Biography of Pedro Antonio de Alarcón y Ariza (1833-1891)

Spanish novelist born in Guadix (Granada) in 1833 and died in Madrid on July 19, 1891.

He studied law, career that failed to finish because of the economic difficulties of his family by which returned to his hometown to pursue ecclesiastical studies, which also ended there. Delivered to journalism, he directed the echo of the West, and established in Madrid, was responsible for the whip, anticlerical, satirical magazine; in this city, it was part of the Group of the romantic writers. Thanks to his work as a journalist, he became famous and could influence the Spanish society of the time. This led him to be Deputy for Guadix in 1864, after resign of Minister and Advisor to Alfonso XII in 1875. Merciless critic of the monarchy in his youth, his stance led him to a duel with the royalist Venezuelan writer Heriberto García Quevedo, who fired into the air once Alarcon had failed shot. Later, Alarcon ranged to deeply reactionary positions, one of the reasons that has taken it away from readers and critics for many years.

The literary work of Alarcón is located in the Prerrealismo pass to realism, with a distant romantic influence. The first novel, the end of standard (1855), is a young, imaginative and fantastic, romantic influence and folletinescos elements. The incessant activity of the author in the journalistic field with chronicles, political articles, pictures of customs, stories and literary criticism, was reflected in some of his books. Diary of a witness to the war in Africa (1859-60) narrates O'donell in Morocco campaigns and taking of Tetuan, with overly patriotic optics. It is a mixture of historical document, descriptive color, and picturesque elements. It made him very popular.

Alarcon grouped his short narrative, many of the stories had previously appeared in the press, in three series: amatorios Tales (1881), national comics (1881) and unlikely stories (1882). Amatorios tales series includes the two most significant stories: "Nail" and "The Commander". The first was published in the echo of the West and an independent Granada in 1854 Edition. The source is a cause celebre, having the interest of a detective story, surrounded by romantic elements. "The Commander", published in El Universal Museum in 1868, reflects the plasticity of certain pictorial elements as it develops in a bright and spring-like grenade. National comics move between customs, tradition and fantasy. They were very popular some of them as "The French" and "The coal Mayor", both located in the war of independence; "The Horn of keys", set in the framework of the Carlist War; and "The fortune teller", which recreates an episode of Andalusian banditry. Implausible stories brings together a series of novels of very different character and style, notably the titled "Friend of death".

Not all the stories and alarconianas comics are involved in romantic trend. The hat (1874) is located in a line of moderate realism, moved by an idealizadora intention. This novel, relatively short, in the European magazine and book, was published in 1874. His writing is inspired by the history of "El corregidor y la molinera", poeticized jácaras, romances and songs. The action takes place in a chronological time reduced from about sixteen hours. It is located in three special centres: flour mill, with its dependencies and the Bower, the mill road to the city and the casa del Corregidor, in the unnamed episcopal city. These spaces and the different action sequences are interrelated with some theatrical effectiveness. The end is the most original of Alarcón and designates its climax as Narrator. Perhaps a lively picture of customs, the grand finale of the Spanish customs.

Pedro Antonio de Alarcón, the three-cornered hat.

Alarcon obtained greater success as a novelist with the scandal, published in 1875. Located between late romanticism and a dualist prerrealismo, it is a novel of thesis, moralizing, melodramatic theme. Rigorously historical, autobiographical traits and memories of real characters merge in it. Its structure responds to the classical concept in which the Narrator, alternating with the characters, conveys a story full of events with which aims to capture the attention of readers. The story is divided into eight books and an epilogue. The resources used by the author, as the change of perspective, the use of different narrators, the influence of situations of the past and the present, the abandonment of the linear narrative, narrative drawings overlapping, cannot be interpreted as a technical renovation. For Professor Baquero Goyanes, these devices are linked to the "folletinismo" of the 19th century, "in version popular and effective".

The scandal is a religious thesis novel, a story, in a biased way, manifesting the reactionary position of Alarcon. His controversial speech of entry into the Royal Spanish Academy on morality in art, read in 1876, confirms their moralizing attitude. The opinions that have been poured on her trail all topics that come repeating about the author since the 19th century. Maybe theses defending have obscured important elements such as the narrative structure, the management of time and space, the characters of the characters, among others.

Following the same spiritualistic religious trend, the author published in 1880 the ball boy. Divided into four books, it has a modern version of the theme of the lovers of Teruel Andalusian onstage. The protagonists are pursued by a cruel fate that will make them die one in the hands of the other. The finish is gimmicky and violent. For Montesinos is the best romantic novel.

Next year is the captain poison (1881), Tamayoand Baus. It is an example of idealizing fiction, in which humorous and sentimental elements are mixed and removed the moralistic purposes. The action focuses on the story of a grumpy, authoritarian captain, opposed the marriage, "domesticated" by young girlfriend you Angustias. The bottom line is that love ends up winning it all.

The novelistic cycle of Alarcón closes with the prodigal, published in the literary supplement of the Revista Hispano-Americana, of February 1881 to February 1882. Narration found no echo in the criticism of his time, so the author, displeased, did not write. It can be considered its literary Testament and his best novel. Follows the position of thesis: is a statement against free love and a defense of the Catholic marriage. However, in this novel, Alarcon has managed to materialize in a negative way the most significant relationship of the society, the "antiprodigalidad". Faced with this, the writer is able to develop a true argumentative utopia, which he himself is not attached.

The last years of life of the novelist were linked to the Madrid town of Valdemoro, where he had a summer house to which used to frequently go to get away from the hustle and bustle of Madrid. In 1888 he suffered a hemiplegia that left him with serious consequences, so he decided to retire to Valdemoro to rest. However, a few days before his death, to seriously worsen his State of health, he was transferred to their habitual residence on calle Atocha in Madrid, where he died on July 19, 1891.