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Culture

A hundred years after Octavio Paz’s birth, a rebellious intellectual

"I have the bizarre privilege of being the only Mexican writer who has seen his own illustration burning in a public square" (Octavio Paz, Nobel Prize in Literature in 1990)

Octavio Paz was an enthusiast actor of the XX century, a great polemicist and a rebellious intellectual who moved away from the left sector to condemn totalitarianism and who end his career of diplomatic because it was coherent.

Never conservative or reactionary, said Paz (1914-1998) himself, whose combative spirit was marked by a father who participated in the Mexican Revolution and a grandfather, author of historical novels, who fought against the French intervention and Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship.

In 1930, he founds with José Bosh the Union of pro-Worker Students and Farmers and two years later he starts studying Law in the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

At the age of 23, he is with the antifascist writers in Spain

In 1937, he goes to Mérida (Yucatán) to work in a school for sons of workers, and he participates in the foundation of the Pro-Democracy Committee in Spain, where a year before the Civil War broke out.

That year, he was ask to participate in a meeting with antifascist writers and intellectuals in Valencia (Spain), an experience who marked him at his age of 23 years old.

His stay in Europe is prolonged with trips to Madrid, Barcelona and Paris with the writer Elena Garro, with who was married before leaving Mexico, and who divorced years later.

When he comes back to his country, he advertise information supporting the Spanish Republic, and he participates in the foundation of “El Popular”, a newspaper which became the body of the left Mexican sector.

With the deal between Stalin and Hitler, the communist disillusionment appears

The disillusionment with this state of thinking starts with the non-aggression deal between Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler, which caused moving away from the newspaper and his communist friends in August 1939.

After the murderer of Leon Trostky in 1940, he gets to know the French poet Benjamin Péret and the Russian writer Victor Serge and he discovers the meaning of critical thinking.

Between 1943 and 1945, he comes back to USA, and he works for consulates of New York and San Francisco. In 1946, he is sent to Paris, where he frequents the exponents of Surrealism. India and Japan where other destinies before coming back to Mexico as a Director of International Offices of the Office of Chancellor.

In Mexico, he attacks the power

In 1971, he comes back to Mexico with Marie Jose Tramini, with who got married in 1964, and he participates with Carlos Fuentes in an initiative to create a party, but both move away from this idea soon.

Julio Scherer, the Director of the newspaper Excélsior, ask Paz to edit his weekly magazine “Plural”, but five years later he resigns with all his equipment after the coup of the government to the directors of the newspaper. He denounces what happened to the international press and he founds “Vuelta”.

The essayist attacks the party on power in Mexico, criticizes Fidel Castro’s dictatorship, Sandinista regime in Nicaragua and lots of Latin American writers, between them Gabriel García Márquez, because of their politic stances.

Paz himself admits his opinions “exasperated and outraged a lot of people.”

His most important poems and writtings

Luna Silvestre (1933), ¡No pasarán! (1936, book of poems about the Civil War); Raíz del hombre (1937); Bajo tu clara sombra (1937); Entre la piedra y la flor (1941); A la orilla del mundo (1942); Libertad bajo palabra (1949); El laberinto de la soledad (1950, a portrait of Mexican society); ¿Águila o sol? (1951); El arco y la lira (1956).

 Cuadrivio (1965), Ladera este (1968), Toponemas (1969), Discos visuales (1969), El signo y el garabato (1973), Mono gramático (1974), Pasado en claro (1975), Sombras de obras (1983) y La llama doble (1993).

Posthumous work: Figuras y figuraciones y Memorias y palabras, epistolario entre Octavio Paz y Pere Gimferrer entre los años 1966 y 1997.

Translation adapted from the text in Spanish, EFE/Paola Martínez Castro/Practica Español, 27 March 2014

Apuntes de gramática: sufijos para crear sustantivos en español, usos del presente

Ejercicio 1

Comprensión de la noticia

Felicidades - has completado Comprensión de la noticia.

Tu calificación es %%SCORE%% de un total de %%TOTAL%%.

Tu rendimiento es %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
La noticia trata de...
A
El aniversario natalicio de un escritor
B
El bicentenario del nacimiento de O. Paz
C
El aniversario de una de las obraz de O. Paz
Question 2
¿Qué adjetivo se relaciona más con ese autor?
A
Sumiso
B
Rebelde
C
Tranquilo
Question 3
Según Paz, ¿qué quemaron en una plaza pública?
A
Una imagen suya
B
La efigie de un amigo suyo
C
Un libro
Question 4
¿Cuándo comenzó a separarse de sus amigos comunistas?
A
Desde agosto de 1939
B
Desde enero de 1939
C
Desde 1964
Question 5
¿Por qué arremetió contra García Márquez?
A
Por cuestiones políticas
B
Por cuestiones culturales
C
Por cuestiones económicas
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There are 5 questions to complete.

Ejercicio 2

Gramática: sufijos para formar sustantivos

Felicidades - has completado Gramática: sufijos para formar sustantivos.

Tu calificación es %%SCORE%% de un total de %%TOTAL%%.

Tu rendimiento es %%RATING%%


Your answers are highlighted below.
Question 1
De total
A
Totalitarismo
B
Totalizar
C
Totalitario
Question 2
De escrito
A
Escritorio
B
Escribir
C
Inscribir
Question 3
De obra
A
Resobrar
B
Obrado
C
Obrero
Question 4
De pensar
A
Pensante
B
Repensado
C
Pensamiento
Once you are finished, click the button below. Any items you have not completed will be marked incorrect. Get Results
There are 4 questions to complete.

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