A collection of essays from the Nobel Prize–winning author. “Brilliant . . . A stimulating book, electric in its energies, the shock of its thought” (The Boston Globe).
In its front-page review of Alternating Current, The New York Times Book Review called Octavio Paz “an intellectual literary one-man band” for his ability to write incisively and with dazzling originality about a wide range of subjects. This collection of his essays is divided into three parts. Part One sets forth his credo as an artist and poet, steeped in his knowledge of world literature and Mexican art and history and buttressed by readings of writers from Mexican poet Luis Cernuda to D. H. Lawrence, Malcolm Lowry, André Breton, and Carlos Fuentes. Part Two deals with themes such as Western individualism versus plurality and flux in Eastern philosophy, atheism versus belief, nihilism, liberated man, and versions of paradise. In Part Three, Paz writes of politics and ethics in essays on revolt and revolution, existentialism, Marxism, the third world, and the new face of Latin America.
A scintillating thinker and a prescient voice on emerging world culture, Paz reveals himself here as “a man of electrical passions, paradoxical visions, alternating currents of thoughts, and feeling that runs hot but never cold” (The Christian Science Monitor).
“Reads like a poet’s prose: quick, flashing, and idiosyncratic . . . [His essays] do not close discussions so much as open them.” —The New Yorker
“Paz is by vocation a believer in alternatives, in new ways in which tradition and change can nourish each other. In his special detachment, he can afford to regard the past with love, the future without panic.” —Time
About the author
Octavio Paz was born in 1914 in Mexico City. A poet, writer, thinker, and diplomat, he was the author of many volumes of poetry as well as literary and art criticism and works on politics, culture, and Mexican history. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, he was also awarded the Jerusalem Prize, the Cervantes Prize, the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, and the German Peace Prize. He died in 1998.
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