As well as Jorge Luis #Borges, the novelist #JulioCortázar started working as a translator before becoming a writer.
“I also think that what helped me was learning a foreign language at an early age, and I acknowledge that, from the beginning, I found translation fascinating. If had not been a writer, I would have been a translator. ”
He was born in Brussels in 1914 by chance because his father was a public servant at the Argentine embassy in Belgium. He spent his childhood between Switzerland and Spain, before he went to Argentina, in 1918.
As a child he often got sick, what made him spend many hours in bed reading books of different authors, such as Julio Verne, Rimbaud, Montaigne & Cocteau. He started writing at the age of 8 and he loved jazz music, as well as boxing. The years he spent in #Europe made him pronounce the “r” with a guttural sound, like the French people do.
In 1935 he earned his degree in Modern Literature, and after a few years he started working as professor, a job that he combined with his work as a #translator. His first literary translation was “Robinson Crusoe”, from the author Daniel Defoe (1945).
In 1948 he obtained the title of Public Translator of English and French, and began working for international organizations, such as UNESCO and the Atomic Energy Commission, in Vienna. Until 1951 he worked as translator for the Argentine Chamber of Books. That year, he and who was then his wife, Aurora Bernárdez (who was also a translator) moved his residence to Paris. In 1954 he traveled to Italy, where he began the #translation of Edgar Allan Poe’s prose work. Finally, in 1955, he decided to fully dedicate himself to #writing.
The character of “La Maga”, from his book #Rayuela actually existed. Her name was Edith Aron, and was a friend of Cortázar’s first wife, Aurora. The original title of this book was supposed to be “Mandala”, but then he changed it for “Rayuela”, which is a popular child’s game in South America.
He considered himself a translator who had become a writer…