Octavio Paz y la encarnación de la poesía en la historia

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Serrata, Médar, 1964-

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In El arco y la lira, Octavio Paz makes use of the metaphor of incarnation to answer a question first posed by the Romantic poets of the late 18th century: can poetry transform itself into action and enter the time of history? The way Paz incorporates the idea of the incarnation of poetry in history indicates that to him the meaning of that metaphor could not even be questioned. To us, however, such relation between poetry and history is no longer that obvious. That’s the reason I find it necessary to reactivate its meaning before inquiring about the process that makes it one of the conditions of possibility of Paz’s discourse. This work intends to place Paz’s thought within the context of the Romantic recovery of Christian incarnation, the myth of the primaeval unity, and the relation between the cyclic time of myth and the lineal time of history. The underlying idea in Paz’s poetics is that society constitutes in principle a unified totality, but in the actual state of the fallen man such totality can only be achieved through the poetic experience. The problem is how to justify the truth value of these claims, and such is, in my opinion, the function of the narrative structure in Paz’s poetics. Paz builds a narrative in which all the contradictions between myth and history are solved by way of the metaphor of incarnation. As the hero of this narrative, Poetry’s mission is to embark on a journey back to the origins, in order to free mankind from the burden of history. The incarnation metaphor represents the end of that journey, the supreme instant in which the hero achieves his destiny, and restores the lost unity between man and the universe


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