Mario Vargas Llosa

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Mario Vargas Llosa

The Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa (born March 28, 1936) is one of Latin America's leading novelists and essayists.

Born in Arequipa to a middle class family, Vargas Llosa attended private and military schools before entering Lima's San Marcos National University in 1953 to study literature. He then did post-graduate studies at the Complutense University of Madrid, from where he received a Ph.D. in 1959. Vargas Llosa first came to attention as a writer with La Ciudad y los Perros (1962, translated into English as The Time of The Hero, 1963), based on his teenage experiences at a military school, Colegio Militar Leoncio Prado.

The work met with wide acclaim, and its author hailed as one of the main exponents of the Latin American literature boom, alongside Argentina's Julio Cortzar, Mexico's Carlos Fuentes, and Colombia's Gabriel Garca Mrquez. The novel shows influence of the existentialist works of Jean-Paul Sartre and quotes a dialogue from one of his novels at the beginning of each of its two parts. It also showed as a stepping for what would become Vargas Llosa's trademark technique, the use of alternating dialogue to portray realities that are separated by space and time and the use of verb tense to move his narrative back and forth in time; as well as establishing what would become the main theme of his narrative: the fight of the individual in search of freedom in an oppressive reality.

He followed The Time of the Hero by writing La Casa Verde (The Green House, 1966), a novel that shows the considerable influence that the reading of William Faulkner had on the budding writter. The novel deals with a brothel called The Green House, and how its quasi-mythical presence affects the lives of the characters. The main plot follows Bonifacia, a girl who is about to receives the vows of the church, and the transformation that will lead her to become La Selvatica, the best known prostitute of The Green House. The novel confirmed Vargas Llosa in his position as an important voice of Latin American narrative and went on to win the first edition of the Rmulo Gallegos International Novel Prize in 1967, out-voting works by the veteran Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti and Garcia Marquez.

Vargas Llosa's third novel completes what many critics consider to be his most valuable narrative cycle. Having been published in a four-volume edition, Conversacin en la Catedral (Conversation in the Cathedral), 1969) was Vargas Llosa first attempt at what he calls a "total novel", that is the attempt to fictionalize all the leves of a certain society and its reflection on the different levels of perceptual reality. The novel is a deconstruction of Peru under the dictatorship of Odra in the 1950s and deals with the lives of characters from the different social strata of the country. The ambitious narrative is built around two axes, the stories of Santiago Zavala and Ambrosio respectively; one the son of a minister, the other his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads to a rivetting conversation between the two in which Zavala will find the truth about his father's role in the murder of a notorious figure of the Peruvian underworld, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way.

Vargas Llosa followed this serious novel with the shorter and much more comic Pantalen y las visitadoras (Captain Pantoja and the Secret Service, 1972), which, through a series of vignettes of dialogues and documents, follows the establishment of a visiting service of prostitutes by the Peruvian armed forces.

During the 1980s, Vargas Llosa became politically active, and became known for his staunch market liberal views and his admiration for Margaret Thatcher. He ran for the presidency of Peru in 1990 and lost to Alberto Fujimori. During the campaign, his opponents read racey passages of his works over the radio to shock voters.

After living more than thirty years in Europe and acquiring Spanish nationality in 1993, Vargas Llosa returned to live in Lima. He continues to write historical novels such as The Feast of the Goat (2000, English trans. 2001), an account of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. His most recent work El paraso en la otra esquina (The Way to Paradise) is a historical novel about Paul Gauguin and Flora Tristan.

His work often critiqued the hierarchy of social class and race present in contemporary Peru and Latin America. Many of his works were also autobiographical in nature, as La casa verde (The Green House) (1966) and Ta Julia y el Escribidor (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter) (1977). His sweeping 1981 historical novel The War of the End of The World was set in 19th-century Sertao, Brazil, and is based on actual events in Brazilian history, the rebellion of Sebastianist millenarist followers of Antonio Conselheiro in Canudos.

Vargas Llosa has been a member of the Real Academia Espaola since 1996.



Non Fiction

da:Mario Vargas Llosa de:Mario Vargas Llosa es:Mario Vargas Llosa fr:Mario Vargas Llosa he:מריו ורגאס יוסה nl:Mario Vargas Llosa pl:Mario Vargas Llosa ru:Льоса, Марио Варгас


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