Early life[ edit ] Horacio Quiroga was born in the city of Salto in  as the sixth child and second son of Prudencio Quiroga and Pastora Forteza, a middle-class family. At the time of his birth, his father had been working for 18 years as head of the Argentine Vice-Consulate. Before Quiroga was two and a half months old, on March 14, , his father accidentally fired a gun he was carrying in his hands and died as a result. Quiroga was baptized three months later in the parish church of his native town. Training and travels[ edit ] Quiroga in Quiroga finished school in Montevideo , the capital of Uruguay.
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Early life[ edit ] Horacio Quiroga was born in the city of Salto in  as the sixth child and second son of Prudencio Quiroga and Pastora Forteza, a middle-class family. At the time of his birth, his father had been working for 18 years as head of the Argentine Vice-Consulate. Before Quiroga was two and a half months old, on March 14, , his father accidentally fired a gun he was carrying in his hands and died as a result. Quiroga was baptized three months later in the parish church of his native town.
Training and travels[ edit ] Quiroga in Quiroga finished school in Montevideo , the capital of Uruguay. He studied at the National College and also attended the Polytechnic Institute of Montevideo for technical training. From a very young age, he showed great interest in a variety of subjects and activities including literature, chemistry, photography, mechanics, cycling and country life.
This led him to dabble in various forms and styles of poetic expression himself: post-romanticism , symbolism and modernism. He soon began to publish his poems in his home town. While studying and working, he collaborated with publications such as La Revista and La Reforma, improving his style and making a name for himself.
In his home town, he founded a magazine titled Revista de Salto In the same year, his stepfather committed suicide by shooting himself; Quiroga witnessed the death. With the money he received as inheritance he embarked on a four-month trip to Paris, which turned out to be a failure: he returned to Uruguay hungry and disheartened.
In Quiroga published his first book, Los Arrecifes de Coral Coral Reefs , but the achievement was overshadowed by the deaths of two of his siblings, Prudencio and Pastora, who were victims of typhoid fever in Chaco.
That fateful year held yet another shocking event in store for Quiroga. While inspecting the weapon, he accidentally fired off a shot that hit Ferrando in the mouth, killing him instantly. When the police arrived, Quiroga was arrested, interrogated and transferred to a correctional prison.
He was eventually exonerated of blame. Racked with grief and guilt over the death of his beloved friend, Quiroga dissolved The Consistory and moved from Uruguay to Argentina. In Buenos Aires Quiroga the artist reached professional maturity, which would come to full fruition during his stays in the jungle.
To Chaco and back to Buenos Aires[ edit ] In June of that year Quiroga, already an experienced photographer, accompanied Leopoldo Lugones on an expedition, funded by the Argentine Ministry of Education, in which the famous Argentine poet planned to investigate some ruins of Jesuit missions in the province of Misiones.
The jungle of Misiones left a profound impression on Quiroga that marked his life forever: he spent six months and the last of his inheritance seven thousand pesos on some land for cotton in Chaco province , located seven kilometers from Resistencia , next to the Saladito River.
His narrative benefited from his new knowledge of country people and rural culture; this permanently changed his style. Upon returning to Buenos Aires after his failed experience in the Chaco, Quiroga embraced the short story with passion and energy. In he published a book of stories called The Crime of Another, which was heavily influenced by the style of Edgar Allan Poe.
Quiroga did not mind these early comparisons with Poe, and until the end of his life, he would often say that Poe was his first and principal teacher.
Quiroga worked for the next two years on a multitude of stories, many were about rural terror, but others were delightful stories for children. During this time he wrote the magnificent horror story, "The Feather Pillow". It was published in by a famous magazine in Argentina, Caras y Caretas "Faces and Masks" , which went on to publish eight of his other stories that year.
Shortly after it was published, Quiroga became famous and his writings were eagerly sought by thousands of readers. Love and the jungle[ edit ] In Quiroga decided to return to his beloved jungle. Taking advantage of the fact that the government wanted the land to be used, Quiroga bought a farm with Vincent Gozalbo of hectares acres in the province of Misiones, on the banks of the Upper Parana , and began making preparations, while teaching Castilian and Literature nearby.
He moved in during the winter of Quiroga insisted on the relationship despite the opposition of her parents, eventually garnering their permission to marry her and take her to live in the jungle with him.
During the same year, the writer began farming in partnership with his friend, fellow Uruguayan Vicente Gozalbo, and he was also appointed Justice of the Peace in the Civil Registry of San Ignacio. This job was not the best fit for Quiroga who, forgetful, disorganized and careless, took to the habit of jotting down deaths, marriages and births on small pieces of paper and "archiving" them in a cookie tin.
Later, a character in one of his stories was given a similar trait. Quiroga decided, just as the children were learning to walk, that he would personally take care of their education. Stern and dictatorial, Quiroga demanded that every little detail be done according to his requirements. From a young age, his children got used to the mountains and jungle.
Quiroga exposed them to danger so that they would be able to cope alone and overcome any situation. He even went as far as to leave them alone one night in the jungle; another time he made them sit on the edge of a cliff with their legs dangling into the void. His daughter learned to breed wild animals and the son to use a shotgun, ride a bike and travel alone in a canoe.
Between and the writer, who already had experience as a cotton farmer and herbalist, undertook a bold pursuit to increase the farming and maximize the natural resources of their lands.
He began to distill oranges and produce coal and resins, as well as many other similar activities. Meanwhile, he raised livestock, domesticated wild animals, hunted, and fished. Literature continued to be the peak of his life: in the journal Fray Mocho de Buenos Aires Quiroga published numerous stories, many set in the jungle and populated by characters so naturalistic that they seemed real.
