I've taught this once as a graduate course, a few years back, and twice as an undergraduate course, most recently in the Spring of 2004.  When I taught the graduate seminar, I was just beginning my own exploration of Cortazar's work.  And so I really wanted the seminar to function as a space in which we would read everything and then, as open-endedly as possible, begin to construct a kind of vocabulary of themes, techniques, preoccupations, and connections out of the vast surface of Cortazar's stories.  By the time I taught these stories at the undergraduate level, I had a better idea of what I wanted to get across to students through them, and so I offered a selection of works designed to expose students to the various aspects of what I've come to see as the central, generative force in Cortazar's writing:  "invention."
In the graduate seminar, then, we read one collection per week from the Spanish Cuentos Completos, in chronological order of date of publication.  Students were randomly selected each week to present their reading of the collection as a point of departure for group discussion.  In addition, groups of students had to stage a "happening" once per semester.  Finally, for their final paper, students had to select a "collection" of Cortazar's short stories and write the "introduction" to that collection as though for publication. 

In the undergraduate course, we read according to the following schedule:

Week I "Continuidad de los parques" ("Continuity of Parks")

Week II "Axolotl" ("Axolotl")

Week III "Casa tomada" ("House taken over")

Week IV "La puerta condenada" ("The Condemned Door" - untranslated)

Week V "La autopista del sur" ("The Southern Thruway")

Week VI "Apocalipsis en Solentiname" ("Apocalypse in Solentiname")

Week VII "Carta a una senorita en Paris" ("Letter to a Young Lady in Paris")

Week VIII "Cartas de Mama" ("Letters from Mother" - untranslated)

Week IX "La salud de los enfermos" ("The Health of the Sick")

Week X "El idolo de los ciclades" ("The Idol of the Cyclades")

Week XI "Bestiario" ("Bestiary")

Week XII "Silvia" ("Silvia")

Week XIII selections from Historias de cronopios y famas

[and here's some additional notes on "La noche boca arriba" ("The Night Face Up"), which I know is taught in many courses on Cortazar's short fiction]

I didn't ask students to write a final paper for this course, but rather to keep a rigorous reading journal. The class met twice a week.  We read one story per week.  On the first meeting day, students spent 40 minutes in small work groups discussing the story and then for the remaining 40 minutes I gave my perspective.  On the second meeting, students had reread the story and spent maybe 20 minutes in their small groups in order to revise and elaborate their initial discussions in light of my lecture and their own rereading.  Then for the final hour of the class we gathered together in a larger group to develop a kind of collective reading of the story, joining together the insights of the various groups. 

A few words on the texts themselves.  Cortazar published eight volumes of short stories in his life time.  In addition, a number of other books he published include short stories or short pieces of fictional prose.  All these texts have been helpfully collected, in Spanish, in two volumes called Cuentos Completos (Complete Stories) and published by the Spanish publisher Alfaguara.  This collection includes all the stories in Cortazar's    In English, the majority of the stories have been published in several different volumes:  Blow-Up and Other Stories (includes stories originally published in Spanish in the collections Bestiario [1951], Final del juego [1956], and Las armas secretas [1959]), All Fires the Fires (a translation of the collection Todos los fuegos el fuego [1966]), We Love Glenda So Much and A Change of Light (includes stories originally published in Queremos tanto a Glenda [1980], Octaedro [1974]and Alguien que anda por ahi [1977]), and Unreasonable Hours (a translation of the collection Deshoras [1982]).  In addition, a couple of those other books that include short fiction, have been completely or partially translated and published in English.  Cronopios and Famas (recently republished by New Directions is a translation of Historias de Cronopios y Famas [1962]), Around the Day in Eighty Worlds (includes selections from Cortazar's two collage books: La vuelta al dia en ochenta mundos [1967] and Ultimo round [1968]) is currently out of print; as is A Certain Lucas (a translation of the collection of semi-autobiographical short fictions entitled in Spanish Un tal Lucas [1979]).  Nicaragua is a translation of Nicaragua, tan violentamente dulce (1983).

The website Literatura Argentina Contemporanea (Contemporary Argentine Literature) includes a number of works and links in Spanish, as does the Julio Cortazar Page.  The twentieth anniversary of Cortazar's death and the ninetieth since his birth are celebrated on the Julio Cortazar 2004 website. 


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