Creative fanaticism

Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, talking in Madrid on May 4th 2011:

“It was very touching for me to return after so many years to a place which, in many ways, symbolizes the years of my youth” .

Furthermore, when asked about religious fanaticism with regards to the death of Osama Bin Laden some days before the event, Vargas Llosa turned his reply into a celebration of what he called ‘creative fanaticism’:

“If you take the case of a writer like Flaubert, you can only talk about fanaticism to describe the manner in which he dedicated himself to his vocation, and how he decided to be a genius. It’s really a wonderful case. It helped me a lot when I began to write; the case of a writer who began as such a bad writer, but who had such an enormous will power to be a great writer that he succeeded, based on discipline, perseverance, a fanaticism which doesn’t harm anyone. He was able to overcome the enormous limitations of his youth, when he began writing.

I think behind geniuses like Flaubert you find attitudes which you can describe as being fanatical; musicians, painters, architects, all moved by the idea of achieving something which hasn’t been done before. So fanaticism has two faces. The destructive, religious, intolerant fanaticism, and this type of creative fanaticism which we have to admire.”

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