S P A N I S H
S H O R T S T O R I E S
EDITED WITH INTRODUCTION, NOTES, AND
ELIJAH CLARENCE HILLS, PH.D. LITT.D.
PROFESSOR OF ROMANCE LANGUAGES IN COLORADO COLLEGE
LOUISE REINHARDT, A.M.
INSTRUCTOR OF MODERN LANGUAGES IN THE COLORADO SPRINGS HIGH SCHOOL
D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS
BOSTON NEW YORK CHICAGO
BY D. C. HEATH & CO.
These Spanish Short Stories are, for the most part, realistic picturesof the manners and customs of modern Spain, written by masters ofSpanish prose. All were written in the second half of the nineteenthcentury or in the first decade of the twentieth,—
except the story byLarra, which was written about seventy-five years ago. And all describerecent conditions,—except the tale, partly historical and partlylegendary, by Bécquer, which goes back to the invasion of Spain by theFrench under Napoleon in
the early years of the nineteenth century; thestory by Larra, which, however, is nearly as true of Castile to-day asit was when written; and Trueba's story, which is partly legendary,partly symbolic, and partly realistic. The stories by Bécquer and PérezGaldós contain incidents that are supernatural, and those by FernánCaballero and Alarcón have romantic settings that are highly improbable;but all the stories are, in the main, true to the every-day life ofcontemporary Spain.
The Spanish stories in this collection have been arranged, so far aspossible, in the order of difficulty; but some instructors willdoubtless prefer to read them in chronological order, or, better still,in an order determined by the "school", or literary affiliations, ofeach author. This latter arrangement is difficult to make, and it mustbe, at the best, somewhat arbitrary. But to those who wish to study inthese stories the growth of contemporary Spanish fiction, it issuggested that the authors be taken up in the order in which they aregiven in the Introduction.
To the stories by Spanish authors have been added two bySpanish-American
writers,—the one a native of Costa Rica, the other ofChile. These stories are excellent and well worth reading. For a fullerstatement regarding them, see the last pages of the Introduction.
The texts have been taken from standard editions (see the first note toeach story).
The integrity of the texts has been scrupulously preserved,with only the two following changes: (1) the orthography has been madeto conform to that of the latest editions of the Dictionary and the Grammar of the Royal Spanish Academy; and (2) a few omissions from thetexts have been made, all of which are marked by five suspensive
The Vocabulary contains the more irregular verb-forms, and it has alsodescriptions
of the important places and biographies of the noted menand women that are mentioned in the texts.
The editors offer these Spanish Short Stories as suitable material tobe read immediately after a beginners' book.
E. C. H.
EL CRIMEN DE LA CALLE DE LA PERSEGUIDA
ARMANDO PALACIO VALDÉS.
ARMANDO PALACIO VALDÉS.
PEDRO ANTONIO DE ALARCÓN.
EMILIA PARDO BAZÁN.
VICENTE BLASCO IBÁÑEZ.
BENITO PÉREZ GALDÓS.
OBRAR BIEN ... QUE DIOS ES DIOS
ANTONIO DE TRUEBA.
MARIANO JOSÉ DE LARRA.
GUSTAVO ADOLFO BÉCQUER.
JOSÉ MARÍA DE PEREDA.
RICARDO FERNÁNDEZ GUARDIA.
JOAQUÍN DÍAZ GARCÉS.
A, B, C, CH, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, L, LL, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, Y,Z
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Spain was awakened from hertorpor by
the assault of the French armies under Napoleon (in 1808), andthere ensued the tremendous struggle known in Spanish history as the Warof Independence ( Guerra de la Independencia). When the Spanish people,though deserted by many of those to whom they looked for leadership, hadworn out the French by their stubborn resistance, a new disaster fell totheir lot. Their American colonies, extending from California to thestraits of Magellan, fell away from the mother country one by one, untilonly a few islands were left. And through it all the peninsula was rentby civil discord. Spain sank to the lowest level of inefficiency andcorruption, and was forced to drink the bitter dregs of humiliation anddespair. But from her travail there came a new birth. With the expulsionof Isabel II in 1868, Spain entered upon a new life. She has since thensuffered from civil and foreign wars and from internal dissensions, butshe has grown in wealth and strength and intellectual cultivation, untilthere is once more in the heart of her people the hope of ultimate andcomplete redemption.
