Surprise election of Mario Vargas Llosa to the French Academy

Surprise election of Mario Vargas Llosa to the French Academy

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The French Academy elected Thursday, November 25 the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010, to chair number 18, previously occupied by Michel Serres, Alexis de Tocqueville, or Edgar Faure. An exceptional election in every sense of the word, starting with the age of the author who is beyond the official age limit for candidacies.

Mario Vargas Llosa is 85 years old, whereas you normally have to be under 75 to run. In addition, his candidacy was not official on the site of the French Academy. That said, he obtained in the first round 18 votes against only one for the other contender, that is to say the majority since to date only 35 seats are occupied out of the 40 that make up the French Academy. An exception undoubtedly also linked to the prestige of the writer born in Peru, now living in Spain and above all Nobel Prize for literature. The cupola had not welcomed a laureate since François Mauriac, elected in 1933 and consecrated by the Nobel in 1952, almost 70 years ago.

Perfectly Francophile, Mario Varga Llosa has never written in French

Another exception, if there have already been academics whose mother tongue was not French, but who wrote it, on the other hand this is not the case of Mario Varga Llosa who only writes in Spanish. . Unlike Amin Maalouf, Lebanese writer, François Cheng, Chinese, or Michael Edwards, British, who sit at the Academy and publish directly in French, Mario Vargas Llosa has not taken the plunge. He is however perfectly Francophile since he lived in France for a long time. Recall that after a childhood in Peru where he was born in 1936, he left his native country around the age of 20, first to pursue studies in Spain, then he moved to Paris in 1959 where he worked as a Spanish teacher, journalist for Agence France-Presse and television. He not only speaks our language perfectly, but he has a very intimate connection with France and French literature. As such, he is one of the rare living authors and above all the only foreigner to date to have entered the prestigious collection of the Pléiade which devotes the classics. An honor that touched him a lot.

A major work

The passion and vocation to write make Mario Vargas Llosa the author of a major work, consisting of more than 20 novels including The city and the dogs, Aunt Julia and the scribbler as well as The goat party to quote his greatest hits, but also short stories, plays, an autobiography … There are also many essays, because Mario Vargas Llosa is an intellectual in the true sense of the term with a vision of the world as literary as political , where he committed a time. In short, it has a scale which undoubtedly fully legitimizes its entry into the French Academy.

Read also : Ghost Africa by Mario Vargas Llosa

► To read also: Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa in Literature Without Borders