The natural enemy of any dictatorship is literature, said Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa at De La Salle University.
In a democratic society, the fundamental training for citizens is reading “good books [that] develop in us readers a kind of malice, a kind of dissatisfaction in the world as it is,” the Peruvian-Spanish writer said.
Vargas Llosa, author of “The Time of the Hero,” “Conversation in the Cathedral” and “The War of the End of the World,” received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt and defeat.”
According to Vargas Llosa, literature imbues hope in readers to create a fair society.
“Good books develop in us a kind of natural criticism of the world as it is. Longing for the better world, better society, better institutions that would be able to create opportunities, open to all citizens, societies in which the inequality will be diminished, and which there will be opportunity for everybody to materialize its dreams,” Vargas Llosa said.
He noted that despite the difference in culture and language, all readers were challenged by the same obstacles in life. It is through literature, he said, that spiritual and civic values become more accessible to readers.
The writer received an honorary doctorate in Literature on the DLSU Taft campus. Vargas Llosa, who described his relationship with La Sallian brothers as “quite ancient,” studied in La Salle schools in Peru and Bolivia.
He learned reading, which he noted as “the most important event of my life,” through a La Sallian brother named Justiniano.
“[Reading] is still, 70 years later, an operation—a magical operation—that enriches my life each time that I discover a book that is able to change it,” he said.
La Salle president Bro. Raymunod Suplido led the conferment. Spanish Ambassador Luis Antonio Calvo, Instituto Cervantes director Carlos Madrid and Isabel Preysler also attended the event.