Pardo Bazán, Emilia (Countess)

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PARDO BAZÁN, Emilia (Countess)

Nationality: Spanish. Born: La Coruña, Galicia, 16 September 1851. Education: Self-educated. Family: Married José Fernando Quiroga in 1868 (separated 1885; died 1921); two daughters and one son. Career: Writer, contributor, and editor, various magazines and journals, including La ciencia cristiana, 1876-81, Revista de España and España Moderna, 1879-1902; lecturer, 1887-1906, and first female president, 1906, Literary Section of the Antheneum, Madrid; founding editor, El nuevo teatro crítico, Madrid, 1891-93; held various government positions; adviser, Ministry of Education, from 1910; professor of romance literatures, Central University of Madrid, from 1916. Awards: Created Countess, 1907. Died: 12 May 1921.



Obras completas (novelas y cuentos), edited by Federico CarlosSáinz de Robles. 2 vols., 1947; 3 vols., 1973.

Short Stories

La dama joven, illustrated by M. Obiols Delgado. 1885.

Insolación, with Morriña, illustrated by J. Cuchy. 1889; Morriña as Homesickness, 1891; Insolación as Midsummer Madness, 1907; expanded edition, 1923.

Cuentos escogidos. 1891.

Cuentos de Marineda. 1892.

Cuentos nuevos. 1894.

Arco iris. 1895.

Novelas ejemplares. 1895.

Cuentos de amor. 1898.

Cuentos sacro-profanos. 1899.

Un destripador de antaño y otros cuentos. 1900.

En tranvía: Cuentos dramáticos. 1901.

Cuentos de Navidad y Reyes. 1902.

Cuentos de la patria. 1902.

Cuentos antiguas. 1902.

Cuentos del terruño. 1907.

El fondo de alma. 1907.

Sud exprés. 1909.

Belcebú: Novelas breves. 1912.

Cuentos trágicos. 1913.

Cuentos de la tierra. 1923.

Cuadros religiosas. 1925.

Short Stories. 1935.

Pardo Bazán (selected stories), edited by Carmen Castro. 1945.

Las setas y otros cuentos (selection), edited by Carmen Bravo-Villasante. 1988.

Cuentos (selection), edited by Juan Paredes Nunez. 1984.

Cuentos completos, edited by Juan Paredes Nunez. 4 vols., 1990.

The White Horse and Other Stories. 1993

Torn Lace and Other Stories. 1996


Pascual López, Autobiografía de un estudiante de medicina. 1879.

Un viaje de novios. 1881; as A Wedding Trip, 1891.

La tribuna. 1883.

El cisne de Vilamorta. 1885; as The Swan of Vilamorta, 1891; asShattered Hope, or The Swan of Vilamorta, 1900.

Los pazos de Ulloa. 1886; as The Son of the Bondwoman, 1908; asThe House of Ulloa, 1990.

La madre naturaleza. 1887.

Una cristiana. 1890; as A Christian Woman, 1891; as Secret of the Yew Tree; or, A Christian Woman, 1900.

La prueba. 1890.

La piedra angular. 1891; as The Angular Stone, 1892.

Adán y Eva: Doña Milagros. 1894.

Adán y Eva: Memorias de un solterón. 1896.

El tesoro de Gastón. 1897.

El saludo de las brujas. 1897.

El niño de Guzmán. 1899.

Misterio. 1903; as The Mystery of the Lost Dauphin (Louis XVII), 1906.

La Quimera. 1905.

La sirena negra. 1908.

Dulce dueño. 1911.


La suerte. 1904.

Cuesta abajo. 1906.

Verdad. 1906.


Jáime. 1876.


Estudio crítico de las obras del Padre Feijoo (criticism). 1876.

San Francisco de Asís. 1882.

La cuestión palpitante (criticism). 1883.

Folklore gallego, with others. 1884.

La leyenda de la Pastoriza. 1887.

La revolución y la novela en Rusia. 3 vols., 1887; as Russia, its People, and its Literature, 1890.

Mi romería (articles). 1888.

De mi tierra (criticism). 1888.

Los pedagogos del renacimiento. 1889.

Al pie de la torre Eiffel (articles). 1889.

Por Francia y por Alemania. 1890.

Obras completas. 43 vols., 1891-1926.

El P. Luis Coloma (biography). 1891.

Españoles ilustres. 1891.

Los franciscanos y Colón. 1892.

Alarcón (biography). 1892.

Polémicas y estudios literarios. 1892.

Campoamor (biography). 1893.

Los poetas épicos cristianos (criticism). 1895.

