Books That Inspire 2002

The Labyrinth of Solitude
Octavio Paz

During his lifetime (1914-1999) the Mexican poet, Octavio Paz, held what must be described as a "privileged" position as a writer and public intellectual in the Spanish-speaking world. El laberinto de la soledad (The Labyrinth of Solitude), first published in 1950, is a collection of essays about Mexican identity composed early in Paz's career. In these carefully-crafted texts we find some of Paz's most memorable passages. I was a 19 year-old student in Mexico when I read El laberinto de la soledad. After reading the text, I realized for the first time that there were Spanish-language authors who wrote about issues that mattered to me. Indeed, Paz's book changed my life; since that day in 1971, I have never stopped reading the language I learned to love that summer in Mexico over thirty years ago.
Luis Cortest
Associate Professor
Modern Languages