Postscript: “Castle of Purity”

Kálra Móricz

in Jewish Identities

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780520250888
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933682 | DOI:
Postscript: “Castle of Purity”

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Musicology and Music History


Show Summary Details


This chapter cites an excerpt from Octavio Paz's “The Castle of Purity,” an essay on Marcel Duchamp. In ancient religions, purity and impurity were strongly associated with taboos. Western culture inherited the concept via Judaism. From the perspective of realized social utopias, purity can be seen as a tool of violence, hence the discomfort one feels in evoking the concept. Despite its central role in twentieth-century art, the significance of purity has been rarely, if ever, discussed, as if critics have wanted to “purify” history of the concept. The genocidal purification practiced during World War II and the numerous attempts at ethnic cleansings that still haunt the world have tainted the word with horrific associations.

Keywords: Marcel Duchamp; Octavio Paz; Judaism; purity; twentieth-century art; World War II; ethnic cleansing

Chapter.  7390 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.