"When Octavio Paz won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990, it was in recognition of the fact that for many years he had been the pre-eminent poet in the Spanish speaking world. His work takes the traditions of Mexican poetry as well as French and Spanish influences, and adds what he himself read of his contemporaries in Mexico, Britain and France, in particular, the Surrealists. But Paz was also a great polemicist and essayist, described by V.S. Naipaul as 'a kind of Mexican George Orwell'. He made a huge contribution to intellectual debates on Mexican art and identity, its connections with the USA, and the European heritage of Latin America." "Nick Caistor examines how Paz, born during the Mexican Revolution, participated in the attempts to bring a utopian revolution to his country, which was emerging into the modern world after decades of repressive rule. At the same time, he was wary of ideology imposing itself on art and always sought an independent position. Later, Paz lived in the USA, Europe and, as a member of the Mexican diplomatic service, in India, returning to his home country in 1968 where he became an influential critic of the regime in power." "As well as examining Paz's intellectual adventures, Caistor relates his fascinating private life - his marriages and friendships with leading figures of Mexican and Latin American cultural life, as well as with important literary figures in France, Britain, the United States and Italy. Caistor reveals how Paz's poetry and other writing were always intimately related to the circumstances of his life, and shows how his ideas and poetic expression were inspired by the events in which he was involved."--Jacket.