Mexican poet and writer, born in 1914 in Mexico City. His father was a lawyer and a supporter of Emiliano Zapata and his mother was a good catholic. Paz went to Spain and he fought for republicans in the Spanish Civil War in his young ages. Then he worked as a diplomat and assigned by the goverment as the ambassador of India. He spent several years there, learning about Buddhism and Hinduism and possibly the oldest civilization of human history, the great India itself. After resigning from his diplomatical duties, he lived in Paris for several years, there he was a close friend of Marcel Duchamp.
Paz's early works were inspired by both marxism and surrealism. He first gained wide reputation with his poems in Piedra de Sol (meaning "Sun Stone" refers to the greek goddess of beauty: Venus). Later he was disappointed by totaliter tendencies of the leftist goverments, openly critiziced Stalin and Soviet Russia but he continued to advocate free speech for all of his life.
In 1950, he published his magnum opus, The Labyrinth of Solitude, in which he analyses Mexican and South American history and culture. Just as the western world defined itself through east, he searched for the Mexican identity in the old American cultures and modern European-American civilization. Paz was a very versatile writer, a poet and an intellectual. With all these qualities, he worked on history, language,philosophy and literature. He is a great literary figure of latin america just like Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges.
Octavio Paz has both a sharp curiosity and a real understanding of fundamental principles of philosophy. And with a good knowledge of history he interpreted the story of his nation, (and the story of latin america as a whole perhaps) from an intriguing perspective, the story he told was a story of being. We might even go and call it an ontological history.
He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. It seems that made him so well known in western world that a few years later Sharon Stone also declared him as "The Sexiest Man Alive".
He died of cancer in 1998.
Some of his works:
Piedra de Sol, (Sun Stone)
The Labyrinth of Solitude
The Other Mexico
Children Of The Mire