Octavio Paz is the most renowned and controversial Mexican poet of the second half of the 20th century.
Born in Mexico City in 1914, when the country was in the throes of revolution, he spent part of his childhood in the United States and also a portion of his adult life in France and India due to his time in the diplomatic service.
Critics have been divided in their assessment of Paz’s literary production.
For some, his earlier writings represent his greatest work, and indeed his first books were almost unanimously acclaimed; for others, however, his more mature, later work defines him as a great poet and essayist.
Most of the critical analysis of Paz’s writing has focused on two volumes of essays titled El laberinto de la soledad and El arco y la lira and the poetry collections Libertad bajo palabra, Ladera Este and El mono gramático.
However, no systematic study of Paz’s complete body of work has yet been conducted. Paz, the winner of the 1990 Nobel Prize in Literature, died in Mexico City in April 1998.