he wrote "I would like to be able to appreciate for myself if everything I have been told about Mexico is true: from the Aztec pyramids to the popular poetry. I will probably leave next year (unless there is a miracle that enables me to leave tomorrow or last). "
The meeting of Cortázar with Mexico was postponed until the 70s. In 1975 he participated in the Mexican capital in a session of the International Commission that investigated the crimes of the Military Junta of Chile. He also offered some lectures.
During that trip, he visited places like Oaxaca, Montealbán and Palenque. "From Oaxaca I had been told many things, tourist and ethnographic, climatic and gastronomic; What no one told me is that there, in addition to a socle that is still my favorite in Mexico, I would have to find the densest congregation of cronopios ever assembled on the planet with the exception of Stockholm."
He returned to Mexico in 1979 and the following year he spent two months in Zihuatanejo with Carol Dunlop. "Our final trip through Mexico was very beautiful. We combined rented cars with local planes to travel to different parts of the territory, and in two weeks we could see a lot of beautiful things. I already knew part of that, but Carol was the first time I came to Mexico, so it was very nice to show her cities, ruins, and landscapes; then we went to other places that I did not know, and then the pleasure was even greater, "Cortázar wrote to his mother in August 1980.
The last time he visited Mexico was in 1983. Carol had already died and Cortázar would die only a few months later.