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Spanish Practices

Edwin Williamson, 18 May 1989

Collected Poems 1957-1987 
by Octavio Paz, edited by Eliot Weinberger.
Carcanet, 669 pp., £25, October 1988, 0 85635 787 1
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Sor Juana: Her Life and her World 
by Octavio Paz, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Faber, 547 pp., £27.50, November 1988, 0 571 15399 2
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ASor Juana Anthology 
translated by Alan Trueblood, with a foreword by Octavio Paz.
Harvard, 248 pp., £23.95, September 1988, 0 674 82120 3
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... Octavio Paz occupies a unique position in the Spanish-speaking world. He is the foremost living poet of the language as well as being one of the most authoritative interpreters of the Hispanic situation, a pensador in the tradition of Unamuno, Ortega y Gasset, Rodo and Mariategui. Poetry, however, has always been the vital source of his ideas. His work as cultural historian, political essayist and editor of Vuelta, the most influential journal in Latin America today, is rooted in his belief that the poetic conscience must be brought to bear on the central issues of contemporary history ...

Don’t abandon me

Colm Tóibín: Borges and the Maids, 11 May 2006

Borges: A Life 
by Edwin Williamson.
Penguin, 416 pp., £9.99, August 2005, 0 14 024657 6
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... Congress’ and first published in 1971, although it had been on his mind for many years. Edwin Williamson, in his biography of Borges, writes about the parallels between the story and El Caudillo. Borges sought in his story, according to Williamson, not only to mirror the novel his father wrote ...

Doubly Damned

Marina Warner: Literary riddles, 8 February 2007

Enigmas and Riddles in Literature 
by Eleanor Cook.
Cambridge, 291 pp., £48, February 2006, 0 521 85510 1
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... to Terence Cave’s Recognitions and Leo Spitzer’s study of harmony (she might have added Edwin Honig’s Dark Conceit, an exploration of allegory) – topics of far greater salience and weight. For as she is keenly aware, her subject, like folklore, elicits mainly boredom, condescension and a general wariness. A riddle comes in the form of a snap ...

One word says to its mate

Claire Harman: W.S. Graham, 4 October 2001

The Nightfisherman: Selected Letters of W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Snow and Margaret Snow.
Carcanet, 401 pp., £12.95, November 1999, 1 85754 445 5
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... from each new position gained. ‘What do I write to say? I don’t know,’ he complained to Edwin Morgan in an undated letter (probably from the early 1950s). ‘The kind of poem I want to write is very far away from even TNF’ – ‘The Nightfishing’ – ‘I know more about poetry than I’ve ever done before. Maybe that is what is wrong but I ...

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