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This review is taken from PN Review 59, Volume 14 Number 3, January - February 1988.

Octavio Paz INAUGURAL LECTURE The International Congress of Intellectuals and Artists Valencia, June 1987

Fifty years ago, on 4 July 1937, in this city of Valencia - for which Apollinaire's line lovely fruit of the light seems to have been conceived - the Second International Congress of Anti-Fascist Writers got under way. The civil war which ravaged the fields and cities of Spain had become a world war of consciences. At the Congress which we remember today, writers drawn from the four corners of the world participated. Many were notable, a few truly great; two were my masters in the art of poetry, others were friends, and all, in those heady days, were my comrades. With them I shared hopes and beliefs, illusions and fancies. We were united by a sense of outraged justice and by a commitment to the oppressed. A brotherhood of indignation, but also of men infatuated with violence. Most are now dead. To pass over their names is not to forget them but to gather them up: a moment of intimate reflection during which, without words, we communicate with those who have vanished and commune with their memory.

Most of the survivors, scattered far and wide, sometimes divided by hostile ideas, have heard the call of the group of Spanish writers which has organized this Congress. We have not been asked to a celebration; this occasion would lose its more vital and deeper meaning if we did not make it also an act of reflection and an examination of conscience. The anniversary which summons us is at ...

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