In Europe generally the nineteenth century brought to literature aresumption of religious sentiment and of the artistic sense, with theirappeal to the emotions, and lyricism became the dominant note inletters. The romanticists turned to history and legend for theirmaterial, rather than to contemporary life. The cult of the medievalbrought with it much that was sentimental or grotesquely fantastic, butit awakened in the people a renewed interest in their past history. AllSpaniards worship the past, for Spain was once great; and whenromanticism came from France and England into Spain, it was warmlywelcomed. The historical novel flourished beyond
measure. The artificialepic in ottava rima, imitated from the Italian, gave way to a flood ofpseudo-historical romances which followed the lead of Sir Walter Scottand the elder Dumas. They were mostly weak imitations, carelessly doneand without depth or brilliancy. The best presentation of Spanishlegends was made by José Zorrilla (1817-1893) in verse: his work hasenduring value. But the historical romance turned the mind of the readeraway from adventures in classic lands or in the orient, and brought hisown land to his attention. It thus caused renewed interest in theone-time native excellence of Spanish literature, and it also paved theway for the national novel of manners. The historical romance has nowtaken a secondary place in fiction;
but it was cultivated till quiterecently by so virile and popular a writer as Pérez Galdós.
Before passing on to the modern school of realists, mention must be madeof a writer whose influence has been far-reaching. This is BÉCQUER,[A] apoet, writer of short stories, and journalist. His tales are mostlylegendary, and are imbued with morbid mysticism. He is primarily a poet,for even his prose has the poetic fancy, and, to a large extent, themusic of verse. Bécquer's lyric verse is perhaps the most finished thatwas written in Spain during the nineteenth century, although it has lessforce than that of Núñez de Arce. The dreamy, fairy-like mysticism ofBécquer's writings has been widely imitated throughout the entireSpanish-speaking world.
Although modern realism triumphed in Spain only with the coming ofFernán
Caballero's La gaviota in 1848, the ground was prepared inadvance by several writers, the more important of whom are Larra,Estébanez de Calderón and Mesonero
LARRA,[B] many of whose writings appeared over the pen-name Fígaro,was a master of Castilian prose; but even his best work is marred by amorbid distrust of human nature. In his satirical articles he attacksthe follies and weaknesses of contemporary Spanish life with bitingsarcasm and bitter invective: he criticizes not to reform but to crush.There was in him little milk of human kindness, but he was not afraid ofman or devil. He tried his hand at the romantic drama and novel withlittle success. Larra's most enduring works are his critical reviews andhis essays on manners.
Writing with the pen-name El Solitario, Serafín Estébanez de Calderón(1799-1867), gave in his Escenas andaluzas fairly true pictures of themanners and customs of the lower classes of Andalusia in his day. Thisvolume was published in 1847, but
many of the articles had appeared muchearlier in periodicals.
In 1842 El curioso Parlante, Ramón de Mesonero Romanos (1803-1882),published his Escenas matritenses. The author was a kindly scoffer,and in this work he gave merry pictures of Madrid customs, writtensimply and accurately in language that was
chosen but diffuse.
In 1848 FERNÁN CABALLERO[C] published La Gaviota, a story dealinglargely with the manners and customs of Andalusia. This work, which hasprobably been the most
widely read of all Spanish novels since DonQuijote, marked the transition from romanticism to present-day realismin Spanish literature, as Flaubert's Madame Bovary did in Frenchletters ten years later. Fernán Caballero was probably influenced by the Escenas andaluzas, the Escenas matritenses and Larra's essays onmanners; and it is quite possible that from her German friends came toher some of the modern spirit
of scientific investigation that led herto declare the novel to be "not the product of invention, but ofobservation." She practiced this theory, however, only in part, for herwork partakes of both the romantic and the realistic. Her storiesusually have a romantic framework of passion and intrigue that is alwaysunreal and often dull; but within this framework, almost in the natureof digressions, there are pictures of home life among the lowlyAndalusian peasants that are charming in their simple, refined realism.No better work than that of some of these realistic scenes has ever beendone in Spanish fiction, and yet it is nearly always found in badcompany. Crimes, sentimental episodes, ultra-Catholic preachments andtrue pictures of the life of the humble are jumbled together in a queermedley. The work is evidently that of a clever but untrained mind, thatwas largely controlled by its emotions. Her later works are marred byextreme religiosity and a growing habit of scolding.
