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Winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature, J. M. G. Le Clézio here conjures the consciousness of Mexico, powerfully evoking the dreams that made and unmade an ancient culture. Le Clézio’s haunting book takes us into the dream that was the religion of the Aztecs, a religion whose own apocalyptic visions anticipated the coming of the Spanish conquerors. Here the dream of the conquistadores rises before us, too, the glimmering idea of gold drawing Europe into the Mexican dream. Against the religion and thought of the Aztecs and the Tarascans and the Europeans in Mexico, Le Clézio also shows us those of the “barbarians” of the north, the nomadic Indians beyond the pale of the Aztec frontier.
Finally, Le Clézio’s book is a dream of the present, a meditation on what in Amerindian civilizations—in their language, in their way of telling tales, of wanting to survive their own destruction—moved the poet, playwright, and actor Antonin Artaud and motivates Le Clézio in this book. His own deep identification with pre-Columbian cultures, whose faith told them the wheel of time would bring their gods and their beliefs back to them, finds fitting expression in this extraordinary book, which brings the dream around.
“We are lucky to have in Le Clézio a writer of great quality who brings his particular sensibility and talent here to remind us of the very nature of the rituals and myths of the civilizations of ancient Mexico; he provides us with descriptions as precise as they are mysterious.”—Le Figaro
A widely respected French novelist with a long history of interest in pre-Columbian Mexico, Le Clezio imagined how the thought of early Indian civilizations might have evolved if not for the interruption of European conquest. A powerful evocation of the imaginings that made and unmade an ancient culture. Map.
1. The Dream of the Conquerors
2. The Dream of Origins
3. Mexican Myths
4. Nezahualcóyotl, or the Festival of Words
5. The Barbarian Dream
6. Antonin Artaud, or the Mexican Dream
7. The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations
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