Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature by Octavio Paz

By Octavio Paz

Engrossing essays that replicate the author’s huge and sophisticated wisdom of the area. subject matters variety from the spiritual rites of the Aztecs to trendy american portray, from japanese paintings and faith to like and eroticism. Translated by means of Helen Lane.

Contents

Reading and Contemplation
Seeing and utilizing: paintings and Craftsmanship
At desk and in Bed
Iniquitous Symmetries
The New Analogy: Poetry and Technology
The Verbal Contract
Picasso: Hand-to-hand wrestle with Painting
Literature and Literalness
Latin-American Poetry
A Literature o f Convergences
Quevedo, Heraclitus, and a Handful of Sonnets
The culture o f the Haiku
Blank Thought
Constellations: Breton and Miró
Two Centuries o f American portray (1776-1971)
The Tree o f lifestyles

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Extra resources for Convergences: Essays on Art and Literature

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The central metaphor of Christianity is linked to viniculture and its product, grape wine. The mystery of the Eucharist, transubstantiation, consists of the change of wine into divine blood and of wheat into the flesh of God. Missionaries had tremendous difficulties explaining this mystery to peoples who were completely unfamiliar with wine and with wheat bread. For these peoples the religious concepts of metamorphosis and mutation were not new—they are the axes on which the mythologies of all societies turn—but it was not easy for them to accept the Christian Word when they had no notion of its concrete terms: wine and wheat.

In all the cases I have cited, translation had as its aim the preservation and transmission of truths considered uni­ versal and eternal. Because they were universal, these truths belonged to all humanity and could be translated into all languages; because they were eternal, they belonged to every period. Translation was grounded in a sacred legit­ imacy. The classic works of the past—Virgil and Ovid for the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Li Po and Tu Fu for 21 Convergences the Chinese after the T ’ang dynasty—also possessed the two attributes of sacred works.

The school of translators was a school of trav­ elers and explorers. 20 Reading and Contemplation The Japanese sent pilgrims and monks abroad on similar missions. From the seventh century on, they journeyed forth to learn the languages of China and Korea, study in the monasteries, and collect manuscripts and works of art. The Tibetans too sent out pilgrim-scholars. Thanks to them, many sutras and shastras have been preserved that were later lost in India, victims not only of the monsoons, in­ sects, and calamities that destroy manuscripts and books, but of human barbarity as well.

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