A continuous urge in Sandra Messinger Cypess's work has been both to give Octavio Paz his place and also to put him in it. And it would be fair to say that this has been an enormous effort, mostly because it so clearly goes against the prevailing winds. In her early work, Cypess took to task Paz's powerful and pervasive reading of the figure of La Malinche, the indigenous woman who was Hernán Cortés's interpreter and concubine. La Malinche has a long and controversial place in Mexican national mythology and in the country's attendant sense of identity. Paz cast La Malinche as a rape survivor, literal and metaphorical, and created a subtext of female passivity and victimization that has pervaded the discourse of mexicanidad for the last half century or so. With her groundbreaking first book La Malinche in Mexican Literature (1991),...

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