Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Dream of the Peruvian

The City Journal has a great piece out on Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian-Spanish writer, and recipient of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. The article is written by Adam Kirsch, a senior editor at The New Republic and the author of Benjamin Disraeli.

Mario Vargas Llosa must be one of the few great writers ever to have argued that society should place less trust in great writers. “The mandarin writer no longer has a place in today’s world,” he has observed. “Figures like Sartre in France or Ortega y Gasset and Unamuno in their time, or Octavio Paz, served as guides and teachers on all the important issues and filled a void that only the ‘great writer’ seemed capable of filling, whether because few others participated in public life, because democracy was nonexistent, or because literature had a mythical prestige.” But today, “in a free society, the influence that a writer exerts—sometimes profitably—over submissive societies is useless.”

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