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35 phrases by Julio Cortazar

Excerpts, phrases and cortazarian reflections; the unique prose of the Argentinean writer born in Brussels.

Art and Literature
  1. “ Would you find the Maga?
  2. “ I think we all have a little of that beautiful madness that keeps us walking when everything around is so insanely sane.”
  3. “ (...) A night with the Zedrón is a kind of South American summary that explains and justifies the astonishing admiration with which Europeans attend their music, literature, painting and cinema or theater”
  4. “In short, since I was a child, my relationship with words, with the writing, it doesn't differ from my relationship with the world in general. I seem to be born to not accept things as they are given to me.”
  5. “ Probably from all our feelings the only one that is not truly ours is hope. Hope belongs to life, it is life itself defending itself.”
  6. “ I have never explained it to you before, do not believe that by disloyalty, but naturally one will not start to explain to people that from time to time a bunny vomits”
  7. “The task of softening the brick every day, the task of breaking its way into the sticky mass that is proclaimed world, every morning.a bump into the parallepiped with the disgusting name, with the dog's satisfaction that everything is in place, the same woman next door, the same shoes, the same taste of the same toothpaste, the same sadness of the houses across the street, the dirty window board of time with its sign “Hotel de Belguique »”.
  8. “ I touch your mouth, with a finger I touch the edge of your mouth, I will draw it as if it came out of my hand, as if for the first time your mouth was open, and I just close my eyes to undo everything and start, I give birth every time the mouth I desire, the mouth that my hand chooses and draws you on your face, a mouth chosen among all, with sovereign freedom chosen by me to draw it with my hand for your face, and that by a chance that I do not seek to understand exactly matches your mouth that smiles beneath the one my hand draws you.”
  9. “ My love, I don't want you for you neither for me nor for the two together, I don't want you because blood calls me to love you, I love you because you're not mine, because you're on the other side, where you invite me to jump and I can't make the leap, because in the depths of possession is notaacute; s in me, I can't reach you, I do not pass from your body, from your laughter, there are hours when you torment me to love me (how do you like to use the verb to love, with what cursilería do you drop it on plates and sheets and buses), torments me your love that does not serve as a bridge because a bridge does not hold from a Only side, never Wright or Le Corbusier will make a bridge held on one side, and don't look at me with those bird's eyes, for you the operation of] love is so simple, you will heal before me and that you love me as I don't want you.”
  10. “ Thus they had begun to walk through a fabulous Paris, getting carried away by the signs of the night, abiding by itineraries born from a phrase of clochard, from a glochard lit in the background of a black street, stopping at the confidential placitas to kiss on the benches or look at the the children's rites of pebble and the jump on one foot to enter Heaven.”
  11. “ He stopped reading the story at the point where a character stopped reading the story in the place where a character stopped reading and headed to his house where someone who expected him had started to read a story to kill time and came to the place where a character stopped reading and headed to the house where someone who was expecting it had started to read a story to kill time.”
  12. “ Then I drank another little from the shool and turned to my piece that was upstairs, climbing a iron ladder where once at the age of nine I dislocated my ankle. When I was going to light the candle on the light table, a warm hand grabbed me by my shoulder, I felt that they were closing the door, another hand covered my mouth, and I started to smell like catinga, black was all over me and said things to my ear, drool my face, tear off my clothes and I couldn't do anything, nor scream even because I knew he was going to kill me if I screamed and didn't want to be killed, anything was better than that, dying was the worst offense, the most complete stupidity.”
  13. “ We have to be fair,” said the Magician. Pola is very beautiful, I know it from the eyes with which Horacio looked at me when she was back from being with her, she came back like a match when she turned it on and she grows all her hair, barely lasts a second, but it's wonderful, a kind of squeak, a very strong phosphorus smell and that huge flame that then spoils.”
  14. “ His memory effortlessly retained the names and images of the protagonists; the novelesque illusion won it almost immediately. He enjoyed the almost perverse pleasure of breaking off line by line from what surrounded him, and feeling at the same time that his head rested comfortably in the velvet of the high back, that cigarettes remained at hand, that beyond the windows danced the sunset air under the oak trees;
  15. “ We liked the house because apart from spacious and old (today that old houses succumb to the most advantageous liquidation of their materials) kept the memories of our great-grandparents, paternal grandfather, our parents and all childhood.”
