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Of Arms and the Essayist

  • Ilan Stavans

Abstract

Nature, said Ralph Waldo Emerson in the prologue to Representative Men, seems to exist for the excellent. The world is upheld by the veracity of extraordinary individuals who make the earth wholesome. Octavio Paz, Mexico’s foremost essayist and poet, appears to hold this stature in his native country and in the vast Hispanic world: a renaissance hommes de lettres, an intellectual ambassador who personifies Latin America’s wholehearted embrace of European culture—in sum, a cultural demigod. But much like one of his idols, T. S. Eliot, who commanded an overwhelming influence over English and American literary aesthetics during the 1940s and 1950s and was later condemned for his reactionary politics, Paz, once greeted with unmixed applause, now faces an increasingly critical readership.

Keywords

Political Writing Mexican Culture Reactionary Politics Inferiority Complex Modern Poetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Ilan Stavans 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilan Stavans

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