If one had to identify one central, defining text from modern Mexican culture, it would be Octavio Paz's famous essay, El laberinto de la soledad. This fully annotated edition includes the complete text in Spanish (with the author's final revisions), and notes and additional material in English. The editor's introduction contextualizes the essay and discusses central features: autobiographical and textual origins, intellectual sources, reception and canonization, generic ambiguity, structure, and governing symbols. The intellectual sources identified range from Marx, Nietzsche and Freud to the more contemporary ones of the French College of Sociology (Caillois), the Surrealist movement, the ideas of D. H. Lawrence, previous essays from writers in Mexico (such as Samuel Ramos) and Latin America. Several lines of interpretation are examined to show how the work can be read as a psycho-historical essay, an autobiographical construct or a modern literary myth. Transdisciplinary by nature, this literary essay is both an imaginative construction of personal and national identity, and also a critical deconstruction of dominant stereotypes. It seeks to redefine the complex relationships that exist between psychology, myth, history and Mexican culture. This edition also includes excerpts of the author's opinions on his essay, a time-line of Mexican history, a selected vocabulary, and themes for discussion and debate. Paz's first full-length prose work remains his most well-known and widely read text, and this edition will appeal to sixth-form and university students, teachers, researchers and general readers with a knowledge of Spanish.
Manchester University Press
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