75 Penguins for penguins 75th


This year is penguins 75th birthday ,the idea of Allen Lane who wanted to provide cheap books for the masses ,the orginals where 6pennys ,very cheap at the time and had the design classic orange /white /orange strips ,On the picture i feature a row of different strip designs the earliest is my 1940’s George Bernard Shaw ,I ve try to use all ages of books from 50’s onwards .This year to celebrate penguin has brought out the decades series using a group of designs with connections to the choosen decade ,my favourite in picture is my 3 vol Proust as i have yet to read it .

Habe you a favourite penguin ?

the labyrinth of solitude by octavio paz

Notes –

Paz was one of the greatest writers from mexico he wrote numerous novel and poems ,he was also very active politically during his life and commented on numerous latin american and spanish causes during his life .He was awarded the nobel prize for literature on 1990 and is only third mexican to win a nobel and only nobel laureate in literature .this book is considered his masterpiece .

The Book –

The book is a journey through in a number of different chapters what it is to be mexican ,it examines the mexican psyche ,the history ,there are a number of recurring theme that keep appearing like spain ,indian culture and the Catholic church ,Paz weaves the story with the mexican nation being describe as though they where a person and what are characteristics that are common to all mexican like often a mixed heritage of native indian and spanish family background .how spain running lead to the revolution and the beginning of the mexican state and the laws of the stat regarding education etc ,the church’s influence over everyday life and the state as a whole ,also how the church has adapt to the mexicans as a people .the is lots of mysticism like the journey of being mexican like the ancient quests of labyrinths and how every mexican has this deep well of solitude at the core .

Any contact with the mexican people, however brief ,reveals that the ancient belief and customs are still in existence beneath western forms .These still living remains testify to the vitality of the pre-courtesian cultures .and after discoveries of archeologists and historians  it is no longer possible to refer to these societies as savage or primitives tribes.

the opening of the fifth chapter .

My view –

Paz has encapsulated what to be a mexican is here and it is wonderful reading the history views perception of mexico ,mexico has always fascinated me a country of vast contrasts in class on the edge of the richest country in the world the politics ,chaos of its capital ,I heard that Martin Amis said China and Japan are going to be the new literary centres but i have a feeling mexico has something to tell us all the vast metropolis of mexico city is sure to stir up many amazing stories in the future and as a book to give you a start on the track of mexican lit this has been a great help for me into this vibrant and diverse country .The edition i borrowed from  library was in 1967 ,in later versions a 10th essay was added to the 9 orginals ,this essay dealt with a massacre in 1968 that lead to Paz resighning as an ambasador for mexico in India where he had spent a lot of his later life ,this edition was translated by lysander kemp and was the first translation available .

May 2010


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