Octavio Paz launches a far-ranging excursion into the “incestuous and tempestuous” relations between modern poetry and the modern epoch. From the perspective of a Latin American poet, he explores the opposite meanings that the word “modern” has held for poets and philosophers, artists, and scientists. Tracing the beginnings of the modern poetry movement to the pre-Romantics, Paz outlines its course as a contradictory dialogue between the poetry of the Romance and Germanic languages. He discusses at length the unique character of Anglo-American “modernism” within the avant-garde movement, and especially vis-à-vis French and Spanish poetry. Finally he offers a critique of our era’s attitude toward the concept of time, affirming that we are at the “twilight of the idea of the future.” He proposes that we are living at the end of the avant-garde, the end of that vision of the world and of art born with the first Romantics.
A very agile mind throws off ideas both dazzling and endlessly arguable.
[Paz] moves in the vanguard and his writing, rich in learning, startling in insight, controlled in style, worldwide in its reverberations, attacks our preconceptions of the Latin American mind and its verbal mode.
[Paz] writes with such lucid density, such dialectical panache, such agreement of scope and precision, such flings of the hooks of reference, that his book is an instant classic.
- 192 pages
- Harvard University Press
From this author
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