Download Sor Juana: Or, The Traps of Faith by Octavio Paz PDF

By Octavio Paz

Due to every person for twin language poetry! here's my first delivering of Paz at the tracker, i feel. no longer twin language.

trans Margaret Sayers Peden

Mexico's top poet, essayist, and cultural critic writes of a Mexican poet of over again and one other international, the area of seventeenth-century New Spain. His topic is Sor Juana Inés de los angeles Cruz, the main notable determine in all of Spanish-American colonial literature and one of many nice poets of her age.

Her lifestyles reads like a unique. A lively and precocious woman, one in every of six illegitimate teenagers, is distributed to dwell with kin within the capital urban. She turns into recognized for her good looks, wit, and awesome erudition, and is taken into the courtroom because the Vicereine's protégée. for 5 years she enjoys the pleasures of existence at court--then without warning, at twenty, enters a convent for all times. but, no recluse, she transforms the convent locutory right into a literary and highbrow salon; she amasses a powerful library and collects clinical tools, reads insatiably, composes poems, and corresponds with literati in Spain. To the consternation of the prelates of the Church, she persists in circulating her poems, redolent extra of the court docket than the cloister. Her performs are played, volumes of her poetry are released overseas, and her genius starts off to be famous during the Hispanic international. unexpectedly she surrenders her books, forswears all literary goals, and symptoms in blood a renunciation of secular studying. the remaining is silence. She dies years later, at forty-six.

Octavio Paz has lengthy been intrigued via the enigmas of Sor Juana's character and profession. Why did she develop into a nun? How may possibly she resign her lifelong ardour for writing and studying? Such questions should be responded in simple terms within the context of the area during which she lived. Paz provides a masterly portrayal of the lifestyles and tradition of latest Spain and the political and ideological forces at paintings in that autocratic, theocratic, male-dominated society, within which the subjugation of girls used to be absolute.

Just as Paz illuminates Sor Juana's existence through putting it in its old atmosphere, so he situates her paintings in terms of the traditions that nurtured it. With serious authority he singles out the traits that distinguish her paintings and mark her specialty as a poet. To Paz her writings, like her lifestyles, epitomize the fight of the person, and particularly the person girl, for artistic achievement and self-expression.

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Example text

To all appear­ 16 The Kingdom o f N ew Spain ances, they were correct. I say “ to all appearances” because there was a Spanish tradition of struggle for autonomy and independence: Catalo­ nia, Aragon, the autonomous cities of Castile, the Basques. It was a buried tradition, however, and though still alive, it was not widely known. It was, in fact, a mere embryo of a true political model. Instead of rethinking and revising that tradition, instead of bringing it up to date and applying it to new circumstances, Spanish Americans (and also lib­ eral Spaniards) preferred to appropriate the political philosophies of the French, English, and North Americans.

Although the defeats and setbacks since Independence have dissipated the chimera of empire— the legacy of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and New Spain— the modern republic has maintained Aztec and Spanish centralism even while imitating North American federalism. Continuity, then, but also superimposition: upon the ruins of a pre-Columbian world, conquered but not dead, arose a different society, New Spain, which reached its peak in the eigh­ teenth century and in turn disintegrated during the civil wars of the first half of the nineteenth century.

The contradiction that corrodes universalist ideologies and inevi­ tably ends by destroying them is that they do not, in fact, transcend the specific social entities we call nations, classes, peoples, and ethnic and cultural groups. New Spain is a good example of this commonplace: from within the bosom of a vast philosophical, political, and religious universalism— imperial Spain— emerged the criollo sense of a distinct identity that evolved into Mexican nationalism. I f f r o m s o c i a l and political structures and forms we turn to the com­ position of New Spain’s population, we find a similarly motley and com­ plex reality.

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