Octavio Paz biography | Mexican writer, The Nobel Prize for literature in 1990.

(City of Mexico, 1914 - ID, 1998) Mexican writer. Together with Pablo Neruda and Cesar Vallejo, Octavio Paz formed the triad of great poets which, after the decline of modernism, led the renewal of Spanish-American poetry of the 20th century. The Nobel Prize for literature in 1990, the first awarded to a Mexican author, also meant the recognition of its vast and influential intellectual stature, which was reflected in a brilliant essay production.


Grandson of the writer Ireneo Paz, Octavio Paz literary interests also manifested itself very early, and he published his first works in several literary magazines. He studied at faculties of law and philosophy and arts of the National University. Social concerns also let themselves feel promptly, and in 1937 he made a trip to the Yucatan with the intention of creating a school for children of employees. In June of that same year he married the writer Elena Garro (a daughter would give and that years later would separate) and left his academic studies to perform, along with his wife, a trip to Europe that would be fundamental in all his life and intellectual career.

Octavio Paz
In Paris he took contact, among others, César Vallejo and Pablo Neruda, and he was invited to the Congress of antifascist writers in Valencia. Until the end of September 1937 he remained in Spain, where he personally met Vicente Huidobro, Antonio Machado, Miguel Hernández and other prominent poets of the generation of 27. In addition to visiting the front, during the war, Spanish Civil (1936-1939) wrote many articles in support of the Republican cause.
After returning to Paris and visit New York, in 1938 he returned to Mexico and there collaborated closely with the Spanish Republican refugees, especially with the poets of the time stamp of Spain. Meanwhile, he worked in a Bank and daily wrote a column of international politics in The PopularTrade Union newspaper who abandoned by ideological differences. In 1942 he founded the magazines New land and The prodigal son.
From the end of 1943 (a year in which received a Guggenheim Fellowship to visit the United States) until 1953, Octavio Paz resided outside their home country: first in cities all American and, after the second world war, in Paris, after entering in the Mexican foreign service. In the French capital began its move away from Marxism and Existentialism for approaching a Utopian socialism and especially to surrealism, understood as attitude to life and in whose circles was introduced thanks to Benjamin Péret and mainly to his friend André Breton.

Octavio Paz
Back in Mexico, he founded in 1955 the poetic group and theatrical poetry aloud, and subsequently began his collaborations in the Revista Mexicana de Literatura and El Corno Emplumado. Experimental contemporary art positions he defended in publications from this period. In the 1960s he returned to the foreign service, being assigned as an official of the Mexican Embassy in Paris (1960-1961) and later in the of India (1962-1968); in this last country he met Marie-José Tramini, whom was married in 1964. It closed its diplomatic activity in 1968, when he resigned to protest against the repressive policies of the Mexican Government front the student democratic movement, which culminated in the massacre in the Plaza of the three cultures of Tlatelolco.
He taught since then in American and European universities that continued their tireless cultural work giving lectures and founding new magazines, such as Plural (1971-1976) or back (1976). In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature, crowning an exemplary career already previously recognized with the highest award of the Latin American letters, the Cervantes Prize (1981), and that would be again awarded with the Prince of Asturias communication and Humanities (1993).

The poetry of Octavio Paz

The bulk of the vast production of Octavio Paz fits into two genres: poetry and essay. His poetry delved into the grounds of eroticism, formal experimentation and reflection on the destiny of man. Broadly speaking can be distinguished three major phases in his poetic work: in the first, the author sought to penetrate through the word, in a field of essential energies that led him to certain impersonality; in the second it entroncó with the surrealist tradition, before finding a new impulse in the contact with the East; in the last stage of his lyrical career, the poet gave priority to the Alliance between eroticism and knowledge.
Parole (1949), Octavio Paz grouped various books written between 1935 and 1947. First compositions were responding to a neorromantica aesthetics and strong social concerns; but soon added an existential theme, that revolved around the feeling of loneliness, the problems of his time, communication, the possibility of love... Following this path, his poetry became an instrument of knowledge of himself and of the world; In sum, a sign metaphysical poetry.

