Vargas Llosa, Mario

Vargas Llosa, Mario mär´yō vär´gäs yō´sä [key], 1936–, Peruvian novelist and politician, b. Arequipa. Although his works contain much external realism, emphasizing the ugly and grotesque, he also often explores the minds of his characters, overcoming barriers of time and space. In his fiction, Vargas Llosa paints a portrait of Peruvian society that is both severe and tender, and explores the meeting of Latin American culture and politics. His recurring themes include humanity's desire for freedom and the freedom that is found in art. His novels include The Time of the Hero (1962 tr. 1966), The Green House (1966 tr. 1968), Conversation in the Cathedral (1969 tr. 1975), Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977 tr. 1982), The War of the End of the World (1981 tr. 1982), Death in the Andes (1993 tr. 1996), The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto (1997, tr. 1998), The Feast of the Goat (2000, tr. 2001), and The Discreet Hero (2013, tr. 2015). He is also the author of criticism, including The Perpetual Orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovary (1975 tr. 1986) and Writer's Reality (1991) of essays, such as those in Making Waves (1996) and of a newspaper column carried by many Latin American newspapers. A political conservative, Vargas Llosa was an unsuccessful candidate for Peruvian president in 1990, when he contended that the ruling party, which imposed a state-controlled economy, represented a totalitarian threat. After winning the first round, he lost to Alberto Fujimori . Vargas-Llosa described the vagaries of his campaign in A Fish in the Water: A Memoir (1993, tr. 1994). In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

See studies by S. Castro-Klaren and R. A. Kerr (both: 1990) collection of critical essays ed. by C. Rossman and A. Friedman (1978).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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