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Home People Art and Literature Death in its most frightening form.

Death in its most frightening form.

Whoever reads Quiroga's texts will be able to guess behind them the gloomy and permanent presence of death.

Art and Literature

First things first:  Horacio Quiroga  was not Argentine, but his great love was always here. Born in Salto, Uruguay, on December 31, 1878. His full name was Horacio Silvestre Quiroga Forteza. The writer made it very clear that Argentina was his place in the world: San Ignacio,  Misiones  and the jungle marked his life, his work and, also, much of their misfortunes. Whoever reads Quiroga's texts will be able to guess behind them the gloomy and permanent presence of death . I used to place nature as an enemy of the human being. He was considered one of the best storytellers in Latin America, not only in his time, but of all time.

A life marked by endpoint decisions

His life was marked from the beginning by the  ghost  of death in the worst of its forms: suicide . On February 19, 1937, the writer couldn't stand the sadness anymore and — knowing that he would still die of prostate cancer diagnosed by him — took his life on cyanide at the Hospital de Clínicas in Buenos Aires.

He had gone through the suicide of his stepfather (Mario Barcos) who in 1896 had a stroke that left him mute and semi-paralyzed. Ships got depressed in such a way that he shot himself into the mouth using his feet, while Horatius opened the door to the room. Then he would follow the suicide of his first wife in life,  Ana Maria Cires . The woman was unhappy living in the jungle and decided to take her life in 1915.

From the beginning, wounds that marked fate

And, as if it were not enough, the tragedy also marked his life with deaths that left a mark in Quiroga's history. His biological father died after an accident with his shotgun upon his return from hunting. Little Horace, by that time, was 2 months old.  In 1901 he published his first book , which must have been a point of joy for the life of Horacio Quiroga. However, in that year his two brothers and his friend Federico died, whom he accidentally murdered when a gun was shot. The pain of these tragedies, especially that of his friend, were the reasons that forced the author to settle in Argentina, where he traveled to the  jungle  of Misiones and managed to reach maturity as a professional and writer. He was taught as a pedagogue and got a teacher job at the Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires. The desire to live in a solitary and hostile environment as the jungle was to be expected. Perhaps in search of shelter, which clearly was not enough to mitigate sorrows and keep them away from their life.

Death after his death

After his own death, that ghost who hailed him forever — or that tragic, painful, black destiny — continued to chase the people he loved the most. A few months after his departure, his daughter Eglé also took her life. A year later it was the turn of his great friend, the poet Leopoldo Lugones, and his impossible love, Alfonsina Storni. Years later — to close a circle hard to believe, his son Dario also made the decision to commit suicide. There are those who claim that this kind of painful experiences, almost as karmic destiny, is perpetuated over time, for generations until someone from the family lineage performs the work necessary to cut and end with the root of the matter. Perhaps by the author's time, these theories were not yet developed and much less widespread.

The rest is to say that Horacio Quiroga's work is enjoyed by what it is in itself, but — sometimes — knowing the sufferings of the pen that created it makes everything even more meaningful.

Publication Date: 20/04/2018

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Horacio Quiroga, the tragic writer
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