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Reading Groups

Hopscotch: Leaping and Bounding through a Julio Cortázar Classic with Samuel Rutter (Online Only)

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5 Sessions Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT September 22 to December 15, 2021

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Book’ option includes a copy of Hopscotch at a 15% discount.


Meeting Dates:
9/22, 10/13, 11/3, 11/24, 12/15

Published in 1963 to rapturous acclaim, Julio Cortázar’s Hopscotch became an instant (and perennial) bestseller, capturing the imagination of readers across the globe with its innovative exploration of order and chaos, art and sex, bohemia and boredom.

In the novel, Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves “the Club.” A child’s death and La Maga’s disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira’s adventures.

In the “Table of Instructions” for reading this novel, Cortázar notes that “in its own way, this book consists of many books, but two books above all.” The first book sees the reader move through chapters 1-56 in chronological order, ignoring the subsequent 99 expendable chapters. In this reading group, we will “hopscotch” through all 155 chapters, fully immersing ourselves in the experimental, jazz-like structure of this classic Modern novel.

No prior knowledge of Latin American literature is assumed, and there will be no compulsory reading apart from the novel itself. In meetings we will discuss the themes, structure and style of the book as rendered in Gregory Rabassa’s prize-winning translation.

We will read and discuss the novel over five sessions:

  • Session I: 31 chapters, in the following sequence:
    72-1-2-116-3-84-4-71-5-81-74-6-7-8-93-68-9-104-10-65-11-136-12-106-13-115-14-114-117-15-120
  • Session II: 31 chapters, in the following sequence:
    16-137-17-97-18-153-19-90-20-126-21-79-22-62-23-124-128-24-134-25-141-60-26-109-27-28-130-151-152-143-100
  • Session III: 31 chapters, in the following sequence:
    76-101-144-92-103-108-64-155-123-145-122-112-154-85-150-95-146-29-107-113-30-57-70-147-31-32-132-61-33-67-83
  • Session IV: 31 chapters, in the following sequence:
    142-34-87-105-96-94-91-82-99-35-121-36-37-98-38-39-86-78-40-59-41-148-42-75-43-125-44-102-45-80-46
  • Session V: 30 Chapters, in the following sequence:
    47-110-48-111-49-118-50-119-51-69-52-89-53-66-149-54-129-139-133-140-138-127-56-135-63-88-72-77-131-58-131
  • Bonus: Chapter 55 is not included in the sequence, but you can read it if you want!

Required Text:
Cortázar, Julio. Hopscotch. (trans. Gregory Rabassa) New York: Pantheon, 1987. 576pp

There are two editions of this book available in translation, and either will suffice due to the chapter-by-chapter reading system, which is noted at the top-right corner of each page.

Hopscotch-by-Julio-Cortazar.jpg.optimal

Led by

  • Samuel Rutter

    Samuel Rutter

    Samuel Rutter

    Samuel Rutter is a writer and translator from Melbourne, Australia with an extensive research background in contemporary literature from Latin America. He has translated novels, stories, screenplays and comics from French, Spanish and Catalan, and was awarded a PEN Translates Prize in 2016. His work has appeared in Harper’s, the White Review, Gulf Coast, and T magazine.