Clashes between the couple occurred frequently, and although the cause was usually trivial, their excessive arguments became daily setbacks. Throughout the year Quiroga lived in a basement with his children on Avenue Canning, alternating his diplomatic work with setting up a home office and working on many stories, which were being published in prestigious magazines.
Quiroga collected most of the stories in several books, the first was Tales of Love, Madness and Death Manuel Galvez, owner of a publishing firm, had suggested that he write it and the volume immediately became a huge success with audiences and critics, consolidating Quiroga as the true master of the Latin American short story.
Quiroga dedicated this book to his children, who accompanied him during that rough period of poverty in the damp basement. The next year, following the idea of "The Consistory", Quiroga founded the Anaconda Association, a group of intellectuals involved in cultural activities in Argentina and Uruguay.
His only play, The Slaughtered, was published in and was released in , when Anaconda was released another book of short stories. Between and , Quiroga served as secretary of a cultural embassy to Brazil and he published his new book: The Desert stories.
For a while the writer was devoted to film criticism, taking charge of the magazine section of "Atlantis, The Home and The Nation". He also wrote the screenplay for a feature film The Florida Raft that was never filmed. Shortly thereafter, he was invited to form a School of Cinematography by Russian investors, but it was unsuccessful. Quiroga then returned to Misiones. He tried to persuade her parents to let her go to live in the jungle with him. The novel contains autobiographical elements of the strategies he used himself to get the girl, such as leaving messages in a hollowed branch, sending letters written in code and trying to dig a long tunnel to her room with thoughts of kidnapping her.
In the workshop in his house, he built a boat he christened Gaviota. His home was on the water and he used the boat to go from San Ignacio downriver to Buenos Aires and on numerous river expeditions. In early , Quiroga returned to Buenos Aires and rented a villa in a suburban area. A lover of classical music, Quiroga often attended the concerts of the Wagner Association.
He also tirelessly read technical texts, manuals on mechanics, and books on arts and physics. In , Quiroga decided to raise and domesticate wild animals, while publishing his new book of short stories, Exiles. To do this, he got a decree transferring his consular office to a nearby city. He was devoted to living quietly in the jungle with his wife and daughter. Due to a change of government, his services were declined and he was expelled from the consulate. In this time of frustration and pain he published a collection of short stories titled Beyond From his interest in the work of Munthe and Ibsen , Quiroga began reading new authors and styles and began planning his autobiography.
Disease and death[ edit ] In Quiroga began to experience uncomfortable symptoms, apparently related to prostatitis or another prostate disease. With the pain intensifying and difficulty urinating, his wife managed to convince him to go to Posadas, where he was diagnosed with prostate hypertrophy. But the problems continued for the Quiroga family: his wife and daughter left him permanently, leaving him alone and sick in the jungle. When he could not stand the disease anymore, Quiroga traveled to Buenos Aires for treatment.
In , an exploratory surgery revealed that he suffered from an advanced case of prostate cancer, untreatable and inoperable. When Quiroga was in the emergency ward, he had learned that a patient was shut up in the basement with hideous deformities similar to those of the infamous English Joseph Merrick the " Elephant Man ". Taking pity, Quiroga demanded that the patient, named Vicent Batistessa, be released from confinement and moved into his room. As expected, Batistessa befriended and paid eternal gratitude to the great storyteller.
Feeling desperate about his present suffering and realizing that his life was over, he told Batistessa his plan to shorten his suffering and Batistessa promised to help. That morning February 19, in the presence of his friend, Horacio Quiroga drank a glass of cyanide that killed him within minutes of unbearable pain.
His body was buried in the grounds of the Casa del Teatro de la Sociedad Argentina de Escritores SADE , of which he was the founder and vice-president, although his remains were later repatriated to his homeland. Work[ edit ] The house in San Ignacio where Quiroga lived, now a museum.
Many of his stories belong to this movement, embodied in his work Tales of Love, Madness and Death. Quiroga was also inspired by British writer Rudyard Kipling The Jungle Book , which is shown in his own Jungle Tales, a delightful exercise in fantasy divided into several stories featuring animals.
While the Decalogue touts an economic and precise style, using few adjectives, natural and simple wording, and clarity of expression, in many of his own stories Quiroga did not follow his own principles, using ornate language, with plenty of adjectives and at times ostentatious vocabulary.
As he further developed his particular style, Quiroga evolved into realistic portraits often anguished and desperate of the wild nature around him in Misiones: the jungle, the river, wildlife, climate, and terrain make up the scaffolding and scenery in which his characters move, suffer, and often die.
Especially in his stories, Quiroga describes the tragedy that haunts the miserable rural workers in the region, the danger and suffering to which they are exposed, and how this existential pain is perpetuated to succeeding generations. He also experimented with many subjects considered taboo in the society of the early twentieth century. Analysis of work[ edit ] In his first book, Coral Reefs, consisting of 18 poems, 30 pages of poetic prose, and four stories, Quiroga shows his immaturity and adolescent confusion.
On the other hand, he shows a glimpse of the modernist style and naturalistic elements that would come to characterize his later work. His two novels, History of a Troubled Love and Past Love, deal with the same theme that haunted the author in his personal life: love affairs between older men and teenage girls.
In the first novel, Quiroga divided the action into three parts. In the first, a nine-year-old girl falls in love with an older man. In the second part, it is eight years later, and the man, who had noticed her affection, begins to woo her. The third part is the present tense of the novel, in which it has been ten years since the young girl left the man. In Past Love history repeats itself: a grown man returns to a place after years of absence and falls for a young woman he had loved as a child.