Peruvian-Spanish Premio Cervantes and Nobel Prize laureate Mario Vargas Llosa will be given an honorary professorship today (Nov. 7) by University of Santo Tomas at the ballroom of the UST Beato Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P., Building.
Upon receiving the professorship from Fathers Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., and Richard Ang, O.P., rector and vice rector of UST, Vargas Llosa will deliver a lecture in Spanish (UST to provide simultaneous translation in English).
Tomorrow, Nov. 8, De La Salle University will confer on the universally acclaimed Latin American novelist an honorary doctorate in humane letters.
In this special edition of Bedside Reading, Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa tells us which of his own books are his favorites.
In the press conference last Nov. 3 at Instituto Cervantes de Manila, Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo, director of the UST Center for Creative Writing and Literary Studies, asked Vargas Llosa this question.
Vargas Llosa is the author of many books, including 1963’s “La Ciudad y los Perros” (The Time of the Hero) and 1969’s “Conversación en la Catedral” (Conversation in the Cathedral). He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010.
“Each book was a kind of adventure,” he said. “Some were more difficult to write than others.”
It was very difficult to write “Conversation in the Cathedral,” which was a book about a dictatorship in Peru. It was difficult because I wanted in this novel to describe the way in which this dictatorship had a very negative effect on activities which were very far away from politics: personal relationships, family life; the way in which the youth chose a career or profession; how the kind of political system that we had that time in Peru distorted everything, even the most private experiences. It was a very ambitious project. I worked very hard and I felt lost. In the first year I was writing this book.
Another book which was very difficult to write was “The War at the End of the World,” which is set not in Peru but in Brazil. What was more difficult was the fact that the characters of the novel speak among themselves not in Spanish but in a special kind of Portuguese of northeastern Brazil. So I had to devise a language that could suggest in Spanish that the characters were talking among themselves in this special kind of Portuguese. It was a very difficult linguistic challenge that I had.
“The Storyteller” was also very difficult because I wanted to tell part of the story through the narrative of a very primitive man, a man from a very marginal culture, lost in the Amazon region, the way in which his idea of time and space is completely different from a modern understanding of time, space, traditions, customs and beliefs. This was very difficult. I had to investigate the Machiguenga culture, reading anthropologists and sociologists who had been there.