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The Language of Passion,
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This review is from: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe (Paperback)
Several years ago, the great Peruvian novelist, critic, and sometime Presidential candidate Mario Vargas Llosa entitled a colelction of his essays from the 1990s "El Lenguaje de la Pasion," the title he had given to an essay that he wrote on the occasion of the death of Octavio Paz. Paz, who wrote the book in question here--Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz--was perhaps Mexico's preeminent man of letters during the twentieth century, a writer who well deserved the Nobel Prize he won in 1990.
This book on Juana Ines de la Cruz is his best book of prose, in which he unites his sensitivity as a writer of poetry with his deep love for Mexico and his interest in its past. Add to this his genuine insightfulness as a critic--and one who can speak to an average educated adult, not one who speaks only to the specialist--and one has an important, vibrant book, not just about poetry, nor yet about Sor JuanaSor Juana Inés de la Cruz o las trampas de la fe, but about literature, art, and life in general.
This text is in Spanish, but Paz' Spanish is so clear that it is readily comprehensible even to the non-specialist. Just keep a dictionary at hand: you'll need to consult it only once or twice a page so transparent is Paz' prose. In the end, though I have read quite a bit of literary criticism, I would have to say that this is one of the four or five best books of criticism I have read, not least because it ranges widely beyond its subject and connects what is often the arcana of literary study to life in general. It is a wise, deeply learned book which wears its learning lightly and, as Vargas Llosa suggests, speaks with passion about life in general.