By Mabel Moraña
An English-language translation of the MLA Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize and LASA Premio Iberoamericano award-winning Spanish-language publication, Arguedas/ Vargas Llosa. Dilemas y ensamblajes, Mabel Moraña deals the 1st comparative examine of 2 of latest Latin America's important literary figures: Mario Vargas Llosa and Jose Maria Arguedas.
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Additional info for Arguedas / Vargas Llosa: Dilemmas and Assemblages
In this conception, the intellectual is seen as a cultural hero, a bastion of knowledge, and a defender of civic values: the belief, or rather the myth, existed that intellectuality constituted something like the moral reserve of the nation. It was thought that this small, helpless body, which heroically survived in an environment where artistic endeavor, research, and thought not only were not supported but often harassed by power, was kept uncontaminated from the decadence and corruption that had been practically undermining society as a whole: administration, justice, institutions, political parties, the armed forces, unions, and universities.
The principle invoked by Vargas Llosa according to which literature must “lie knowingly” (which is the reason why he always carefully investigates the contexts that frame his fiction) circles like a specter around the textuality and texture of the never adequately clarified events of Uchuraccay. 14 Literature and politics converge constantly in Vargas Llosa’s work, not just as cultural and ideological practices but also as spaces of performativity and personal projection that converge on the public stage, mutually feeding off one another.
From his perspective, these fields possess a symbolic potential that could have been compromised in some measure due to his estrangement from the left. His understanding of the cultural field as a field of force compels him to insist on the role of literature since its connection to dominant social projects defines its modes and degrees of symbolic dissemination and actual influence in society. In the polemic with Mario Benedetti mentioned above, Vargas Llosa reaffirms the idea of literature as an almost indiscriminate form of subversion, which is to say, as a practice of individualism that perpetuates the romantic idea of the non-conformist, rebellious intellectual against the status quo, whatever the political definition of this status quo or its efficacy for organizing civil society may be.
Arguedas / Vargas Llosa: Dilemmas and Assemblages by Mabel Moraña