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In praise of reading and fiction
December 7, 2010 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Fiction is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist, renewing and preserving in us the best of what is human. [PDF]

Mario Vargas Llosa, 2010 Nobel Prize laureate, delivers a moving lecture on his journey through literature, journalism, theater and politics.
posted by Omon Ra (9 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 


I'm still reading the pdf, but thought I'd stop to say thanks. It's inspirational and fascinating, I'm glad you posted this.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:55 AM on December 7, 2010


Hand-winding electric guitar pickups is more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist...

I see now that this construct lies at the core of my being.
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:06 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks Stagger Lee. Watching it live was really powerful, and I was a little sad that the english speaking media (The NYT, the Guardian) didn't pick it up (unlike say El País). I thought literate Mefites would enjoy it :-)
posted by Omon Ra at 12:09 PM on December 7, 2010


Metafilter: more than an entertainment, more than an intellectual exercise that sharpens one’s sensibility and awakens a critical spirit. It is an absolute necessity so that civilization continues to exist...
posted by bitslayer at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2010


"My salvation was reading, reading good books, taking refuge in those worlds where life
was glorious, intense, one adventure after another, where I could feel free and be happy again. And it was writing, in secret, like someone giving himself up to an unspeakable vice, a forbidden passion. Literature stopped being a game. It became a way of resisting adversity, protesting, rebelling, escaping the intolerable, my reason for living. From then until now, in every circumstance when I have felt disheartened or beaten down, on the edge of despair, giving myself body and soul to my work as a storyteller has been the light at the end of the tunnel, the plank that carries the shipwrecked man to shore."

This. This 1 million times.
posted by Chipmazing at 12:37 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I never would have reached this podium or become a known writer and perhaps, like so many unfortunate colleagues, I would wander in the limbo of writers without luck, publishers, prizes, or readers, whose talent – sad comfort – posterity may one day discover.

This comment is telling. We see so many programs designed to turn people onto writing, or onto reading. National Novel Writing Month measures its success in words typed and participants completing the program. But where is the publishing?

There is no lack of brilliant writers in Canada, or no doubt in the United States, but there is certainly a lack of support by the government and by publishers. I find this deeply depressing for reasons that the quote above should make clear.
posted by Stagger Lee at 1:20 PM on December 7, 2010


He had a wonderful editor Stager Lee, Carlos Barral, who basically invented the Latin American Boom of the 60 by discovering and publishing people like Vargas Llosa, Leñero, Puig, Cabrera Infante, Fuentes and Cortazar. And bear in mind that this was done under the repressive Franco regime in Spain.
posted by Omon Ra at 7:30 PM on December 7, 2010


[Haven't read the lecture]

Every field's proponents, whether it be math, science, history, literature, or athletics, says that whatever they do is the nature of being human.
posted by mnemonic at 11:21 PM on December 7, 2010


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