Coronado, Carolina 1820(?)–1911
Coronado, Carolina 1820(?)–1911
PERSONAL: Born December 12, 1820 (some sources say 1821 or 1823), in Almendralejo, Spain; died, January 15 (some sources say January 18), 1911; married Horatio J. Perry (a diplomat); children: one daughter. Religion: Roman Catholic.
CAREER: Writer and poet.
Poesías, Alegria y Charlain (Madrid, Spain), 1843, new edition, edited and introduced by Noël Valis, Castalia (Madrid, Spain), 1991.
Paquita: La luz del Tajo: Adoración (novel), Librero Española (San Fernando, Spain), 1850.
Poesías de la señorita Dona Carolina Coronado, Juan R. Navarro (Mexico), 1851.
Jarilla (novel), [Spain], 1851, reprinted, Diputación de Badajoz, Departamento de Publicaciones (Badajoz, Spain), 2001.
El siglo de las reynas, Semanario Pintoresco (Madrid, Spain), 1852.
La sigea (novel), A. Santa Coloma (Madrid, Spain), 1854.
No hay nada más triste que el último adiós! (title means "There Is Nothing Sadder than the Last Goodbye!"), Bernabé Carrafa (Madrid, Spain), 1859.
España y Napoleón (title means "Spain and Napoleon"), M. Galiano (Madrid, Spain), 1861.
La rueda de la desgracia: Manuscrito de un conde (novel), M. Tello (Madrid, Spain), 1873.
A un poeta del porvenir, Nacional (Madrid, Spain), 1874.
Ananles del tajo Lisboa (novel), [Lisbon, Portugal], 1875.
Poesías completas, Libreria Hispano-Mexicana (Mexico), 1883.
Antología (poetry), Montaner y Simón (Barcelona, Spain), 1946.
Poesías de Carolina Coronado, Imprenta de Alegria y Charlain (Madrid, Spain), 1976.
Carolina Coronado: treinta y nueve poemas y una prosa: antología poética, 1840–1904, Editora Regional de Extremadura (Badajoz, Spain), 1986.
Obra poética, two volumes, edited by Gregorio Torres Nebrera, Editora Regional de Extremadura (Merida, Spain), 1993.
Obra en prosa. Novelas. Novelas, teatro. Ensayos, articulos y cartas, three volumes, edited by Gregorio Torres Nebrera, Editora Regional de Extremadura (Merida, Spain), 1999.
Se va mi sombra, pero yo me quedo (poetry), edited by Luzmaria Jiménez Faro, Ediciones Torremozas (Madrid, Spain), 2001.
Also author of El divino Figueroa, La exclaustrada, Alfonso IV de León, El cuadro de la Esperanza, Páginas de un diario: Adoración, and Vanidad de vanidades.
SIDELIGHTS: Carolina Coronado was one of the most important female literary figures of nineteenth-century Spain. She wrote poems, short novels, and essays; and after she married the American diplomat Horatio J. Perry, their home served as a gathering place for both literary and government figures. As the wife of a diplomat and a friend of Spain's Queen Isabel II, she held influence in both cultural and political circles. Coronado's writing, whether poetry, fiction, or essays, frequently concerns itself with the treatment of women in Spanish society, or with other social issues such as slavery. Most literary critics consider her a Romantic poet, influenced by figures such as British poet George Gordon, Lord Byron. Popular during her own lifetime, Coronado's works have continued to be reissued in her native country.
Coronado was born to well-to-do parents in Almendralejo, Spain, in or around 1820. While still a young child, she moved with her family to nearby Badajoz, where her father was imprisoned for a short time for political reasons. As with many Spanish girls of her social class, Coronado's education was less structured than that typically provided to upper-class males. Amy Kaminsky reported in Letras Femeninas that "Coro-nado received little formal education beyond reading, a little arithmetic, embroidery, and French. She was, however, an avid reader who devoured, in secret and away from her disapproving mother, whatever books she could get her hands on." Kaminsky went on to point out that "the one benefit of this haphazard and clandestine education was her freedom to read books for the love of them, and not to have all she read judged against a preestablished hierarchy of master-works. There is something about the act of reading in this manner that suggests to the reader that writing may be possible." Indeed, Coronado began writing at an early age, primarily working with poetry. While she was still a young girl, the aspiring poet's mother would occasionally forbid her pens or paper. "Coronado would compose and revise her poems in her head," explained Kaminsky, "and commit them to memory until such time as her mother would allow her access to writing materials."
Despite these obstacles, Coronado's first collection of poetry, Poesías, saw print in 1843. Then, the following year, a strange, false report of her death temporarily shocked and saddened the Spanish literary community. Shortly after the confusion was cleared up, according to James W. Cortada in Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, she moved to Madrid "in order to advance her literary career." The strategy worked, as Cortada reported, and "members of Madrid's upper classes and the queen read her poems. Through her friendship with [Queen] Isabel, the poet became an important fixture in high society. In fact," Cortada concluded, "by the end of the 1840s, she had greater influence at the Court than many more famous residents of Madrid."
