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Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014
 

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Quotes on Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa

Here are quotes on Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa from his Princeton colleagues and students:

Chang-rae Lee
Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts

"Mario Vargas Llosa has long been a giant of world literature, and we in the Princeton writing community are ecstatic that he's been recognized as such by the Nobel committee. For over 50 years his work has illuminated our tumultuous modernity with genius storytelling that has been amazingly varied and rich in theme and form, weaving such elements as myth, erudition, romantic desire, and his intimate knowledge of political and cultural forces to startling effect. As with the very finest work, his writing reveals and raises us."

Edmund White
Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts

"This past summer I read 'The Feast of the Goat' by Vargas Llosa about Trujillo and his rule of the Dominican Republic. I felt that I had never been on such intimate terms with power. The will, the self-discipline, the paranoia, the deliberate cruelty, the vanity, the concealed fearfulness -- all of these aspects of an autocrat were portrayed in unforgettable and convincing detail. Vargas Llosa, unlike most writers who live quiet campus lives, has been at the very center of politics and understands it better than any other living novelist."

Jeremy Adelman
Walter Samuel Carpenter III Professor in Spanish Civilization and Culture and Director of the Council for International Teaching and Research

"He's able to capture the experience of living in a world and place and culture, the violence and possibilities of life in different parts of Latin America. … He crosses between nonfiction and literature into the world of politics and power. He [has] used both in original ways to change the writing of fiction and how we think about the place of writers in politics. He is a man of great stature in public affairs.

"The Nobel committee was recognizing his work in fiction. They were not making a statement about his voice in public affairs. But what's important to note is that in his fiction, from his very first novels, he draws inspiration and sustenance from an almost anthropological observation about the world around him. …

"Many of his political crusades have been on individual rights and freedoms. He has always defended the space and autonomy of culture. Writers need to have autonomy from political structures. It's not always a popular stance but he was always a defender of it. He's a classical liberal with a fabulous imagination."

Arcadio Díaz-Quiñones
Emory L. Ford Professor of Spanish Emeritus
"He's a very important novelist and a precocious one."

"He is also an important essayist. He has written significant and sometimes very polemical essays on Latin American novels and novelists."

"He is an incredibly generous person. Even though he has very strong political views, which I don't always share, he is an important writer and he is always very open to discussion and debate. That is important in his winning the Nobel Prize -- he is a writer who is out there in the public space and open to debate with those who do not share his views."

Díaz-Quiñones noted that Latin American writers have not been well represented among Nobel Prize winners. "Borges was never awarded the Nobel Prize. I have come to expect that some of our major authors -- and Vargas Llosa is one among others -- have been forgotten. … I was pleasantly surprised" about Vargas Llosa winning the Nobel.

"This is a recognition not just for him, but a recognition of Latin American literature. He is a representative writer in so many ways of Latin American literature. This prize is a recognition of the richness and wealth and variety of Latin American literature."

Bruno Carvalho
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Languages
and Cultures
"This is being perceived as a continental Nobel. … It is very meaningful for those of us who work in Latin American literature. It's not often that a literary figure occupies the prime real estate in the mainstream press, so it's very welcome to see this make waves in the press not just of Peru but of the entire continent and beyond."

Gabriela Nouzeilles
Professor and Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

"The prize acknowledges Vargas Llosa's remarkable narrative talents and his masterful use of language. His literary fictions explore humanity in its multiple and contradictory dimensions, from the horrors of history and the violent legacy of colonialism and political madness, to the sweeping forces of erotic desire and the miracle of laughter. He is a masterful storyteller, able to bewitch the reader with the power of his poetic prose and the fascinating complexity of his fictional worlds. The prize also acknowledges the excellence and contributions of modern Latin American literature to world literature."

Maria Julia Gutierrez
A junior in Vargas Llosa's techniques of the novel class

"It's something that will mark my Princeton experience and is something that I will never forget. The class has been amazing. He's been a great professor. He's very friendly and personable. Not only are we able to hear this famous author but interact with him on a personal level."

Claudia Solis-Roman
A senior in Vargas Llosa's techniques of the novel class

"Being in his class has been such a special opportunity. To link his presence to the voice I had heard before in his books, to be able to talk to him about where his inspiration and creativity come from -- that is a really special thing. It's helped me understand my own writing and why I write."

Rafael "Rafi" Romero
A junior in Vargas Llosa's class on Jorge Luis Borges

"He's one of the top writers of 20th-century Latin American literature, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and something I had to do. … It's interesting because we're getting the course from the perspective of a writer who has had close contact with the author we're studying. He's brought up personal interviews with Borges, experiences growing up in Peru with the author's fame across Latin America and his influence across culture."

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