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By Octavio Paz

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

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trans Margaret Sayers Peden

Mexico's major poet, essayist, and cultural critic writes of a Mexican poet of yet again and one other international, the realm of seventeenth-century New Spain. His topic is Sor Juana Inés de los angeles Cruz, the main awesome 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 lady, considered one of six illegitimate young ones, is shipped to dwell with family within the capital urban. She turns into identified for her good looks, wit, and impressive erudition, and is taken into the courtroom because the Vicereine's protégée. for 5 years she enjoys the pleasures of lifestyles at court--then without notice, 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 magnificent library and collects medical 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 courtroom than the cloister. Her performs are played, volumes of her poetry are released in another country, and her genius starts off to be famous in the course of the Hispanic global. without notice she surrenders her books, forswears all literary goals, and indicators in blood a renunciation of secular studying. the remaining is silence. She dies years later, at forty-six.

Octavio Paz has lengthy been intrigued by way of the enigmas of Sor Juana's character and profession. Why did she turn into a nun? How may possibly she resign her lifelong ardour for writing and studying? Such questions may be replied in basic terms within the context of the realm within which she lived. Paz supplies a masterly portrayal of the existence and tradition of recent Spain and the political and ideological forces at paintings in that autocratic, theocratic, male-dominated society, during which the subjugation of girls was once absolute.

Just as Paz illuminates Sor Juana's existence via putting it in its historic surroundings, so he situates her paintings when it comes to the traditions that nurtured it. With serious authority he singles out the characteristics that distinguish her paintings and mark her strong point as a poet. To Paz her writings, like her lifestyles, epitomize the fight of the person, and particularly the person girl, for inventive achievement and self-expression.

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The drops of stellar milk are the syllables that write our future. within the syllables of these constellations, St. Augustine and Freud learn the symptoms of the lifestyles urge and the dying want: the deification of the ego and the fascination for nothingness, damnation, and demise. but when studying these indicators doesn't produce happiness— we can't go back to the para­ dise of the prenatal country, nor ascend, like Hercules, to immortality— it does supply the single freedom inside our succeed in: that of self-knowledge. Sor Juana reads in her cell-womb-library, and that examining is a libera­ tion. Enclosure is reworked right into a universe of symptoms, and the cloister opens towards a unlimited area: the sky. it's a pulsing house packed with symptoms: the constellations are letters, and the letters shape an problematic web­ paintings of roads and paths, labyrinths and spirals. studying is a pilgrimage, a “ going towards. ” The reader not just deciphers the letters yet walks alongside the trails traced via the writing. Following them, he leaves the cloister that enclosed him and wanders in the course of the open areas. learn­ ing is freedom, and because the reader reads, he reinvents the very issues he reads, and so participates in common construction. Or, as Sor Juana says in a gleaming line, “ M ay syllables be composed by way of the celebs. ” the celebs compose sentences however it is she who writes them. The go back to infancy is resolved in transcending the childish nation, and during wisdom narcissism is dissolved in self-criticism. The cell-library completes in­ fancy and while exorcises it. just like the library because the safe haven the place Juana Ines’ feelings are enfolded and the place her psychological job unfolds has to be accomplished via one other picture that bears on will and personality: library as treasure residence. each treasure has its guardians, its dragons; each treasure is barred in a fortress or buried in a cave. clone of the treasure calls up the determine of the hero and his exploits. those exploits are epic violations, heroic profanations. Juana Ines needs to hurricane the citadel and take posses­ sion of data, because the pirates of her time sacked captured galleons. wisdom is transgression. She herself says so: she reads all books and May Syllables Be Composed through the celebrities there are ‘‘not adequate punishments, or reprimands, to avoid me. ” The transgression is a flow towards maleness. As a lady, she cuts her hair and desires to put on men’s garments; as a tender girl, she impartial­ izes her intercourse underneath the conduct of the nun; as an grownup, in her nice poem Primero sueno (First Dream) she identifies with the hero Phaethon. Such is the eminently social and never psychosomatic beginning of masculinity: books are forbidden wealth and owning such treasure denotes a transgression; those situations are imposed on Juana Ines now not lots through biology as by means of the character of the society she lives in. The library is a treasure together with books made by means of males, accrued through males, and dispensed between males. to own that amassed studying, she needs to do what all thieves do, now not with the exception of the heroes of fantasy: hide herself.

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