Alternating Current

Alternating Current

by Octavio Paz


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Alternating Current by Octavio Paz

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 1 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 2 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 3, 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” ( Christian Science Monitor ).

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781628725315
Publisher: Arcade Publishing
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 1,228,494
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.25(h) x (d)

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.

Table of Contents


What Does Poetry Name? 3

Form and Meaning 6

Homage to Aesop 6

Language and Abstraction 6

A Peruvian Painter 8

Notes on La realidad y el deseo 9

Landscape and the Novel in Mexico 14

Metamorphosis 16

Invention, Underdevelopment, Modernity 17

The Seed 22

Primitives and Barbarians 25

Nature, Abstraction, Time 28

Figure and Presence 31

The New Acolytes 33

On Criticism 35

Mask and Transparency 40

Remedios Varo's Appearances and Disappearances 45

Andre" Breton or the Quest of the Beginning 47

The Verbal Pact and Correspondence 59

Recapitulations 65


Knowledge, Drugs, Inspiration 73

Henri Michaux 78

Grace, Asceticism, Merits 85

Paradises go The Metamorphoses of Stone 92

The Symposium and the Hermit 95

Bufiuel's Philosophical Cinema 104

Forms of Atheism 110

Nihilism and Dialectics 116

Person and Principle 122

The liberated Man and Liberators 131


Revolt, Revolution, Rebellion 139

The Verbal Round 145

The City Mouse and the Country Mouse 150

The Channel and the Signs 154

Satiety and Nausea 160

The Two Forms of Reason 164

The Exception to the Rule 169

The Rules of the Exception 174

The End in the Beginning 178

A Form in Search of Itself 186

Revolt 192

Index 205

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