Adolfo Bioy Casares Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Bioy Casares, Adolfo 1914–

Bioy Casares is an Argentinian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and screenwriter. He is an inventive, imaginative writer whose work is frequently compared with that of Jorge Luis Borges. Like his fellow Argentinian, Bioy Casares is preoccupied with labyrinths and metaphysical puzzles. He has also published under the pseudonyms Martin Sacastru and Javier Miranda, and has collaborated with Borges under the joint pseudonyms H(onorio) Bustos Domecq and B. Suarez Lynch. (See also CLC, Vols. 4, 8, and Contemporary Authors, Vols. 29-32, rev. ed.)

D. P. Gallagher

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Bioy Casares's novels and short stories are comic master-pieces whose fundamental joke is the gap that separates what his characters know from what is going on. The most notorious victim of that gap is the narrator of La invención de Morel, who frequently attempts to declare his love for one Faustine without realizing that she is a sort of holographic image who cannot therefore perceive his presence. Yet even the most trite situations that occur in Bioy's work contain the same fundamental dilemma. Thus his sex comedies in Guirnalda con amores or El gran serafin depict situations in which a man is convinced he has achieved a spectacular success only to discover that the girl's motives were...

(The entire section is 1079 words.)

Emir Rodriguez Monegal

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The story told by Bordenave [the protagonist of Dormir al sol (Sleeping in the Sun)] is very strange but it takes place in the context of everyday trivia. He is a common man, who runs a watch-repair shop, is married to Diana, a beautiful and tyrannical woman…. One day his wife becomes a patient in Dr. Samaniego's clinic. Bordenave tries, very inefficiently, to bring about her release. He even buys a female dog which he immediately baptizes Diana, to give to his wife as soon as she comes home. At last, Diana (the wife) does come home; however, she is a different woman: she is still beautiful but now she is also gentle and pleasant. Bordenave recognizes her former self less in his wife than in the bitch, and...

(The entire section is 1581 words.)

Deborah Weinberger

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[The] world of Bioy Casares is endless: a world of unlimited possibilities for new worlds which then will form part of it. Everything Bioy Casares writes offers a world or postulates the possibility of worlds different from the one we inhabit, or think we inhabit. Sometimes a character may be a world apart from others and from his surroundings. Frequently the worlds we discover in the works of Bioy Casares are fantastic, and consist of rearrangements of the elements of our own "real" world. Because of their departure from a natural order, these new worlds are at first not understood by those who stumble into them. Unaware that they have discovered new worlds, they only understand that they are faced with something...

(The entire section is 946 words.)

Robert M. Adams

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Both Morel and Escape center on that favorite figure of our cultural fantasies, the mad scientist. To make him omnipotent, the scientist must be isolated, and since H. G. Wells' "The Island of Doctor Moreau" (lurking in the background of both Bioy stories), desert islands have been much in vogue for this purpose. Bioy attempts no untoward novelties. In both his tales, the story is narrated by an outsider who comes to the island, is baffled by some baffling appearances, and finally penetrates to the heart of them: they turn out to involve a series of experiments in systematically deranged perception. The movement of both stories is thus from the outside inward. But there is another dimension to the...

(The entire section is 710 words.)

F. Jeanneret

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The esthetic roots of a work [like Asleep In the Sun]—self-contained, circular, non-referential, suicidal—are many, but the keystone may be found in that passage from the Bioy Casares-Borges collaboration, The Chronicles of H. Bustos Domecq, in which a literary critic, determined to perfectly assay The Divine Comedy, realizes that in order to do so he must reproduce the poem word for word—i.e., the only legitimate criticism of the text is the text itself. From this angle, Asleep In the Sun is private language masquerading as public language; a riddle that solves itself, asking only that the observer document the cycle.

This kind of puzzle often stumps the critic…....

(The entire section is 617 words.)