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Understanding Octavio Paz

José Quiroga

Explores the work of the only Mexican writer to win the Nobel Prize for literature

In this comprehensive examination of the work of one of the major poets of this century-winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize for Literature and undoubtedly Mexico's most important literary and cultural figure—José Quiroga presents a timely analysis of Octavio Paz's writings in light of recent works by and about him. Combining broad erudition with scholarly attention to detail, Quiroga views Paz's work as an open narrative that explores the relationships between the poet, his readers, and his time.

Understanding Octavio Paz provides thorough readings of Paz's poetry, essays, and autobiographical works within their historical, political, and aesthetic contexts. Quiroga begins his analysis by setting out the broad outlines of Paz's life, which he examines in greater detail throughout the book. Scrutinizing Paz's most important collection of poetry, Libertad bajo palabra, Quiroga takes into account the series of revisions to which Paz submitted his poetic works. In readings regarding society and politics, he focuses on The Labyrinth of Solitude, which has grown to include Paz's last observations on Mexico and the Mexican state. Quiroga also examines Paz's work on aesthetics and poetics, with chapters devoted to poetry and works published before and after the poet's stay in India during the 1960s; and Paz's longer poems written in the 1970s and 1980s.

From aesthetics to politics, from art to society, from art criticism to anthropology, Paz continually reread himself. Understanding Octavio Paz gives an account of his major presence in world poetry in the twentieth century.

José Quiroga is an associate professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

"Despite the complexity of Paz's oeuvre, Quiroga provides insightful, lucid commentary; he stresses Paz's broad intellectural interests … "—Choice



book jacket for Understanding Octavio Paz


6 x 9
194 pages
ISBN 978-1-57003-263-9
cloth, $39.95s
Understanding Modern European and Latin
American Literature


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