Beautiful Madness In Julio Cortázar's La Noche Boca Arriba

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“Creo que todos tenemos un poco de esa bella locura que nos mantiene andando cuando todo alrededor es tan insanamente cuerdo.” – Julio Cortázar (1). It was this ‘beautiful madness’ which stemmed from within Cortázar that resulted in many of his greatest works. The main feature of his writing is the use of the ‘fantastic’. According to Cortázar, this is the most fictional of all literature. It is demonstrated in the book of short stories ‘Final del juego’ (1956) including the three stories that will be outlined here: ‘La noche boca arriba’, ‘Final del juego’ and ‘Continuidad de los parques’. He defines this fantastic literature as “turning one’s back on a reality universally accepted as normal” (2). All in all, the battle between the real and the fictional dominates the short stories of Julio Cortázar.

‘La noche boca arriba’ might be the perfect short story to exhibit the clash between reality and the fantastic. What the reader believes to be real turns out to be imaginary. The story begins with a motorcyclist in the twentieth century but this is no more than a starting point (3). On first reading, the reader is inclined to believe that the motorcyclist is ‘real’ and that the trauma after his accident, along with being in a feverish state causes him to drift into a dream world. This dream world is central to the writer’s work as he often focuses on individuals who are afflicted by delusions, hallucinations, and nightmares (4). Initially in ‘La noche boca arriba’ the
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