Octavio Paz
But soon the discovery of Surrealism would teach him the liberating power of the word, and with the valuation of the irrational, the possibility of return to language mythical dimensions. Thus, occurred at the same time and as said the own Octavio Paz, a return to the forefront and a return to the magic word. Both directions materialized in the poems that range from Eagle or Sun? (1949-50) to an extensive and masterful composition entitled Sun stone (1957), built from the Aztec myths of circular time.
Often designated as one of his masterpieces, Sun stone is located at the crossroads of his career lyric: poem condensed historical and existential concerns on the one hand, and anticipates his later work on the other. It consists of 584 endecasilabos (the same figure as the year of the Aztec calendar) of dense and powerful images, after which the poem back to the beginning. This circular structure does not prevent the progress of the investigations of the poet, referred to the love, the individual and the sense of history and of the world.
In salamander (1962), which includes poems written between 1958 and 1961, Octavio Paz increased the irrational and the esoteric. It is a poetry that attempts to show us the other side of things, from an exploration of the new powers of the word. The result, except occasionally, is a full of suggestions hermetism. Eastern slope (1962-1968) is the result, on the one hand, his interest in oriental culture, from which emerge new esoteric dimensions. On the other hand responds to Octavio Paz contact with linguistic structuralism, which leads you to substantiate the poetic creation in the same script. We have the maximum language release, with a poetic expression in which the words reach maximum autonomy, broken off at times of all logical substrate.
The poet also experiments with new resources of presentation and typography; a good example would be the long poem white (1967), arranged in three columns that can be read in different ways. This experimental way, Octavio Paz published in 1969 two books of poetry "space" (or visual): Topoemas and Visual records. They are attempts to create a new perception of the message whose precedents go back to Apollinaire and the interwar avant-garde.
Very different is clear past (1975), book consisting of a single, long and beautiful poem, more sober language (but unusual density), designed to dive on his conscience, his life and his word. Compendium of their concerns and creative experiences, this second masterpiece condenses at its end his vision of language as "founder of reality", as an instrument with which the man creates and is created: after their long journey through the words in search of ultimate realities and of their own reality, the poet is defined, in the last verse , as "the shadow which throw my words".
His later books include back (1976) and tree in (1987). Formed by poems written between 1969 and 1975, the title of the first refers to the poet return to Mexico after a long stay in Europe and Middle East. Tree in brings together the poems composed by the author after the publication of turn and is divided into five parts, some of which insist on its consistent themes: meditation on love (in the fifth, which gives the book its title) or death (in the third).


Poet, Narrator, essayist, translator, editor and great promoter of Mexican letters, peace is always maintained in the center of the artistic, political and social discussion in the country. Both the variety of interests and acute analytical intelligence and insatiable curiosity became patent in his numerous essays, which covered a wide range of topics, from art and literature to sociology and Linguistics, history and politics. The substance, depth and subtlety characterize these texts.
Literary theme are the bow and the lyre (1959), deep reflection on poetic creation, and Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz or the traps of faith (1982), comprehensive study of the work and the complex personality of this Mexican poet of the 17TH century. Mexican identity is the theme of the labyrinth of solitude (1950) and PostScript (1970).

The monkey grammarian (1974), to participate at a same time of reflection and poem in prose, explores the essence of language and is a testimony of his attraction to the East; the title refers to the head of Hanuman, one of the main characters in the Ramayana monkeys. Cloudy weather (1983) focuses on the contemporary political and social situation. View privileges (1987) are his views on the Visual Arts.
Of his recent essays include the double flame (1993). The work covers the literature in search of the genesis of the poetic idea of love, courtly love Provencal, which is unprecedented in the ancient Indian and Chinese religions and Hellenism (with its fusion of East and West). After the Provencal poets, Christianity desarboló courtly love; the carnal passion, consummation of love, was relegated by the deification of the beloved (Dante, Petrarca, and Neoplatonism).
According to the author, it was the French revolution so love pluck his humanity in the hands of poets and prose writers. But in the modern world, the sexual revolution of 1968 led to the end of the soul at the hands of scientific materialism. put another way, love has been the victim of the crisis of the idea of person: extreme pessimism closes this work. Other titles of its abundant production of essays are quadrivium (1965), Claude Lévi-Strauss or the new feast for Aesop (1967), conjunctions and disjunctions (1969), the sons of slime (1974), the philanthropic OGRE (1979) and men of his century (1984).
Extracted from the website: Biografías y Vidas
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