It has been well said that the realistic novel in Spain is essentiallyprovincial or regional.[D] The people of the several provinces of Spaindiffer greatly. The proud, stern Castilian; the gentle, pleasure-lovingAndalusian; the Catalán, alert and practical; the light-hearted,turbulent Valencian; and the plodding, dreamy Galician,—all thesediffer as do the lands in which they dwell. A realistic literature,therefore, that describes accurately the doings and the environment ofSpanish villagers must be regional: it can not be broadly national.
After Fernán Caballero had begun to tell of life in southern Spain,PEREDA[E] came forth with tales of the northern mountainland, the Montaña, that lies on the shore of the Cantabrian Sea. Pereda was,perhaps, the most provincial, the least cosmopolitan, of modern Spanishwriters. An old-fashioned hidalgo, or country gentleman, he rarelyleft his ancestral home at Polanco, and if he did go away, he was alwayssorry for it. In politics he was a conservative and a Carlist, and hiswritings evince a hostile attitude towards modernism. Pereda was themost reactionary, Pérez Galdós one of the
most progressive, of modernSpanish writers; but the two men were the best of friends, which goes toshow that neither was narrow. Pereda's language is academically correct,with some of the flavor of Cervantes; but his thought is oftenponderous, or even obscure. He is at his best when he pictures theuncouth homely life of his highland peasants or simple fisher-folk. Thishe does with the truthfulness of the most scrupulous realist, butwithout stooping to pornographic detail. The Escenas montañesas
Escenasmatritenses. The better known works of Pereda are Don Gonzalo Gonzálezde la Gonzalera, Pedro Sánchez, and Sotileza.
In the Spain of the past fifty years, the most cosmopolitan man ofletters, and the writer of the most polished prose, has been JUANVALERA,[F] poet, novelist, literary critic, and, first of all,diplomat. At one time he also sought to become a realist, but his naturerevolted. He was always an idealist, and at times a mystic. Valera's Pepita Jiménez is perhaps the master-piece of Spanish prose fiction ofthe nineteenth century, and it shows some attempt at realism. His shortstories are fantastic and allegorical, or are translations from otherlanguages.
Pedro Antonio de ALARCÓN[G] was by nature and training a journalist. Heserved his apprenticeship as a writer on the staff of several radicaljournals. A volunteer in the African war of 1859, he won a cross forgallantry in battle, and his account of the war brought him sudden fameas a writer. In his earlier novels Alarcón was fond of sensation, asyoung writers are wont to be. He was extravagant in description andintemperate in criticism, keen of observation but shallow; and he showeda lack of sense of proportion; but he had a versatility and dash thatbrought him some meed of popularity. In later life Alarcón passed overfrom radicalism to conservatism in politics, and his writings becamemore sober in tone. His best stories are probably El sombrero de trespicos, El capitán Veneno, and some of his Novelas cortas.
Of the lesser writers of stories of manners and customs, Antonio deTrueba and Narciso Campillo should receive especial mention. At one timeTRUEBA[H] shared with Fernán Caballero the esteem and admiration ofSpanish readers; but he is now nearly
forgotten, except among hisfellow-countrymen, the Basques of northern Spain. A journalist, poet,and writer of short stories, Trueba is best known as an interpreter ofBasque life. Though a conservative and a monarchist, he loved the commonpeople,
and he delighted in describing their customs and in collectingtheir traditions. In his tales of manners and customs he idealized thesimple life of the country folk almost beyond recognition, and he workedover and embellished their traditions to suit his taste. His works arepervaded by a genial, kindly humor; but his language is not seldom dulland insipid.
NARCISO CAMPILLO[I] is known as a poet and a writer of short stories.His prose writings have a light and graceful humor that is peculiarlyAndalusian.
The most important Spanish novelists now (in 1910) living are PérezGaldós, Pardo
Bazán, Palacio Valdés, and Blasco Ibáñez. Of these thefirst is now usually classed as a writer of psychological novels andplays, and the others as naturalistic novelists.
