The writer and Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa participated in the literary meeting “Paris, Flaubert and the Writer” organized by the Institut français de Madrid

He continued: “Your presence honors us. [ ] You have been the first recipient of the Nobel Prize at the Académie Française since François Mauriac, and the first foreign writer to be published while alive at the prestigious Pléiade library. He has received the greatest prizes of international Hispanic literature, the Nobel Prize of course, the Princess of Asturias Prize, the Cervantes Prize, the André Malraux Prize, to name a few, without forgetting his membership in the RAE. He has become, with his own originality, one of the novelists of the Latin American boom that has allowed this continent to be given its deserved recognition. He is a plural author, as defined by the Académie Française.” “He owes a lot to other great writers, from Cervantes to Camus, who have made him discover the rules and arts of the trade, but also the human soul, its greatness and its abysses. Two writers seem to constitute fundamental literary models: Faulkner, for his multi-perspective approach and his polyphony, and of course Flaubert who brings us together today for his conception of realism and the structuring of the narrative. the term.

Marie-Madeleine Rigopoulos was in charge of leading the conversation with Mario Vargas Llosa. She asked him what unites France and literature and that universal territory. “Nobody better than you has deserved the title of citizen of the world. You are a French writer by alliance. I would like to go back in time, before he came to settle in Paris at the age of 22. When did you realize the power of literature, the power of reading? At a very young age, you had this inner crush, this infatuation with the power of literature: When did you realize that literature was going to change the course of your life?

Mario Vargas Llosa He explained that “He was Peruvian. Back then, Peru was a small country, there were no publishing houses. There were bookstores, but few, and on the other hand, we wondered why become a writer in a country like Peru? It was difficult. I was very excited about my literary vocation, but the country did not encourage those ideas. So, they had many doubts, but what they knew is that it was going to be different in Paris. I had a scholarship to do a doctorate in Madrid, but at the end of the year, I went directly to Paris. The same day I arrived, in the Latin Quarter, I found a bookstore open until midnight called the joy of lire (the joy of reading) and bought a copy of Madame Bovary. I read it and was completely blown away. I discovered, through Flaubert, the great literature, the literary revolution, and I spent the night reading this exceptional book that, for me, had an extraordinary effect. He convinced me that literature was the ideal job for a young man like me at the time and that life could be changed through literature. Flaubert’s discovery was extraordinary. He convinced me that literature was a responsible trade, what I later discovered is that Flaubert did not have many facilities with his family; his father did not believe that he could dedicate himself totally to literature. He didn’t like that idea”.

“Literature is an act of rebellion” said Marie-Madeleine. “Her parents didn’t like the idea of ​​her taking an interest in poetry either. They saw it as an activity that was not healthy. But it was when you were at the military academy that you developed writing, a taste for transgression.”

“Flaubert made up that he had an illness to put his father in an extreme situation and make him have no other option but to help him,” continued Mario Vargas Llosa. “There is an open debate between doctors and literary critics about Flaubert’s disease. I think he made it up. It is a mysterious disease, he was in the field, alone, and suddenly he fainted. And he saw like mountains of fire, and he woke up suddenly and the mountains of fire were still there. He was very afraid and went to his father. His father, who was a doctor, thought he was crazy, and decided that a liberal profession was not for his son. He left his son in his country house and for 5 years, Flaubert worked 12 hour days writing Madame Bovary. It is the book that changed literature, not only in France but also in Europe and throughout the world. And that is not only because of the very polished, very exact writing, which was not found in the literature of the time, but also because he invented a narrator. I think it is Flaubert’s great invention. He discovered that the narrator could be invisible, disappear, and be like a vision with eyes looking at a scene and exerting no coercion on the character. He just looked at the character in a free way. The narrator, under these conditions, is the first time that he appears in literature.”

“I was very confused about my vocation,” he stressed. “Being Peruvian, I knew that my books could not reach the same audience as a French or English writer, but reading Madame BovaryI became convinced that literature was the best vocation in the world and that society could be changed by writing novels”.

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The writer and Nobel Prize for Literature Mario Vargas Llosa participated in the literary meeting “Paris, Flaubert and the Writer” organized by the Institut français de Madrid