Item description for Paradiso by Jose Lezama Lima...
First published in Cuba in 1966, Paradiso was hailed as a masterpiece of contemporary literature. It has gained the international reputation of a modern classic and was received with unqualified enthusiasm when it was published in France and Italy. Jose Cemi, the hero of Paradiso, begins life at the turn of the century in Cuba. As an adolescent, Cemi discovers his soulmates, the intellectuals Fronesis and Focion, and it is the triangle of their relationship which provides the impetus for much of the novel. Each of Cemi's experiences in his search for his dead father and for the understanding of love and the powers of the mind has a tropical intensity that gives it long life in the reader's memory.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 1.25" Width: 4.5" Height: 7.25" Weight: 1 lbs.
Release Date Jan 1, 2006
ISBN 8437602203 ISBN13 9788437602202
Availability 2 units. Availability accurate as of Feb 25, 2017 11:11.
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More About Jose Lezama Lima
Ernesto Livon-Grosman is Assistant Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures at Boston College. He is the translator of "Charles Olson: Poemas "(1997) and the editor of "The XUL Reader: An Anthology of Argentine Poetry "(1997). His most recent book is "Geografias imaginarias: El relato de viaje y la construccion del paisaje patagonico "(2003).
Paradiso by Jósé lezama Lima is undoubtedly the most important literary work produced in Cuba in the 20th century.A poem.A tropical Remembrances of Things Past of Marcel Proust.Difficult to believe that such a work of art was produced in Havana in the 1960`s.
Greatness! May 17, 2007
Lezama is not for everyone... to feel Paradiso there is a need to understand all his previous work: essays, poetry, short stories, critical and cultural studies. For those who have seriously study World Literature, there is no doubt that Lezama is one of the most important, sensible and imaginative writers of the XX century. You might not like him (and that is ok!) but to doubt his artistic greatness is nonsense. Once you enter the poetic system of Lezama the rewards are endless!
Overrated Mar 9, 2005
Some novelists are known for a pared down, no-nonsense approach to narrative, firmly delineated, plainspoken characters, crackling, lively dialogue, and swiftly moving, engrossing plots. Lezama-Lima is not one of those authors. It's hard to recommend a book that I have so many reservations about. Yes, the writing is occasionally beautiful, and as an historical document of a certain type of artistic and literary milieu in Pre-Castro Cuba, it's worth something. But I'm afraid that I'm going to have disagree with all of the reviewers here and say that LL's endless aestheticism must be something of an acquired taste. The problem is that he writes prose too much like a poet--all florid circumlocutions with no feel for the rhythms of everyday life and speech. No doubt he would have felt the everyday to be beneath his austere heights. Nobody talks the way his characters do--it's all lengthy, abstruse theorizing on frequently esoteric subjects. His essentially elitist approach to writing fiction would test the patience of anyone who looks to literature for a more immediate kind of connection. And, sorry, Mr. White, LL is not the Latin American Proust--Proust is far more readable and speaks to more basic human experiences.
Sometimes some of the worst snobs are those (i.e., homosexuals) who have themselves suffered the most heinous abuse because of their dubious social stature--rather than reject the values of the mainstream, a writer like LL ends up embodying them and perpetuating them to an infuriating degree through his snobbish affectations. Or else one could view his aesthetic vision as essentially escapist, understandable given the political situation in Cuba at the time. Still, a more accurate view of what was actually happening might have been of more human interest--it would have been valuable to see how these characters strained to maintain their sensibility in view of what was actually occurring around them. But, as it is, the book seems to exist in a vacuum with no real connection to the political situation in Cuba--its Eurocentric preoccupations offend.
A Universe in a book Dec 10, 2004
This and a handful of other literary creations rank among the best of the 20th century. It is a dense, jungle of images, language, against an elegant background. I can not think of another work to compare Paradiso to, as it stands alone. Once upon a time, I attempted to read it in Spanish, but was overcome by a tidal wave of intricate vocabulary.
It is unfortunate Lezama Lima has been largely forgotton in the US except for a few ardent readers. It is impossible to find any of his poems in translation. Maybe they are not so readily translatable. In any event, the translation of Paradiso is in itself an amazing achievement, as Paradiso explodes in volcanic beauty.
More than nature Jun 21, 2003
Jose Lezama Lima achieved one of the most complex and mesmerizing novels of the XXth century in Latin America. Paradiso is a Bildungsroman (a novel about an individual's growing process) as it is a Kunstroman (novel about the artist). The reader will find many references to Lezama's life, but his work goes beyond a self portrait. Jose Cemi is a little cuban boy who grows up having breathing problems, and grasping the lifes of those who were before him. His individuality mixes with the other's and the result is a complex narrator, an overwhelming amount of literary, cultural and mythological references, a refined use of the metaphor and a hightened sense of reality. Cemi's world is more than nature... it is supernatural. Cemi attends to the world of death, as he remembers the lifes of his ancestors, as they are told to him by his mother Rialta, and grandmother Augusta. The first half of Paradiso is all about the family... then uncle Alberto's death marks a point of change in the novel. From that moment on, it focuses in Cemi's friendship with two other students: Fronesis and Focion. The three of them constitute a triangle in which homosexuality, love, erotism, unity, mythology and androginy are the main topics. As well as incest. When this simbolic triangle breaks, Cemi is ready for the epiphany: he meets Oppiano Licario: a friend of his father who promised him, as he was dying, to look after his son (Cemi). Licario also witnessed Alberto's sexual iniciation. He is a poet, and he is the one who can bring Jose Cemi out of the time of desperation into a rythm of reflection and artistic contemplation. There is so much more to this novel... You can only know what it is all about by reading it. I can here only give you a few pieces. As Lezama believed: only what is hard is really rewarding, and this is particularly true for young people.