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Copi (November 20, 1939 – December 14, 1987)

Raúl Damonte Botana (November 20, 1939, Buenos Aires – December 14, 1987, Paris), better known by the nom de plume Copi (for "copito de nieve", Spanish for "little snowflake"), was an Argentine writer, cartoonist, and playwright who spent most of his career in Paris.

Damonte spent most of his youth in Montevideo. His maternal grandfather was the journalist Natalio Félix Botana and his father was the journalist Raúl Damonte Taborda, an antiperonist Radical politician and director of the journal Tribuna Popular. Raúl showed an early talent for drawing and, from his adolescence, contributed caricatures to his father's publication and to the satirical magazine Tía Vicenta.

His father's political activities forced the family into exile in Uruguay, Haiti, and later New York. He finally settled in Paris, where he embarked on a career as a cartoonist for such newspapers as Le Nouvel Observateur. His most notable character during this period was La Femme assise, The Sitting Woman.

He was a member of Tse, an association of Franco-Argentine artists with whom in 1969 he staged a biographical play about Eva Perón. His theatrical works, influenced by Samuel Beckett, are characterized by the failure of characters to communicate.

Copi also collaborated with the avant-garde group Pánico, which included Fernando Arrabal, Roland Topor, and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

Copi contributed cartoons to the magazine Gai Pied.

He died of an AIDS-related illness in 1987, at the age of 48.

The Argentine writer César Aira, who wrote an essay on Copi, has given lectures on his works in the Ricardo Rojas Cultural Center and is credited with popularizing Copi in Argentina. His posthumous reputation is based largely on his plays, stories, and novels.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copi

Further Readings:

The Lights of Home: A Century of Latin American Writers in Paris by Jason Weiss
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Routledge (October 13, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0415940133
ISBN-13: 978-0415940139
Amazon: The Lights of Home: A Century of Latin American Writers in Paris

A fascinating look at the peculiar role of Paris as a key location in the Latin American literary lansdscape - a place where the canonical Latin American writers (Garcia-Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Paz, Neruda etc) converged, and in many cases where they chose to spend the greater part of their adult lives. Part biography, part literary criticism, this book should be of great interest to specialists in Latin American literature and also to those with an interest in Paris as a cultural phenomenon.

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Tags: author: copi, gay classics
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