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books

Hispanic Art and Identity

Octavio Paz’s essay “Art and Identity: Hispanics in the United States,” translated by Eliot Weinberger, appeared in Hispanic Art in the United States: Thirty Contemporary Painters and Sculptors (which also contained essays by John Beardsley and Jane Livingston). It was published in May 1987 by Abbeville Press, Inc., New York, at 236 pages, with 150 color and 50 black-and-white illustrations. ($45)

OUR EARLIEST EXPERIENCE, in the darkness of the beginning, is a sensation of a sudden breaking away. Expelled from an all that envelops us, we open our eyes for the first time in strange, indifferent surroundings. Birth is a falling in the metaphysical as well as in the physiological sense; for this reason, psychologists consider birth a trauma, and for Christians it is a reenactment of the original Fall. The sensation of helplessness combines with a feeling of having been uprooted from a far

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