Mario Vargas Llosa

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Mario Vargas Llosa in 2010

Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa, 1st Marquis of Vargas Llosa (born March 28, 1936 in Arequipa, Peru) is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, college professor, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading writers of his generation.


  • Ahora tenemos un peronismo que es todo: es la extrema derecha, es el centro, es el centro izquierda, es la extrema izquierda, es la democracia y es el terrorismo, es la demagogia y es la insensatez... Todo es el peronismo...
  • Political correctness is the enemy of freedom because it rejects honesty and authenticity. We have to tackle it as the distortion of the truth.

The Time of the Hero (1963)[edit]

  • It is easy to know what you want to say, but not to say it.
  • Lima frightened him, it was too big, you could lose yourself in it and never find your way home; the people on the street were total strangers.
  • He is always furious, on account of what he finds out or what he doesn't find out.
  • Every thing is done halfway in Peru, and that is why everything goes wrong.
  • When you start having bad luck, there isn't an end to it.
  • We all believe in the regulations, but you have to know how to interpret them.
  • You can't make facts fit the rules, it is the other way round. The rules have to be adopted to fit the facts.
  • A clean conscience might help you to get into heaven. but it won't help your career.

The War at the End of the World (1981)[edit]

  • ¿Tienen algo que ver con los intereses de los humildes las querellas retóricas de los partidos burgueses?
    • Do the rhetorical quarrels of bourgeois political parties have anything to do with the interests of the humble and downtrodden?

Nobel Lecture (2010)[edit]

December 7, 2010. Translation by Edith Grossman

  • Reading changed dreams into life and life into dreams.
  • Writing stories was not easy. When they were turned into words, projects withered on the paper and ideas and images failed. How to reanimate them? Fortunately, the masters were there, teachers to learn from and examples to follow. Flaubert taught me that talent is unyielding discipline and long patience. Faulkner, that form – writing and structure – elevates or impoverishes subjects. Martorell, Cervantes, Dickens, Balzac, Tolstoy, Conrad, Thomas Mann, that scope and ambition are as important in a novel as stylistic dexterity and narrative strategy. Sartre, that words are acts, that a novel, a play, or an essay, engaged with the present moment and better options, can change the course of history. Camus and Orwell, that a literature stripped of morality is inhuman, and Malraux that heroism and the epic are as possible in the present as is the time of the Argonauts, the Odyssey, and the Iliad.
  • Like writing, reading is a protest against the insufficiencies of life. When we look in fiction for what is missing in life, we are saying, with no need to say it or even to know it, that life as it is does not satisfy our thirst for the absolute – the foundation of the human condition – and should be better. We invent fictions in order to live somehow the many lives we would like to lead when we barely have one at our disposal.
  • Good literature erects bridges between different peoples, and by having us enjoy, suffer, or feel surprise, unites us beneath the languages, beliefs, habits, customs, and prejudices that separate us.
  • Literature creates a fraternity within human diversity and eclipses the frontiers erected among men and women by ignorance, ideologies, religions, languages, and stupidity.

Quotes about Mario Vargas Llosa[edit]

  • I belong to the first generation of Latin American writers brought up reading other Latin American writers. Before my time the work of Latin American writers was not well distributed, even on our continent. In Chile it was very hard to read other writers from Latin America. My greatest influences have been all the great writers of the Latin American Boom in literature: García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, Cortázar, Borges, Paz, Rulfo, Amado, etc.

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