Por la España pintoresca. 1895.

Hombres y mujeres de antaño. 1896.

Vida contemporánea. 1896.

La España de ayer y la de hoy. 1899.

Cuarenta días en la exposición. 1900.

De siglo á siglo. 1902.

Los franciscanos y el descubrimiento de América. 1902.

Por la Europa católica. 1902.

Goya y la espontaneidad española. 1905.

Lecciones de literatura. 1906.

Retratos y apuntes literarios. 1908.

Teatro. 1909.

La literatura franscesca moderna. 2 vols., 1910-11; vol. 3, 1914.

Arrastrado. 1912.

La cocina española antigua. 1913.

Hernán Cortés y sus hazañas (for children). 1914.

La cocina española moderna. 1916.

El porvenir de la literatura después de la guerra (lectures). 1917.

El lirismo en al poesía francesa. 1923.

Cartas a Benito Pérez Galdos (1889-1890), edited by CarmenBravo-Villasante. 1975.

La mujer española y otros articulos femistas (essays), edited by deLeda Schiavo. 1976.

Cartas inéditas a Pardo Bazán (letters), edited by Ana Maria FreireLopez. 1991.


Critical Studies:

Two Modern Spanish Novelists: Pardo Bazán and Armando Palacio Valdés by C. C. Glasnock, 1926; "Pardo Bazán and the Literary Polemics about Feminism" by Ronald Hilton, in Romantic Review, 44, 1953; The Catholic Naturalism of Pardo Bazán by Donald Fowler Brown, 1957; "Observations on the Narrative Method, the Psychology, and the Style of Los Pazos de Ulloa " by Robert E. Lott, in Hispania 52, 1969; Pardo Bazán by Walter Pattison, 1971; "Pardo Bazán's Pessimistic View of Love as Revealed in Cuentos de Amor " by Thomas Feeny, in Hispanófila 23, September 1978; "Feminism and the Feminine in Pardo Bazán's Novels" by Mary E. Giles, in Hispania 63, 1980; Pardo Bazán: The Making of a Novelist by Maurice Hemingway, 1983; In the Feminine Mode edited by Nöel Valis and Carol Maier, 1990; "Plotting Gender/Replotting the Reader: Strategies of Subversion in Stories by Emilia Pardo Bazan" by Maryellen Bieder, in Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures, Fall 1993, pp. 136-57; "Pardo Bazan and Ideological Literature" by Cyrus DeCoster, in Romance Quarterly, Fall 1993, pp. 226-34.

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Emilia Pardo Bazán was a Spanish novelist, short story writer, essayist, and critic. The only child of a well-to-do family, she received an education (like most Spanish women of the day) that was limited to boarding school, but she thereafter continued self-instruction through systematic readings in literature, contemporary affairs, and science, learning English, French, and Italian. Although women were denied access to Spanish universities, she became the first woman ever to hold a professorship of romance literatures at the University of Madrid and the first woman director of the Madrid Atheneum. She wrote on subjects as varied as St. Francis and Christian mysticism, feminism, popular science, contemporary French and Russian literature, and the Russian Revolution. She also was a first-rate historian.

Credited with introducing naturalism to Spain (without breaking with Catholic orthodoxy), Pardo Bazán was an ardent polemicist whose position occasionally involved contradictions. She defended women's rights and the poor but also social stratification, and she popularized naturalism but rejected its ideological core, especially determinism. Although usually classed as a naturalist, Pardo Bazán was an eclectic who wrote under many influences, ranging from an early post-romanticism and realism through an end-of-the-century spiritual-mystic mode, symbolism, and early modernism. Although married and the mother of three children, she broke with her husband in 1885 following his ultimatum that she must quit writing. A prolific essayist, she founded a literary magazine for which she wrote all the material for several years. Early editions of her complete works included 41 to 44 volumes: 19 or 20 long novels (there is disagreement whether one is a novel-ette); several volumes of literary criticism and history; 17 novellas (by the writer's count); and some 600 short stories. Her most significant model was Maupassant, whom she considered her master.

The two best-known aspects of Pardo Bazán's work are her naturalism and Galician regionalism that characterize her most popular novels and together account for some 80 percent of her criticism. Few of Pardo Bazán's short stories (or collections thereof) have been studied, but they usually have been approached as naturalistic or regional; Pardo Bazán suggests the Galician focus herself with short story collections such as Cuentos de la patria (Tales of the Fatherland), Cuentos del terruño (Tales of the Homeland), and Cuentos de la tierra (Tales of the Soil). Galician stories typically emphasize superstition, apparitions or "miracles," fantasy, mystery, and the misty landscape, but some present the brutality, poverty, and backwardness of rural areas or portray crimes of avarice, abuse, and revenge.

