Monday, November 19, 2012

Mario Vargas Llosa discusses culture with Gilles Lipovetsky

" I believe Proust is important for everyone; although some might not know how to read, what Proust said is of benefit to them, too, despite their not being in a position to read him. He created a type of sensibility vis-à-vis certain things that made individuals capable of being affected by it more sensitive to the situation of more impoverished people. And he made them aware that there were certain human rights. This type of sensibility is the result of culture. When culture isn't behind this sensibility, it is extraordinarily debilitated. This explains why, despite Europe having lived through the atrocious experience of the Holocaust, not only has antisemitism not disappeared but it is periodically reborn. It explains why xenophobia, which is a universal failing, breaks out again, not in primitive, uncultured societies but in extremely cultured societies and in precisely those parts of them that Proust, Eliot or Joyce's Ulysses never reach."

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