Adolfo Bioy Casares

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Adolfo Bioy Casares
Adolfo Bioy Casares 1968.png
Bioy Casares in 1968
Born (1914-09-15)15 September 1914
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died 8 March 1999(1999-03-08) (aged 84)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Resting place La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Occupation Writer, poet, critic, librarian
Language Spanish
Nationality Argentine
Notable work(s) The Invention of Morel
Notable award(s) Miguel de Cervantes Prize (1991)

Adolfo Bioy Casares (Spanish pronunciation: [aˈðolfo ˈβjoi kaˈsaɾes]; September 15, 1914 – March 8, 1999) was an Argentine fiction writer, journalist, and translator. He was a friend and frequent collaborator with his fellow countryman Jorge Luis Borges, and wrote what many consider one of the best pieces of fantastic fiction, the novella The Invention of Morel.


Adolfo Bioy Casares was born in Buenos Aires, the grandson of a wealthy landowner and dairy processor, and the descendant of Patrick Lynch, a successful Irish emigrant. He wrote his first story ("Iris y Margarita") at the age of eleven.

Bioy wrote many stories with Jorge Luis Borges under the pseudonym of H. Bustos Domecq after they were introduced in 1932 by Victoria Ocampo, whose sister, Silvina Ocampo (1903–1994), Bioy Casares was to marry in 1940. In 1954 she also adopted Bioy’s daughter with another woman, Marta Bioy Ocampo (1954–94), who was killed in an automobile accident just three weeks after Silvina Ocampo’s death, leaving two children. The estate of Silvina Ocampo and Adolfo Bioy Casares was awarded by a Buenos Aires court to yet another love child of Adolfo Bioy Casares, Fabián Bioy, shortly before Fabián Bioy died, aged 40, in February 2006.

Bioy won several awards, including the Gran Premio de Honor of SADE (the Argentine Society of Writers, 1975), the French Legion of Honour (1981), the Diamond Konex Award of Literature (1994) the title of Illustrious Citizen of Buenos Aires (1986), and the Miguel de Cervantes Prize (awarded to him in 1991 in Alcalá de Henares). Adolfo Bioy Casares is buried in La Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires.

In 2006 Ediciones Destino published a book of Bioy's diary entries on Borges, numbering 1663 pages of anecdotes, witticisms and observations.


The best-known novel by Bioy Casares is La invención de Morel (The Invention of Morel). It is the story of a man who, evading justice, escapes to an island said to be infected with a mysterious fatal disease. Struggling to understand why everything seems to repeat, he realizes that all the people he sees there are actually recordings, made with a special machine, invented by Morel, which is able to record not only three-dimensional images, but also voices and scents, making it all indistinguishable from reality. The story mixes realism, fantasy, science fiction and terror. Borges wrote a famous prologue in which he called it a work of "reasoned imagination" and linked it to H. G. Wells' oeuvre. Both Borges and Octavio Paz described the novel as "perfect." The story is held to be the inspiration for Alan Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad1 and also an influence on the TV series Lost.


  • La invención de Morel (1940, translated into English as The Invention of Morel, or "Morel's Invention" ISBN 1-59017-057-1)
  • Plan de evasión (1945, translated into English as A Plan for Escape, ISBN 1-55597-107-5)
  • El sueño de los héroes (1954, translated into English as Dream of Heroes, ISBN 0-7043-2634-5)
  • Diario de la guerra del cerdo (1969, translated into English as Diary of the War of the Pig, ISBN 0-07-073742-8)
  • Dormir al Sol (1973, translated into English 1978 as Asleep in the Sun, ISBN 0-89255-030-9)
  • La aventura de un fotógrafo en La Plata (1985, translated into English as The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata, ISBN 0-7475-0798-8)
  • Un campeón desparejo (An Uneven Champion, 1993)

Short Story Collections

  • Prólogo (Prologue, 1929)
  • 17 disparos contra el porvenir (17 Shots Against the Future, 1933)
  • La estatua casera (The Household Statue, 1936)
  • La trama celeste (The Celestial Plot, 1948)
  • Luis Greve, muerto (Luis Greve, Deceased, 1937)
  • Las vísperas de Fausto (Faust's Eve, 1949)
  • Historia prodigiosa (A Remarkable History, 1956)
  • Guirnalda con amores (Guirnalda with Loves1959)
  • El lado de la sombra (The Shady Side, 1962)
  • El gran serafín (The Great Seraph, 1967)
  • El héroe de las mujeres (The Hero of Women, 1978)
  • Historias desaforadas (Colossal Stories, 1986)

Generally, these Spanish-language collections have not been systematically translated into English. English language collections include:


  • En viaje (Travelling, 1996), letters to Silvina


  • Descanso de caminantes. Diarios íntimos ('Rest for Travellers', 2001. 'Intimate Diaries'. D. Martino, Ed.) A selection from his Journals.

Works in collaboration

With Jorge Luis Borges

  • Seis problemas para don Isidro Parodi (1942, translated into English as Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, ISBN 0-525-48035-8)
  • Dos fantasías memorables (Two Memorable Fantasies, 1946)
  • Un modelo para la muerte (A Model for Death, 1946)
  • Cuentos breves y extraordinarios (Short and Amazing Stories, 1955)
  • Crónicas de Bustos Domecq (1967, translated into English as Chronicles of Bustos Domecq, ISBN 0-525-47548-6)
  • Libro del cielo y del infierno, (The Book of Heaven and Hell, 1960)
  • Nuevos cuentos de Bustos Domecq (New Stories by Bustos Domecq, 1977)

Dos fantasías memorables and Un modelo para la muerte were originally published in private printings of only 300 copies. The first commercial printings were published in 1970.

With Silvina Ocampo

  • Los que aman, odian (Those Who Love, Hate, 1946)


With Jorge Luis Borges

  • Los orilleros (1955, The Hoodlums)
  • El paraíso de los creyentes (1955, The Paradise of the Believers)
  • Invasión (1969, Invasion)
  • The Others (1974)


  1. ^ Its possible influence on Last Year at Marienbad, ed. Rafe Blaufarb (New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008), 101-102.

External links

About The Invention of Morel

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