In 1957, writing in Spanish, the Mexican poet Octavio Paz (1914–1998) published the first complete translation into a Western language of the famous travel diary Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North, 1702) by Matsuo Bashō (1644–1694). A thoroughly revised second edition followed in 1970, which included freer translations of Bashō’s haikus. In this definite edition, Paz attempted to synthesize the poetic effect of Bashō’s work for a Latin American readership. By using a textual and archival-based approach, this article analyses Paz’s two Spanish versions against the Japanese original text and its intertextualizations of classical Chinese poetry and contextualizes the background behind the publication of these epoch-making translations. It highlights the textual refractions and translation issues that occur when East Asian literature circulates in the Global South and the transpacific literary networks that made these literary exchanges possible.
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