Vargas Llosa discusses a pandemic with Perez Galdos

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there is no doubt that Mario Vargas Llosa (Arequipa, 86 years old) has taken advantage of the paused time the pandemic has given. He has happily used it to read almost the entire work of Benito Pérez Galdos (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, 1843–Madrid, 1920). The silent and contemplative relationship that the two colleagues maintain has led to an essay: still gaze (by Perez Galdos) ,alfaguara)Submitted on this Thursday athenaeum from madrid,

In a clever, unbiased, independent and passionate manner he approaches Galdos, as he has told him andres trapiello And as his editor Pilar Reyes pointed out this Thursday, it seems the Nobel Prize discusses and communicates with him. And one of the great features of the book is that the reader also participates in that open conversation.

Vargas Llosa is placed in an active but intermediate position. First, he invites us to read Galados, as he had previously done in other essays with García Márquez, Flaubert, Onetti or Borges. He doesn’t laugh for those who ruined the author national episode He was nicknamed “Don Benito El Garbansero”, a sadly common practice today. Nor does he engage with his staunch defenders like Trapiello. Stu’s idea was vale-inclined, but he himself didn’t really believe it either. There are many more compliments that he devoted to her than the attacks in life.

The author also does not believe so. Conversations in the Cathedral, which describes him as a classic but original writer. Vargas Llosa regrets that Galados did not find originality when proposing an omniscient narrator, something which, according to him, was the great discovery of modernity in the case of Gustave Flaubert. “I see in him a kind of blindness about the technique of the invisible narrator, which is found everywhere and nowhere else and which is Flaubert’s great discovery for the future.” In this aspect, Vargas Llosa, according to some experts, hardly draws any influence from the author of madam bovary in Spanish.

Mario Vargas Llosa, at the presentation of his new book in Madrid.
Mario Vargas Llosa, at the presentation of his new book in Madrid.Inma Floors (Country)

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Perhaps that is too heavy for the omniscient narrator Galados, who prefers to appear only as a witness and guide to the reader. Not interfering too much for what Vargas Llosa has emphasized most, the “enduring quest for fairness”. And there the author of the essay may find a contradiction that curiously raises the discussion about Galdos. He always recognized the tremendous revelation that Balzac or Dickens was for him. But at the same time, novels of his time and very aware of other European currents of his time, such as lucky and jacinta either Mercy The magisterial for Vargas Llos related him more to Tolstoy, for example, than to Flaubert. In them naturalism is mixed with apparent mysticism, especially in the second. ,Mercy It is one of the greatest works written in Spanish on poverty, misery, extreme misery, which he knew very well. He knew how to value that joy of living, knowing how to enjoy life, despite the terrible path. In fact, Galados is so relevant today because of his treatment of an unresolved issue: inequality, one of the critical axes of both the novel and all of his work.

lucky and jacinta It’s a different matter, in Galados’ trajectory as well. Vargas Llosa reads it for the third time for this essay and yet it has re-captured him from his first sentences to the end. The author writes, “The best novels I have read require the same absorption and dedication.” The competition when choosing the great novel of the nineteenth century in Spain continues between this fundamental universal history rooted in Madrid and regent, by Leopoldo Alas, Clarion. The debate is still open, although Vargas Llosa says that regent It is more modern.

try to be objective

His immersion in his fiction and theatre has been holistic. Further in the articles, although not all, he admits, but 46. In national episode, “What cannot be discussed about Galdos is his enduring attempt to be objective. This demonstrates the constant effort to maintain its objectivity while narrating the historical events”, he assured. It’s a dedication that shines above all episode, A huge literary project that occupied them for decades and did not end as they wanted. “He seeks to show in a modern, comfortable and friendly manner the great events of the 19th century in order to recover their historical meaning by the time he lived not as an expert, but as a novelist.”

The Hispano-Peruvian Nobel laureate highlights the authenticity with which he addresses the attack on Prime, for example, “or his treatment of guerrillas”. A similarity that later also occurs in Latin America and that Galdos traces his germs from Spain to a transatlantic idiosyncrasy. Another obvious feature of contemporaneity.

Benito Pérez Galdos on his last visit to Gran Canaria, at the family estate of Los Lirios (Monte Lentisal), in 1894.
Benito Pérez Galdos on his last visit to Gran Canaria, at the family estate of Los Lirios (Monte Lentisal), in 1894.PREZ GALDÓS HOUSE-Museum

Couldn’t Finish Galdos national episode, among other things, says Vargas Llosa, “because the theater distracted him.” He distracted her and kept her going, because more than her utterances, the money Galados made was her pieces for the stage. They are works that have survived in poor health over time, but their time caused real controversy, as was the case. electra, It featured one of its most belligerent profiles: accusations against the power of the Church, a perpetual engine in its pages and a belligerent excuse for its enemies. And it was largely the case, that electra, Which prevented him from being awarded the Nobel Prize. “Whether he deserved it or not, there are opinions for all tastes,” says Vargas Llosa. It is certain that the Swedish Academy received more than 500 letters to deliver them. “But the terrible thing was that a journalist discovered, years later, that there was more so they wouldn’t grant him.”

As the campaign in favor began, another became active against it, promoted by Carcundía and the church, along with another candidate for the Nobel: Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo. Despite ideological differences, the two were close friends. They disagreed on many points regarding politics, religion, customs, but they converted to literary views and maintained a common friendship. In fact, Galdos entered the Royal Spanish Academy (RAE) on the proposal of Menéndez Pelayo. The controversy over the Nobel did not affect their friendship. They decided that it was a war of others, which they would never enter. In the end they tied up. Neither of them got the prize: a tragic victory for polarization. In the words of Vargas Llosa, none of this affected his still gaze; On their subtlety, their prudence, their elegance. “That look still is without a doubt, when it works, one of its great qualities.” The mark of a great writer and not always well recognized in the history of universal literature.

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