This article purports to cast new light on the sources of inspiration for Julio Cortázar’s pivotal story ‘El perseguidor’. In particular, it aims to. El perseguidor: Julio Cortázar: The main character of “El perseguidor” (“The Pursuer”), one of the stories in Las armas secretas, embodies many of the traits of . Brenes Reyes, p. 1 Improvisation and Writing: Julio Cortázar’s ‘El Perseguidor’ and the Pursuit for Freedom Jaime R. Brenes Reyes In the words of Argentine.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. In his writing the rhythm transmits a tension within the text that places the reader outside of his daily environment.

El perseguidor | work by Cortázar |

Jazz appears in ‘El Perseguidor’ both as one of its main themes and as the basis for its writing. He explains that jazz musicians are able to intuitively maneuver the time in a piece of music and to add a ‘swing’.

Improvisation, in the content of the story, as writing technique, and the impact upon the reader, has important consequences to understand reality and clrtazar doors for the liberation of the creative process. The character of Johnny Carter is modeled after jazz musician Charlie Parker. Bruno, on the other hand, is a jazz critic and has recently published Johnny’s biography.

These characters embody opposite personalities, Johnny, the intuitive jazz improvisers, and Bruno, the Western intellectual that follows logic and systematic reasoning.

El perseguidor

Bruno enters, calculating that they have not seen each other in a month. El primero, el dos, el tres, el veintiuno.


The capitalist individual moves according to the clock and due dates, as in the case of Bruno, the jazz critic writing for the newspaper. For Johnny, such an idea of time is challenging, and ek referred to by Bruno as one of his ‘manias’ Johnny cannot grasp the conventional conception of time that guides everyday reality: By using improvisation, he argues that the real mania resides in the accepting of social norms, as in the case of time.

The Pursuer |

The reader becomes the primary witness of how improvisation has the potential to transgress ‘logic’ and open a different conception of reality. Logic, in this sense, is understood as the precepts of the dominant culture to be followed by individuals. If not accompanied by reference, other quotes are translated by the author of this paper.

However, as the story goes on, Johnny complains to Bruno that he does not understand his music: Y no es culpa tuya no haber podido escribir lo que yo tampoco soy capaz de tocar. Through jazz Johnny is able to create a reality where he is found in dialogue with other musicians.

Among these, religion; Johnny protests: It creates an artificial model that accepts conventionalisms and simplifies jazz improvisation. Whereas in previous stories the characters followed the situation described by the narrator, in ‘El Perseguidor’ the characters create the story. Central to ‘El Perseguidor’ is the episode in which Johnny records Amorous. Improvisation allows the musician to enter into a face-to-face dialogue with other musicians, demonstrating their own abilities and creative skills.

It creates a collective that gives equal opportunity for expression and communication among all members. If improvisation is to be used as writing technique, the literary work must enclose a dialogue of equals between author and reader.


Improvisation, then, transcends the barriers that language creates in the author- reader relationship. The author in this case does not impose an image or societal model upon its cortazaf. And such process takes place in a collective dialogue, while maintaining and ensuring the originality of each individual.

It is involved in the very process of writing. The tension and the rhythm of the story situate the reader beyond the traditional understanding of time and reality, themes that are then treated through language by Bruno to make sense of Johnny’s music.

As the writer advances through improvisation, words, faces, beginnings, and ends, start to emerge and take form.

The Pursuer

The reader, then, enters into the story as a co-creator and participant in the improvising process. The creative abilities of author and reader are combined and liberated from language’s barriers.

Parker is present here and shows author and reader the possibility to imagine a world otherwise, in which time, language, and music escape the barriers imposed by an exclusionary system. Siglo Dd Editores, The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, The Shadow and the Act: University of Chicago Press, Remember me on this computer. Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link.

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