The Mexican Dream: Or, The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations

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University of Chicago Press, 1993 - History - 221 pages

Winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for Literature, J. M. G. Le Clézio here conjures the consciousness of Mexico, powerfully evoking the dreams that made and unmade an ancient culture. Le Clézio’s haunting book takes us into the dream that was the religion of the Aztecs, a religion whose own apocalyptic visions anticipated the coming of the Spanish conquerors. Here the dream of the conquistadores rises before us, too, the glimmering idea of gold drawing Europe into the Mexican dream. Against the religion and thought of the Aztecs and the Tarascans and the Europeans in Mexico, Le Clézio also shows us those of the “barbarians” of the north, the nomadic Indians beyond the pale of the Aztec frontier.

Finally, Le Clézio’s book is a dream of the present, a meditation on what in Amerindian civilizations—in their language, in their way of telling tales, of wanting to survive their own destruction—moved the poet, playwright, and actor Antonin Artaud and motivates Le Clézio in this book. His own deep identification with pre-Columbian cultures, whose faith told them the wheel of time would bring their gods and their beliefs back to them, finds fitting expression in this extraordinary book, which brings the dream around.

“We are lucky to have in Le Clézio a writer of great quality who brings his particular sensibility and talent here to remind us of the very nature of the rituals and myths of the civilizations of ancient Mexico; he provides us with descriptions as precise as they are mysterious.”—Le Figaro


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THE MEXICAN DREAM: Or, The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations

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French avant-garde novelist Le ClÇzio (The Giants, 1975, etc.) offers up a meditation and lamentation on Mesoamerican civilizations and the Spanish conquest. Le ClÇzio starts by summarizing two key ... Read full review

The Mexican dream, or, The interrupted thought of Amerindian civilizations

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This provocative meditation on Mexican history by French novelist Le Clezio uses "dreams'' (religious ideas, goals, and metaphors) to discuss Mexican civilization, especially the tragedy of its ... Read full review


The Dream of Origins
Mexican Myths
Nezahualcoyotl or the Festival of Words
The Barbarian Dream
Antonin Artaud or the Mexican Dream
The Interrupted Thought of Amerindian Civilizations

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About the author (1993)

J. M. G. Le Clezio was born in Nice in 1940. In 1963 he received the Renaudot Prize for his first novel, Le proces-verbal. He has studied the Indian civilizations of pre-Columbian Mexico since 1971 and has published translations of Mayan sacred texts and an evocation of three sacred villages in the land of the Maya, Trois villes saintes (1980). Two of his novels are soon to be available in English from David Godine.

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