Numerous other thematic nuclei exist among Pardo Bazán's stories, including those grouped around major dates (New Year's, Epiphany, Carnival, Holy Week, Christmas) in ancient and modern times; tales of religious inspiration or allusion, featuring biblical motifs; fantastic tales; humorous stories; historical incidents or personages (and, following Spain's defeat in 1898, several with patriotic themes); stories about children or animals; peasant life and social themes; morally edifying events or implications; male-female relations and/or love stories; and psychological and moral tales. Comparably few Pardo Bazán stories offer happy endings, although a minority do so; most of her tales of courtship treat deception or disappointment in love, abandonment or broken engagements, abusive or jealous suitors, and defects in the beloved leading to drastic escapes through emigration or entering a convent. The marriage of convenience appears often, sometimes motivated by trivial considerations indeed: a disputed dog, a lottery ticket, a specific bit of land. Misalliances and unhappy or abusive marriages abound, and frequent forms of marital conflict include internal power struggles, jealousy, suspicion, infidelities from the trivial to adultery, abandonment, and the ultimate abuse, spousal murder. Pardo Bazán clearly does not idealize the married state, and despite the paucity of alternatives for women in Spain, numerous stories suggest that matrimony is no bargain. Neglect or abuse of children is another focus, making certain stories especially timely.

Novelettes include "La gota de sangre" (The Drop of Blood); modeled after English detective stories, the story presents a narrator who is accosted by a man with blood on his shirt; the narrator later discovers a body and becomes a suspect, so he is compelled to solve the mystery to clear himself. Crimen libre (Unpunished Crime), which deals with penology, anticipates the novel La piedra angular (The Angular Stone) in the author's opposition to capital punishment and her interest in criminology. As with naturalism Pardo Bazán's incursion into crime fiction occurred when women were not supposed to write of such things. "Finafrol" depicts Galician beggars and their sub-culture, while Belcebú (Beelzebub) offers an historical portrait of witchcraft, poisons, and alchemy. "Bucólica" (Bucolic), an interesting antecedent of Los pazos de Ulloa (The House of Ulloa), Pardo Bazán's masterpiece, is similarly set in a ruinous Galician country manor and portrays the decadent rural aristocracy.

About half the works Pardo Bazán called novelettes are generally considered long short stories. Insolación (Midsummer Madness) shares a common background with En el santo (On the Saint's Day), that of Madrid's colorful Fair of St. Isidro. Insolación literally means "sunstroke," and the time is not midsummer but a late spring celebration devoted to St. Isidore the Plowman, abounding in picturesque and folkloric touches. Given the prominent role of the blinding sun and the heroine's fainting spell brought on by heat and over-indulgence in alcohol, the novelette is usually termed naturalistic. But Asís, the heroine, a wealthy young widow, and Pacheco, the Andalusian playboy who seduces her, are hardly typical naturalistic characters. None of the sordidness, misery, and violence associated with naturalism appear, and the only "social" problem concerns the convention obliging the widow to observe prolonged, solitary mourning and the potential ostracism if it is known she became drunk at the fair and allowed herself to be seduced. Morriña (Homesickness), commonly classified as naturalistic, is usually published together with Midsummer Madness, as in the first edition. Strictly speaking, Homesickness is less than naturalistic, scarcely hinting at determinism: Esclavitud, the illegitimate daughter of a servant-girl and the priest for whom she worked, is seduced by her employer, perhaps suggesting biological predisposition (for nineteenth-century readers). Homesick in Madrid for her native Galicia, Esclavitud is sent to work for a Galician widow whose pampered, weakling son exploits the girl's loneliness to establish his masculinity. Left behind when the family undertakes an extended vacation (planned by her employer to abort the incipient romance), Esclavitud commits suicide. Pardo Bazán wrote these two works around the same time and may have been responsible for their appearing in a single volume; if so, she could have intended for readers to compare the very different results of the two seductions, leading to early remarriage for the wealthy widow and to the grave for the hapless maid.

As Spain's outstanding short story writer in the nineteenth century, Pardo Bazán is unrivaled in quality and abundance. She strove for naturalness, true-to-life vocabulary and expression, simplicity, exact and succinct descriptions, adroit organization of plot, and maximum narrative economy. Her stories develop rapidly and maintain their interest despite passing time.

—Janet Pérez

See the essay on "The Revolver."