Emilia Pardo Bazán
|Emilia Pardo Bazán|
September 16, 1851|
A Coruña, Spain
|Died||May 12, 1921
|Occupation||Novelist, short story writer, journalist, critic|
Pardo Bazán was born in A Coruña, a city in the region of Galicia, Spain, and the culture of that area was incorporated into some of her most popular novels, including Los pazos de Ulloa ("The Manors of Ulloa") and its sequel, La madre naturaleza ("Mother Nature"). She was also known for bringing naturalism to Spanish literature, for her detailed descriptions of reality, and for her role in feminist literature of her era. Further, she was acknowledged for her creative stories such as Temprano y con Sol, which explicitly describes an ironic misfortune.
She married at eighteen to D. José Quiroga, a Galician country gentleman, and interested herself in politics, and is believed to have taken an active part in the underground campaign against Amadeo of Spain and, later, against the republic. In 1876 she came into notice as the successful competitor for a literary prize offered by the municipality of Oviedo, the subject of her essay being the Benedictine monk Benito Jerónimo Feijoo. This was followed by a series of articles inserted in La Ciencia cristiana, a magazine of the purest orthodoxy, edited by Juan M. Orti y Lara.
Her first novel, Pascual Lopez (1879), is a simple exercise in fantasy of no remarkable promise, though it contains good descriptive passages of romance. It was followed by a more striking story, Un viaje de novios (1881), in which a discreet attempt was made to introduce into Spain the methods of French realism. The book caused a sensation among the literary cliques, and this sensation was increased by the appearance of another naturalistic tale, La tribuna (1885), wherein the influence of Emile Zola is unmistakable. Meanwhile, the writer's reply to her critics was issued under the title of La cuestion palpitante (1883), a clever piece of rhetoric, but of no special value as regards criticism or dialectics.
The naturalistic scenes of El Cisne de Villamorta (1885) are more numerous, more pronounced, than in any of its predecessors, though the author shrinks from the logical application of her theories by supplying a romantic and inappropriate ending. Probably the best of Emilia Pardo Bazán's work is embodied in Los pazos de Ulloa (1886), the painfully exact history of a decadent aristocratic family, as notable for its portraits of types like Nucha and Julián as for its creation of characters like those of the political bravos, Barbacana and Trampeta. Yet perhaps its most abiding merit lies in its pictures of country life, its poetic realization of Galician scenery set down in an elaborate, highly-colored style, which, if not always academically correct, is invariably effective. A sequel, with the significant title of La madre naturaleza (1887), marks a further advance in the path of naturalism, and henceforth Pardo Bazán was universally recognized as one of the chiefs of the new naturalistic movement in Spain. The title was confirmed by the publication of Insolación and Morriña in 1889. In this year her reputation as a novelist reached its highest point. Her later stories, La cristiana (1890), Cuentos de amor (1894), Arco Iris (1895), Misterio (1903) and La quimera (1905), though not wanting in charm, awakened less interest. In 1905 she published a play entitled Verdad, known for its boldness rather than for its dramatic qualities.
She inherited the title of Countess on her father's death in 1908 and in 1910 was appointed a member of the Council of Public Instruction. Her last novel Dulce Dueño was published in 1911. In 1921 she was appointed to the Senate but never took formally her seat.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. The article can be found here.
- Pardo Bazán, Emilia. Obras Completas :(cuentos). XI, Cuentos Dispersos, I (1865-1910). Edited by José Manuel González Herrán. Madrid: Fundación José Antonio de Castro, 2011.
- Virgillo, Carmelo, et al. Aproximaciones al estudio de la literatura hispánica. New York: McGraw Hill, 2004.
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