Horacio Quiroga  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Horacio Silvestre Quiroga Forteza (b. Uruguay, December 31, 1878Buenos Aires-Argentina,February 19, 1937) was an Uruguayan-born Argentine author and writer. He wrote stories which, in their jungle settings, use of the supernatural and the bizarre show the influence of modernismo, Edgar Allan Poe, and Rudyard Kipling, among others. Quiroga's influence can be seen in the magic realism of Gabriel García Márquez and the postmodern surrealism of Julio Cortázar.


Born in Salto, Uruguay, Quiroga had a famously miserable and unhappy life. His father, an Argentine consular official, was killed in an accidental shooting when Quiroga was very young. His stepfather committed suicide in 1900. In 1902, Quiroga accidentally killed his friend, Federico Ferrando, with a pistol. Shortly thereafter, during a brief stay in Paris, Quiroga encountered the works of the symbolists and through them, Poe. He returned to South America, where he taught in several Argentine schools. After touring the wilds of Argentina as a photographer, he settled in Chaco Province in 1904, where he attempted to grow cotton. His attempt failed, and he returned to teaching in Buenos Aires. He married one of his pupils, Ana María Cires, in 1909. They had two children, a son, Darío, and a daughter, Eglé. Quiroga took the post of registration in the San Ignacio district of Misiones. He was joined by his wife and children, but after six unhappy years, Ana María committed suicide by poisoning herself. He then returned to Buenos Aires, where he worked in the consulate of his native country for the next nine years. Quiroga returned to San Ignacio in 1925. In 1927, he married a friend of his daughter's, María Elena Bravo. The marriage ultimately failed. Two years before his death, Quiroga was awarded an honorary consulship by the country of his birth. Quiroga killed himself by ingesting cyanide shortly after he learned that he had prostate cancer. Ultimately, both of Quiroga's children, Darío and Eglé, committed suicide as well.

His most well known works are Cuentos de amor de locura y de muerte (1917) 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 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)

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Horacio Quiroga" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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