Jorge Luis Borges, who frequently collaborated with Adolfo Bioy Casares, considered The Invention of Morel to be a perfect adventure novel. The novel, first translated into English in The Invention of Morel and Other Stories (1964), is Bioy Casares’ remake of and homage to H. G. Wells’s The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896), Morel being a thinly veiled version of Wellss famous scientist. The novel not only takes place on an abandoned island but also insists on the puny insularity of the human condition, a theme that will recur in Bioy Casares’ Plan de evasión (1945; A Plan for Escape, 1975).

The existential plight of the persecuted and paranoid narrator is evident. He wonders if he can break through his solitude and isolation and communicate with others (in this case, Faustine). He also wonders if he can be inserted into the lives, consciousness, and affections of other human beings, and if he can reverse the process by which his space has been reduced from that of society to a desert island and to the projection of a machine. The character in this way is a metaphor for the artist and the self-imposed isolation required for creativity. At the same time, he is a creation in his eternally recurrent projection. In order to be eternal, he must die. These and similar issues are the principal philosophic, ontological, and literary contexts of the text.

The novel moves quickly from the narrators initial...

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