Born December 31, 1878
Died February 19, 1937
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Horacio Quiroga (December 31, 1878, Salto, Uruguay – February 19, 1937, Buenos Aires, Argentina) was a Uruguayan author of short stories. He wrote stories which, in their use of the supernatural and the bizarre, look backward to Edgar Allan Poe, but also look forward to the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez.
He had a famously miserable and unhappy life. His father, who was an Argentinian consular official, was killed accidentally in a shooting incident when Horacio was an infant. After his stepfather's death—he shot himself—Quiroga visited Paris, but soon realized that the bohemian life was not for him. He returned to South America, where he accidentally shot and killed a friend in 1902 while they were inspecting a gun. In 1904 he settled in Chaco Province, Argentina, where he planted cotton, but the venture failed and he abandoned the project. After this disaster, he taught for a while and married one of his pupils. They had one daughter, named Eglé, and one son, Darío. Both of these children later killed themselves. With his family Quiroga moved to San Ignacio, Misiones, on the Paraná River, where he assumed a post of registrar. Unable to tolerate the harsh conditions, Quiroga's wife committed suicide by poisoning herself—she suffered a full week before she died. Quiroga killed himself by ingesting cyanide shortly after he was diagnosed with stomach cancer.
His most famous collections are Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte (1917, title written thus without commas) and Los desterrados (1926). These deal with anthropomorphic, intelligent animals, fate, a jungle that seems to be alive and bizarre coincidences: all against a backdrop of complete despair. Quiroga is one now seen as one of the greatest of all Uruguayan writers.
Selected works translated into English
- Horacio Quiroga The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories (University of Wisconsin Press, 2004, ISBN 0-299-19834-0)
- Horacio Quiroga The Exiles and other Stories (University of Texas Press, 1987, ISBN 0-292-72050-5)
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