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A literary engagement

Does literature serve any higher purpose beyond entertainment? Mario Vargas Llosa argues that, unlike television or cinema, it has a special ability and responsibility to address itself to the problems of its time

Mario Vargas Llosa speaking in 1985

My vocation as a writer grew out of the idea that literature does not exist in a closed artistic sphere but embraces a larger moral and civic universe. This is what has motivated everything I have written. It is also, alas, now turning me into a dinosaur in trousers, surrounded by computers.

Statistics tell us that never before have so many books been published and sold. The trouble is that hardly anybody I come across believes any longer that literature serves any great purpose beyond alleviating boredom on the bus or the underground, or…

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