With the insight and lucidity that characterize everything he writes, Nobel Prize winner Octavio Paz here assesses the thought and work of one of the most famous painters of the 20th century. "Perhaps the two painters who have had the greatest influence on our century are Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp," writes Paz, who then analyzes and contrasts the two artists. "I have linked their names," says Paz, "because it seems to me that each of them has in his own way succeeded in defining our age: the former by what he affirms; the latter by what he negotiates, by his explorations."
"Octavio Paz ... conveys his awareness of Duchamp as a great cautionary figure in our culture, warning us with jest and quiet scandals of the menacing encroachment of criticism, science and even art."—NYTBR
"Deft and dense with intelligence ... exciting to read. There are few studies so good on any artist."—New Republic
"Paz may have come closer to Duchamp's essence as a philosopher of spiritual freedom than any critic to date. An extraordinary and indispensable book."—Publishers Weekly
"When Octavio Paz finishes with Duchamp one feels that every aspect of the artist's intention has been sympathetically examined."—Times Literary Supplement