Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

The prologue to The Invention of Morel is written by another Argentine, Jorge Luis Borges, the writer with whom Adolfo Bioy Casares has most in common. Borges quotes sthe Spanish essayist José Ortega y Gasset, who discusses, in La deshumanización del arte (1925; The Dehumanization of Art, 1956), the impossibility of inventing an adventure story that would appeal to the contemporary British reading public, and the predominance of the plotless, formless “psychological” novel in current fiction. Borges offers the short novel of Bioy Casares, The Invention of Morel, as proof that Ortega y Gasset was wrong. He might have offered his own work, which consists of many stories that fit the description that Borges gives of The Invention of Morel, a “perfect” work of “reasoned imagination” which employs allegory, the exaggerations of satire, and, sometimes, simple verbal incoherence.

Borges and Bioy Casares have had a long career of collaboration on such novels as Seis problemas para Don Isidro Parodi (1942; Six Problems for Don Isidro Parodi, 1981) and Crónicas de Bustos Domecq (1967; Chronicles of Bustos Domecq, 1976). Their partnership began in 1940 with the publication of Antología de la literatura fantástica (anthology of fantastic literature), edited by Bioy Casares, his wife, Silvina Ocampo, and Borges. Bioy Casares and Borges also collaborated on an...

(The entire section is 450 words.)