Skip to Content

Mario Vargas Llosa, writing in New Republic:

12 May 2001

Mario Vargas Llosa, writing in New Republic:

' - I am convinced that a society without literature, or a society in which literature has been relegated--like some hidden vice--to the margins of social and personal life, and transformed into something like a sectarian cult, is a society condemned to become spiritually barbaric, and even to jeopardize its freedom. I wish to offer a few arguments against the idea of literature as a luxury pastime, and in favor of viewing it as one of the most primary and necessary undertakings of the mind, an irreplaceable activity for the formation of citizens in a modern and democratic society, a society of free individuals.'

' - literature has been, and will continue to be, as long as it exists, one of the common denominators of human experience through which human beings may recognize themselves and converse with each other, no matter how different their professions, their life plans, their geographical and cultural locations, their personal circumstances...'

' Literature transports us into the past and links us to those who in bygone eras plotted, enjoyed, and dreamed through those texts that have come down to us, texts that now allow us also to enjoy and to dream. This feeling of membership in the collective human experience across time and space is the highest achievement of culture, and nothing contributes more to its renewal in every generation than literature.'