The Spanish-Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, was “very happy” today about his admission to the French Academy, although nervous about his speech in French, in which he criticized the “pantomime” of democracy such as the “Vladimir Putin’s Russia”.
“I would like to thank the French Academy very much, first for receiving me, and then the people who have worked, including my son Álvaro”he told the press upon leaving the solemn ceremony, held at the headquarters of the Institute of France, in Paris.
“I was very worried -recognized- because of how my speech was going to sound, because I haven’t spoken French for many years, although I always read French writers, especially the classics, a lot”.
He also said that he had found the ceremony “magnificent”, and that he had especially liked the exhibition that his new armchair companions had put on to enhance his work.
“My hope is to come for 15 days so as not to neglect the Spanish Academy either, to come to the French Academy for 15 days and to the Spanish Academy for 15 days”he explained.
Vargas Llosa, 86, also thanked King Emeritus Juan Carlos I for attending the ceremony, a figure with whom, according to him, one should have “a little more understanding and gratitude”, since it “depends on him to a large extent the freedom that we enjoy today in Spain”.
In his speech under the dome of the Institut de France, in the ceremonial room of the French Academy, the author of “La fiesta del Chivo” highlighted the influence of French literature and, especially, of the figure of Flaubert, in his writing.
In his speech before the members of this institution created in 1635 by Cardinal Richelieu to ensure the French language, he stressed that “it was in France – what a paradox! – where I began to feel like a Peruvian and Latin American writer.”
Likewise, he made a plea for freedom and said that “the novel will save democracy or it will spoil with it and disappear.”
Along these lines, he criticized the “caricature that totalitarian countries They sell us like novels but that only exist after having gone through the censorship that mutilates them, in order to prop up the phantasmagorical institutions of such pantomimes of democracy as the ones that Vladimir Putin’s Russia gives us“.
The election of Vargas Llosa as a new member of the Academy took place in November 2021, and already generated criticism from groups of French intellectuals, both because the 2010 Nobel Prize winner has never written in French and because of his political positions, which some considered close to the extreme right.
His entry age also does not follow the canons of the institution, which since 2010 had established a limit of 75 years as a maximum to present himself as a candidate for one of the 40 seats.
“The Immortals” meet once a week, every Thursday, in private and at 3:00 p.m. Its mission is to contribute to the improvement of the French language and to update the dictionary.
Source: Euronews Español