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J. Rodolfo Wilcock

Juan Rodolfo Wilcock (17 April 1919 – 16 March 1978) was an Argentine writer, poet, critic and translator. He was the son of Charles Leonard Wilcock and Ida Romegialli. He adopted a son, Livio Bacchi Wilcock, who translated Jorge Luis Borges' work into Italian.

Juan Rodolfo Wilcock
Born(1919-04-17)17 April 1919
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Died16 March 1978(1978-03-16) (aged 58)
Lubriano, Italy
OccupationWriter, poet, critic, translator, engineer

Early lifeEdit

Wilcock was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina

He studied at the Universidad de Buenos Aires from which he graduated as a civil engineer in 1943. That same year he started to work for a railroad company then in expansion in the western parts of Argentina. The experience would be short-lived, as Wilcock resigned a year later. His first known literary work and accomplishment came in 1940 under the title Libro de poemas y canciones ("Book of Poems and Songs") which earned the Martín Fierro, a prize given by the Argentine Society of Writers (SADE). The same work would also win the prestigious Municipal Award of Literature given by the City of Buenos Aires. Soon Wilcock would see himself surrounded by some of the most prominent writers-intellectuals of the time like Jorge Luis Borges, Silvina Ocampo, and Adolfo Bioy Casares to name just a few of the acquaintances he befriended, but perhaps the most influential. Wilcock would later refer to the three as a constellation and the Trinity, which helped him elevate from what he called a "grey existence". In 1945 Wilcock undertook the self-publication of two collections of poetry: Ensayos de poesía lírica and Persecución de las musas menores. The following year he would again obtain the award granted by the Argentine Society of Writers (SADE) for his Paseo Sentimental. Also in 1946, Wilcock published his Los hermosos días.

Travels and tribulationsEdit

At the time, General Juan Peron's regime was suffocating intellectual life in Argentina; as World War II was over in Europe, many chose to relocate to the newly liberated capitals of the old world. In 1951 Wilcock left Argentina for the first time in a visit to Italy. He traveled in the company of Ocampo and Bioy Casares.

To live is to cross the World over with the help of bridges made of smoke; When one is already in the other side, it don't matter if the bridges disappear[citation needed]

Life as an Italian writerEdit

By 1953, he was residing in London earning a living as a translator and a commentator for the BBC. After a short return to Buenos Aires in 1954, at the age of 34, he once again set sail for Italy where he settled permanently three years later. From now on most of his works, some of his most celebrated, would be written in Italian, a language he learned while living near Rome. During those years he wrote a letter to his friend Miguel Murmis, where he stated: "I see Argentina like an immense translation".[1] In 1975, Wilcock requested Italian citizenship: which was finally granted to him a year after his death.[citation needed] He died in his country cottage in Lubriano, Province of Viterbo, north of Rome, in March 1978.

Juan Rodolfo Wilcock is buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome located near the Porta San Paolo alongside the Pyramid of Cestius.

List of worksEdit

  • Libro de poemas y canciones (1940)
  • Ensayos de poesía lírica (1945)
  • Persecución de las musas menores (1945)
  • Paseo sentimental (1946)
  • Los hermosos días (1946, 1998)
  • Sexto (1953, 1999)
  • Los traidores (in collaboration with Silvina Ocampo, 1956)
  • El caos (1974)

Published posthumouslyEdit

  • Poemas (1980)
  • La sinagoga de los iconoclastas (1981, translated into English by Lawrence Venuti as The Temple of Iconoclasts)
  • El ingeniero (1996)
  • El estereoscopio de los solitarios (1998)
  • Hechos inquietantes (1998)
  • El libro de los monstruos (1999)
  • Los dos indios alegres (2001)
  • El templo etrusco (2004)


  1. ^ "Argentina, an immense translation" (in Spanish). La Nación. 11 October 2013.

External linksEdit