The «Complete Leftovers» by Mario Vargas Llosa


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Everything an author says can be used against him, or in his favor. Beyond books there is a world of out-of-date words –interviews, conferences, letters and other formats– that also bear his signature even though they do not have the weight (the residue) of a novel or an essay. They are texts that are on the margins of literature, but that sometimes illuminate certain facets or nuances of a work where until then darkness reigned. This was the case, for example, with the private correspondence of Flaubert, published posthumously, but indispensable today to understand the writing process of «Madame Bovary»And the days spent polishing a single paragraph.

Following this taste for “marginalia”, the Triacastela publishing house has decided to do the same with Mario Vargas Llosa, launching a new collection dedicated to the Nobel Prize winner in Arequipa, which is called «Complete Leftovers», In clear homage to Fernando Savater, which he christened a collection of his articles from 1984. This new vintage has just gone on sale with three volumes: “The reality of a writer”, “Dialogues in Peru” and “Parallel roads: Vargas Llosa y Savater” . These are texts rescued from lectures and lectures, among other sources, in which the author of “Conversation in the Cathedral” reflects on his own career.

«I am very interested in the idea of“ Complete Leftovers ”, which we could define as the marginal texts of a writer that are not included in his Complete Works: letters, notes, interviews … It is in the margins that clues are sometimes discovered essentials of what was quite hidden in the core of a work, “he explains Jose Lazaro, editor of this picturesque initiative.

This project was born in 2018, when Lázaro organized a talk at the Areces Foundation between Savater and Vargas Llosa to analyze the similarities between the ideological evolution of both. Over time, that became «Parallel tracks“, Now published: a” dialogue essay “in which he uses statements and fragments of his works to outline his intellectual cross-biographies. “Throughout the three years that I was working on that book I was finding, to my surprise, materials that were not published in Spain,” he recalls now.

It was the case of «A writer’s reality“, A series of conferences that Vargas Llosa gave in the United States, in which he analyzed his work from” The city and the dogs “to” History of Mayta “, 1984.” It is the first part of his literary memoirs: his own vision of his own work, commenting on it novel by novel. He is continually cited by scholars of Vargas Llosa in the Anglo-Saxon world, although almost no one in Spain knows him. What is curious is that it is the first book to be translated into Spanish by Vargas Llosa, because it was written in another language, “he says with a laugh.

Oral literature

Both these two titles and the third, «Dialogues in Peru», Which includes his conversations with journalists in his country of origin, they collect the oral word as part of the author’s work: they rescue the voice and immortalize it on paper. It is not something new, far from it, because as Lázaro emphasizes, history is full of great interviews that today are invaluable documents for philologists and other scholars of the written thing. There we have the «Conversations with Goethe“, from Eckermann, so necessary to understand the German genius.

«There are writers who think that they are responsible for what they have thought, written and corrected, not for what they have one day improvised with a question they did not have. There are writers who write very well and speak very badly and the opposite, but in any case we all have the experience that what a person exposes in writing after having thought and corrected it is very different from what they comment spontaneously and relaxed. Sometimes oral language complements what one writes by giving a fresher, more summarized, more synthetic version. You speak and think at different rates. I made a book collecting dialogues with Rafael Sánchez FerlosioAnd there you realize that what Ferlosio exposed in a tremendously elaborate and complex prose is said in very clear words, “says Lázaro.

The Complete Leftovers will grow over time, as there is still unpublished material by Vargas Llosa, which he does not stop producing, on the other hand. In addition, other ideas have already emerged for more conversation books and also for others that will gather the best comments that have been written on his literature, selected by him.

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