La escritura de viaje desde la perspectiva latinoamericana: Octavio Paz y el caso mexicano

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Cantú, Irma Leticia

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The dissertation’s introductory chapter defines how travel writing, as conceived of by most modern travel theories, fails to take into account a Spanish-American perspective. This chapter uses Paz’ writings as a foundation for my original theoretical framework in which I interpret Spanish-American travel experiences and the means by which they navigate questions of self, space and otherness. Chapter One, “En busca de México 1935-1957” considers how Mexican writing converses with other world cultures via a “horizontal rhetoric.” This concept is paralleled by Paz’ uses of simultaneism (among other poetic techniques) in his works to show the universal dimension of Mexican literature, with the goal of displacing the perception of that literature as a minor expression within world writing. Chapter Two, “Diálogos con Oriente 1962-1972,” reads Paz’ works both as representative of the Hispanic writing tradition, and as unconventional interpretations of Orientalism. I discern that two particular elements of Orientalism presented in Paz’ poetry function as points of unity between the East and Latin America; namely, the possibly Oriental origin of certain Latin American Pre-Colombian cultures, and the Arabic inheritance of Spain that was brought to Latin America. The final chapter situates Paz’ poetry in a space in which memory resuscitates bygone locations and past travels. His works emphasize the commonality between Mexico and a diversity of other world cultures, and my interpretation of his work as travel literature submits a new insight into our culturally intermeshed world. The ultimate scholarly contribution that this work offers is an elucidation of Paz’ principles of travel that reveal a view of “the other” which is not dictated by the ideas of imperialism.