Photo: Pierre Boulet. 1967

–There is only one way out and it is to shut the door of the room one lives in – because then one can transport oneself to another part of the world – and look for a book, a notebook, a pen–

(Julio Cortázar, 1937)

Visit to the Julio Cortázar Library, an author's library

Having been introduced to reading by his mother at an early age, Cortázar's creativity and curiosity were nourished by the great works of the past, along with others that were indispensable to an intellectual as intensely involved as he was in the cultural, social and political life of the second half of the 20th century.

The personal library of Julio Cortázar (1914-1984) contains many of the books that accompanied him from early youth. Some he brought with him from Buenos Aires; some he picked up in Paris in his wanderings through the bookshops along the banks of the Seine. Some were autographed gifts from their authors (Alberti, Neruda, Onetti, Lezama Lima, Octavio Paz, Carlos Fuentes). Others are artistic, illustrated or annotated editions. Some have loose sheets among their pages as a reminder of a circumstance, a moment, a companion.

The virtual visit to the Julio Cortázar Library is a visual itinerary of the works the author had at his home in Rue Martel in Paris, which were donated to the Fundación Juan March by his widow, Aurora Bernárdez, in 1993, and the various editions and translations of his works that were published subsequently. The visit presents a total of 3786 titles in 26 languages: 855 books contain Cortázar's signature, 515 are dedicated by their authors or by friends, 48 contain bookmarks or slips of paper, 397 contain Cortázar's annotations, and 17 are unique book-objects.