Mario Vargas Llosa: The Corruption and Death of Culture and the Intellectual

Southern Nights

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Fine taste among the generality of men of letters can exist only while it is still uncorrupted.
 …….– Giacomo Leopardi,  Zibaldone

In a dismal and otherwise dismissive tone that monarch of literary taste, T.S. Eliot once suggested that in a “formless age there is very little hope for the minor [author]* to do anything worth doing”.1 As if literature had been all used up, the formulations and forms of all past literary endeavors brought to such a final perfection that there was no need to continue, literature was now exhausted; completed, finis. He would also speak of the need of great criticism, of the development of sensibility and a true sense of literary taste or critical awareness, of the need for an aristocracy of letters that would give birth of a “higher culture” from which a new future would arise guided by a resolute and innovative absorption of the past…

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