By the late 1840s, Coronado had met and fallen in love with Perry. Because her husband was an American from New Hampshire, she took his abolitionist position on the slavery question that loomed large in his country until the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War. This separated her from many in her social circle, who favored the American South. As Cortada maintained, "Perry's impact on his wife's poetry cannot be overlooked…. Her most famous poem on slavery, 'A la abolición de la esclavitude en Cuba,' suggested that this second phase of her literary career came under his strong influence." After Coronado married, the subject matter of her poetry shifted—it showed less concern with Spanish women's issues, and more with political and military issues. "She also wrote poems on Lincoln, the Spanish naval bombardment of Callao, Peru, in 1866, and about Admiral Méndez Núñez," noted Cortada. Observing that eventually "even the conservative court of Isabel" came to recognize "that slavery [in Spain's colonies] would have to be abolished," the critic felt that Coronado "might have been influential in bringing about this change of heart; how much is difficult, if not impossible, to tell." In addition to influencing Coronado's choice of subject matter, her husband and the daughter they had together at least inadvertently caused her writing output to decrease. As Susan Kirkpatrick remarked in Hispanic Review, "despite her spirited defense of women's right to self-expression, Coronado was too profoundly marked by her society's restrictive view of femininity to be fully able to reconcile her role as wife and mother with her vocation as a writer." When Perry retired from diplomacy, Coronado moved with him to Portugal for a time.
Coronado's short novels are primarily of the historical romance genre. Paquita: La luz del Tajo: Adoración, her first, became available to readers in 1850. Set in 1530s Portugal, it "focuses on the historical figure of the Portuguese court poet, Francisco de Saa," according to Judith A. Kirkpatrick in Letras Peninsulares. In Kirkpatrick's opinion, Coronado "essentially fictionalizes" her protagonist, and creates "the purely fictitious Paquita," whom Saa's king wishes him to marry. Jarilla, titled for the adored love of the protagonist, saw print in 1851. The story is set in fifteenth-century Spain during the reign of Juan II. Another, 1854's La sigea, also involves a true historical figure, the sixteenth-century woman poet Luisa Sigea. The novel is set in Portugal during the Inquisition.
As the wife of a U.S. diplomat, Coronado encountered many American political figures of the Civil War era. One of these was Illinois Republican Carl Schurz, who wrote about the Spanish poet and author in his memoirs. Though he liked Coronado, Schurz "thought her a very superstitious woman," according to Cortada. "She claimed to have seen her father's ghost several times in church and fainted on each occasion." Noël Valis recounted another example of Coronado's eccentricity in In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers. Coronado outlived Perry, and Valis mentioned "Coronado's insistence that her dead husband be left corpore insepulto in the family chapel during the remaining twenty years of her life. Every night she would take leave of 'el silencioso,' or 'the silent one,' as she referred to him, by the balcony connecting bedroom and chapel." Coronado herself died in 1911 and was buried in Badajoz, where she had spent much of her youth.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Perez, Janet, Contemporary Women Writers of Spain, Twayne (Boston, MA), 1988.
Porpetta, Antonio, and Luzmaría Jiménez Faro, Carolina Coronado: apunte biogrǵfico y antología, Ediciones Torremozas (Madrid, Spain), 1983.
Valis, Noël, and Carol Maier, editors, In the Feminine Mode: Essays on Hispanic Women Writers, Associated University Presses (Cranbury, NJ), 1990.
Ward, Philip, editor, The Oxford Companion to Spanish Literature, Oxford University Press (Oxford, England), 1978.
Hispania, September, 1993, Ofelia Alayeto, review of Poesías, pp. 471-472.
Hispanic Review, autumn, 1993, Susan Kirkpatrick, review of Poesías, pp. 574-575.
Latin American Literary Review, fall-winter, 1981, Lee Fontanella, "Mystical Diction and Imagery in Gomez de Avellaneda and Carolina Coronado," pp. 47-55.
Letras Femeninas, spring-fall, 1993, Amy Kaminsky, "The Construction of Immortality: Sappho, Saint Theresa, and Carolina Coronado," pp. 1-13.
Letras Peninsulares, spring, 1997, Judith A. Kirkpatrick, "Irony in Carolina Coronado's Paquita: The Voice of the Female Subject in Spanish Romanticism," pp. 169-183; fall, 2000–winter, 2001, Noël Valis, "Women's Culture in 1893: Spanish Nationalism and the Chicago World's Fair," pp. 633-664.
Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, May, 1978, James W. Cortada, "An Isabeline Poet, Carolina Coronado, a Biographical Note," pp. 313-320.
Romance Quarterly, Volume 30, number 4, 1983, Monroe Z. Hafter, "Carolina Coronado as Novelist," pp. 403-418.
Escritoras.com, http://www.escritoras.com/ (March 21, 2002), "Carolina Coronado."
Masdeviajes.com, http://www.masdeviajes.com/ (March 21, 2002), "Carolina Coronado."
Venezuela Analíica, http://www.analitica.com/va/ (March 21, 2002), "Carolina Coronado (1820–1911): la voz de la feminidad."