  16. “ From time to time it happened that the words of the dead coincided with what the living were thinking (some were alive and the others were dead).”
  17. You have repeated the word “thing” several times,” said Gregorovius. It's not elegant, but instead it shows very well what happens to Horacio. A victim of cosity, it's obvious.
    - What is cosity? “said the Maga.
    Cosity is that unpleasant feeling that where our presumption ends our punishment begins.
  18. “ Leaving aside the motives, let us adhere to the correct way of crying, understanding by this a cry that does not enter the scandal, nor that insults the smile with its parallel and clumsy likeness. Medium or ordinary crying consists of a general contraction of the face and a spasmodic sound accompanied by tears and snot, the latter at the end, because the crying ends at the moment when one sounds energetically. To cry, direct the imagination towards yourself, and if this is impossible for you because you have contracted the habit of believing in the outside world, think of a duck covered with ants or those gulfs of the Strait of Magellan in which no one enters, ever. When the crying comes, the face will be covered with decorum using both hands with the palm inward. Children will cry with the sleeve of the sack against their face, and preferably in a corner of the room. Average duration of crying, three minutes.”
  19. “ Understand puree as an epiphany. Damn the language. Understand. Do not understand: understand. A suspicion of recoverable paradise: It cannot be that we are here in order not to be able to be.”
  20. “ The anthropomorphic features of a monkey reveal, contrary to what most believe, the distance that goes from them to us.”
  21. “ In the restaurant of the cronopios these things happen, namely that a fame asks with great concentration a steak with fries, and remains unapieza when the waiter chronopio asks him how many fries he wants.”
  22. “ Famas to preserve their memories proceed to embalming them in the following form: After fixing the memory with hairs and signs, they wrap it from head to toe in a black sheet and place it standing against the wall of the room with a card that says: Excursion to Quilmes, or: Frank Sinatra.”
  23. “ They barely feathered, something like an ulucordium encrestoried them, they were extracted and paramovia, suddenly it was the clinic, the convulsing sterphurous of the matricas, the gasping embocapluvia of orgumio, the sproemies of merpasm in an overhumitic overhumitic agopause.”
  24. “ I don't know how to talk about happiness, but that doesn't mean I didn't have it.”
  25. “ A gentleman takes a tram after buying the diary and put it under his arm. Half an hour later he descends with the same diary under the same arm. But it's no longer the same newspaper, now it's a lot of printed sheets that the lord leaves on a bench in the square.”
  26. “ The August heat added to that time flush with tyres to make immobility increasingly enervant. It was all the smell of gasoline, shouting screams from the young Simca, shine of the sun bouncing off the crystals and chrome edges, and to top it off contradictory sensation of the confinement in the middle of the jungle of treadmills.”
  27. “ Tug & AACUhe; ndolo little by little brought him to the shore, took in his arms his body dressed in white, and holding it in the sand he looked at his face full of foam where death was already installed, bleeding from a huge wound in his throat.”
  28. “ As a dream it was curious because it was full of smells and he never dreamed smells. First a scent of swamp, since to the left of the road began the marshes, the tremaderales from where no one came back. But the smell ceased, and instead came a fragrance composed and dark as the night when he moved fleeing the Aztecs.”
  29. “ That is why we will never be the perfect couple, the postcard, if we are not able to accept that only in arithmetic the two is born of the one plus the one”.
  30. “ Everything I want about you is so little in the background because deep down it's everything.”
  31. “ He said that on a bus on line 95 he had seen a boy about thirteen years old, and that after looking at him he discovered that the boy looked a lot like him, at least he looked like the memory he kept of himself at that age. Gradually he admitted that he looked like everything, his face and hands, the strand falling on his forehead, his eyes far apart, and even more so in shyness, the way he took refuge in a comic book magazine, the gesture of throwing his hair back, the irremediable clumsiness of movements.”

  32. “ Sighing, he erased in some kind of , because he hated the facilities of the language, and thought he could no longer work until after dinner; soon the children would arrive from school and we would have to take care of the toilets, prepare their meals and help them in their Why in the middle of such a simple enumeration was there like a hole, an impossibility to follow?“.
  33. “ Only living absurdly could you ever break this infinite absurdity”
  34. “In a Scottish village they sell books with a lost blank page somewhere in the volume. If a reader flows into that page at three o'clock in the afternoon, he dies.”
  35. “ What is an absolute, Horacio? “Look,” said Oliveira, “it comes to be that moment when something achieves its maximum depth, its maximum reach, its maximum sense, and completely ceases to be interesting.


Publication Date: 26/08/2019

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