Cronopio is a notion created by the Argentine writer Julio Cortázar ( 1914 – 1984 ). The cronopios are green and humid beings, according to what was imagined by the author of “Hopscotch”, who never gave too many details about the physical appearance of these characters.

The first time that Cortázar used the term was in an article published in 1952, when he reviewed a concert that Louis Armstrong gave in Paris. The writer came up with the idea when, at the Champs-Élysées Theater in the French capital, he had a vision of green balloons floating around the room.

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The concept of cronopios remained in the mind of Cortázar, who wrote a series of stories and poems with these characters as protagonists that appeared in the book “Historias de cronopios y de fames”, published in 1962.

The cronopios are beings imagined by the writer Julio Cortázar.

Cronopios in Cortázar’s work

Pure genius for many and overrated stories for others is this work that has become one of the most significant of those that make up Julio Cortázar’s bibliography.

Within the surrealist genre, the same one is framed in which the author comes to carry out, in his own way, a review of the most important social actors of the decades of the 50s and 60s in Argentina. That is, by the bourgeoisie.

In an authentically critical and scathing way, he describes that upper class that, among others, is made up of people who have come down and who, however, to appear as if they continue to lead the standard of living that they presumably had before. That situation produces really funny and absurd moments.

“The particular and the universal”, “Conservation of memories”, “Inconveniences in public services” or “Preamble to the instructions for winding the clock” are some of the stories that shape this work.

Several stories by Cortázar have cronopios as protagonists.

Main features

According to what emerges from their texts, the cronopios are idealistic, sensitive and naive creatures. In this way they differ from other beings imagined by the writer, such as the fames (pretentious and formal) and the hopes (boring and ignorant).

Cortázar was able to clarify that the term cronopio has nothing to do with time, which could be inferred from the prefix crono. Simply, the Argentine assured, it was a word that occurred to him and that seemed appropriate to name these beings.

Over the years, both Cortázar and his friends and followers began to use the notion of cronopio as an adjective or honorific treatment applied to people they admired. Thus, Cortázar is usually called as El Cronopio Mayor.

Artists who were inspired by cronopios

The creation of the term cronopio gave rise to many other artists from that moment being inspired by it. A good example of this is the painter Eva Holz, a native of Chile, who carried out the creation of several paintings about that strange being.

There is also the writer Luis María Pescetti who has a work entitled “What would happen if a couple of cronopios traveled a highway?”.

The music also has various songs that deal with the beings invented by Cortázar, such as “Canción del Cronopio”, by the rock band Los Brujos.