PÉREZ GALDÓS[J] began as a writer of historical romances modeled largelyafter those of Erckmann-Chatrian. His Episodios nacionales treat ofthe War of Independence (called by the English the "Peninsular War")against the French under Napoleon and of the immediately followingyears. These works are not historically accurate; but they present in anentertaining way the elemental facts of an important period in Spanishhistory. Their appeal to Spanish pride and patriotism won for them
anextraordinary popularity in Spain, although they are little knownoutside of the peninsula. From the historical struggles of the pastPérez Galdós next turned his attention to the inner struggle that is nowgoing on in Spain between conservatism and modern progress, and hisprolific pen produced a series of interesting psychological novels. Heis a firm believer in the ultimate good of modern progress, but hepresents pitilessly and with the impartiality of a judge some of thetragedies that result from the readjustment of conditions. A liberal inpolitics and religion, Pérez Galdós attacks not the Church and State butthe abuses that have grown up under their sheltering wing. It isneedless to say that his polemical writings, though presented in thesugar-coated form of highly entertaining novels, are not taken withpleasure by the monarchists and ultra-Catholics; but they are receivedwith joy by the large and rapidly increasing numbers of liberals. PérezGaldós' literary activities are now devoted chiefly to the drama which,it would appear, he considers a better vehicle than the novel for theexpression of his views. The later work of Pérez Galdós is realistic,but it is in no sense regional. Rather does he seek to be broadlynational in his realism by presenting problems that confront the Spanishpeople as a whole. As a writer, he is often careless and sometimesincorrect. To him the thought he expresses, and not the language inwhich it is expressed, is all-important. As he approaches old age, thereseems to grow upon him the desire, not to be a literary artist, but tobecome a leader in reform.
The Galician PARDO BAZÁN[K] is considered the most highly cultivated andthe most forceful contemporary writer among the women of modern Spain.In theory she has been a disciple of French naturalism, and some of hernovels, particularly Los Pazos de Ulloa and La madre Naturaleza,have somewhat of the repulsive realism of Zola's work. At times sheexpresses a cold cynicism or a mocking flippancy which detracts
from theusual charm of her writings. She pleases most in her picturesquedescriptions of the life and manners of her fellow-Galicians. PardoBazán early founded a critical review, El Nuevo Teatro Crítico, and inthis and in other periodicals she has published many valuable articlesof literary criticism. She is now giving her time and thought chiefly tocritical work. Her most popular novel is probably Pascual López.
PALACIO VALDÉS[L] began as a member of the school of naturalists, buthis later works have become more and more idealistic. He has been awriter of regional novels,
like Fernán Caballero and Pereda, but hediffers from the others in that he portrays life now in one province andnow in another, passing from the Asturias to Valencia and from Madrid toAndalusia. This very broadness of outlook has made his work morecosmopolitan than that of any other modern Spanish novelist,—exceptingonly Juan Valera,—and has brought him a large meed of popularity inforeign lands. No other contemporary Spanish writer has been sogenerally translated and so widely read by foreigners as has PalacioValdés.
In his realistic works he is a careful observer and a faithful describerof life, and he is especially successful in his portrayal of theuneventful lives of the middle and lower classes. Although in hisearlier novels he is a pronounced realist, he displays a care-freeoptimism and a sympathetic humor that distinguish his work from thecynicism of
Pardo Bazán and the bitter invectiveness of Blasco Ibáñez,nor has he the seriousness of purpose that characterizes Pérez Galdós.His style is usually direct and simple, but at times it becomes carelessor even dull. His genius is uneven, but when at his best Palacio Valdésis one of the most charming of modern novelists. His better known worksare probably La hermana San Sulpicio and La alegría del capitánRibot.
The most forceful of the younger writers of Spain is the ValencianBLASCO
IBÁÑEZ.[M] His earlier writings were mostly short stories ofmanners and customs. In these vivid pictures of life among theValencians and their neighbors, the influence of Maupassant and Zola iseasily discernible. Blasco Ibáñez next brought forth a series ofpolemical writings, in the form of novels, in which he attacked Churchand State ruthlessly. His literary work is now quieter in tone, but itstill gives evidence that he wishes to arouse the Spanish masses and tolead them on to the complete acquirement
of political and socialequality. His best known work is La barraca.