Biography of Leopoldo "Clarín" Alas (1852-1901)

Novelist and literary critic born in Zamora, Spanish on April 25, 1852 and died in Oviedo on 13 June 1901, city which was originally his family and which always felt especially attached. He/She frequently used the pseudonym Clarín, which was served for the first time in 1875, year in which collaborated in the Republican newspaper the solfeggio. Along with Benito Pérez Galdós, is the most important novelist of our 19th century. His full name was Enrique Leopoldo García Alas and Ureña.

Leopoldo Alas "Clarín".


In his childhood, he/she lived in Leon and Guadalajara (in addition to spend some time in Zamora), since his father was Civil Governor of these cities. In 1865, he/she moved to Oviedo to study high school and from there goes to Madrid, where he/she studied the career of law between 1871 and 1878, year in which earned a doctorate with the study law and morality, that don Francisco Giner of the Ríos led. Those are the years for which begins to collaborate in the press with articles on philosophical, religious, political and literary topics. Take contact, as it can be seen from the director chosen for his doctoral thesis, with the incipient Spanish krausist movement, which will influence the ethics of palpable in his work. He/She also became friends with Armando Palacio Valdés, Emilio Castelar, José María de Pereda, Marcelino Menéndez and Pelayo and Benito Pérez Galdós, that his master was always considered. It was always hostile, by contrast, Emilia Pardo Bazán, which dedicated criticism as hard as unfair on the occasion of the publication of heatstroke or his candidacy to the Royal Academy, where he/she had been first admitted women. In 1882, he/she wins the Chair of Roman law in Zaragoza, after being snatched in political economy and statistics at Salamanca for political reasons, and in 1883, he/she moved to Oviedo to obtain the Chair of Roman law at the University. In 1888 he/she obtained the birthright. Advanced ideology, he/she joined in his personality the idealism that propendía his character and love for certain traditions, with the pragmatism that wore it the spirit of the times and the naturalistic theories on novel. Politically, he/she lined up on the side of the Republicans. He/She lived in Oviedo until his death, which took place at the age of forty-nine, serving as Professor at the University and forming students as Ramón Pérez de Ayala, who would always remember it fondly.


There are three fundamental facets of the work of Clarín: journalistic work, narrative long, composed only of La Regenta and his only son, and the work story, much wider and collected in various collections. Apart is the unique dramatic attempt, resulting in a genuine failure: Teresa (1895).

Leopoldo Alas Clarin. La Regenta.

Journalistic work

Clarin collaborated in numerous newspapers and magazines of the time, both in his stint as a student in Madrid, as during the rest of his life as a University Professor. In their articles, is particularly acute in regards to politics and literature. In both, it is considered the best critic of all our 19th after Larra. They have in their critical very main part satire and irony, especially in those titled "alone" and "paliques", although it was able to also write expository articles such as those dedicated to the work of Pereda, Zola and naturalism, Campoamor, Antero de Quental or Pérez Galdós. The rightness of your explanation of these and other authors and movements away both the dilentantismo and the dogmatism that, too often, suffered criticism in his time. Their articles appeared in compilations such as the titled Solos de Clarín (1881); The literature in 1881 (1882, published in collaboration with Palacio Valdés); ...Lost sermon (1885); New campaign (1887); Denim (1889); Essays, journals (1892) and Smalltalk (1894). These were joined by a series of eight literary booklets (among which the graduates Cánovas and his time, Apollo in Paphos and a speech of Núñez de Arce), which published between 1886 and 1891 and the past century posthumous volume, published in 1901. In 1972, articles of his early years (1875-1880) are gathered under the title of Clarin preludes. Other digests are forgotten work, articles of criticism (1882-1901) and political Clarín.


The brief narrative of Clarín collect notes and ideas that develops a narrative, sometimes moving away completely realistic style (in "The night-bad Devil", collected in tales). His acuity as a critic acts, no doubt, about the narrator who works slowly and gives output but that which fully satisfies. Collections of stories published by the author were: pipe (1886); Doña Berta, Crow, trickery (1892); The Lord, and the rest are stories (1893) and Tales (1896); posthumous appeared El Gallo de Sócrates (1901) and Dr. Sutilis (1916). Of them all, "Doña Berta", "Lord" and "Pipá", stand out the three more novels short stories to. At last appear already Vetusta characters, the imaginary city, transcript of Oviedo, which develops La Regenta. Other tales such as "Adiós, Cordera" or "Cough duo" have also reached notoriety for his presentation of aspects as varied from reality as emigration and depopulation of the countryside or the solitude of a sick away from society. All criticism of Clarin shows fair and implacable.


As we have already indicated, only two are novels of Clarín. The author, so implacable critic with the same as with the others, described as a "novelucha" his only son (1890) and "written discussion jerks" La Regenta (1884-85), considered today as one of the peaks of the Spanish narrative of the 19th.

The origin of the novel is in three chapters of a project of novel which never concluded Clarin, entitled Speraindeo, published in 1880 in the Revista de Asturias and a story entitled the devil in lent in that it already foreshadows, in several ways, the world and the characters of La Regenta. The work was written between 1883 and 1885, during the years that mark the fashion of naturalism in Spain and which, along with novels such as La Desheredada of Pérez Galdós, published the first fruits of Palacio Valdés (El señorito Octavio, 1881) and Emilia Pardo Bazán (a journey of bride and groom, 1881, La Tribuna, 1882 and trials of the throbbing question)(, 1883, neopopularistas by the own Bugle). It is in this environment when novel, beyond pure entertainment, becomes literary and sociological, problem where the Clarín critic decides to evict its quarter to swords. In this way, over an argument that is most of the novels of the 19th (adultery), works Clarin technical novels as social criticism, achieving a very high result in both cases. The novel presents the life of Vetusta, Oviedo counterpart, centered on the figure of Ana Ozores, wife of the Regent of the Audiencia retired and a member of high society in the city, which disputed the President's casino and liberal MP Álvaro Mesía and the master of the Cathedral, don Fermín de Pas, the first to seduce her, and the second to achieve power to have her as a daughter of confession. However, the Magistral, complex character who the greatest creation of the author, it is, without doubt, will fight between what he/she preaches and loving instincts, repressed by their votes. The similar which can be mentioned, of Madame Bovary and Flaubert or crime do father Amaro de Eça de Queiroz, passing through the own torment of Pérez Galdós, which is published during the writing of La Regenta, not pose but the part more superficial, to be important, a novel that becomes, beyond refined analysis of personalities of the protagonists (in which demonstrates excellent handling of techniques such as interior monologue or) indirect free style, allowing you to show the flow of consciousness of the characters), the cool of an entire society. They are, in fact, difficult to forget types as accomplished as the Marquis of Vegallana, the Archdeacon of the Cathedral, the archpriest don Cayetano Ripamilán, Paula roots, the mother of the master, or Petra, the maid of the protagonist, who give to the work as much variety as depth. It is of great importance the mastery which, once again, shows the author in the handling of the narrative tempo. Thus, in the first fifteen chapters they spend just three days, but nothing of what happens is accessory but rather the delay is necessary in order to the rest of the story.

With respect to the protagonists, along with the aforementioned figure of the Magistral, highlight the main figure, Ana Ozores, woman of sickly temperament whose weaknesses will be skillfully exploited by those who claim to be with her, and Álvaro Mesía, which caricatured in his figure to the Libertines of good tone, although, as we have already indicated, the secondary characters, sometimes characterized with three sentences of great strength, the main creation of the author.

With regard to his only son, is so different from the above that its valuation by critics has been irregular. It tells the story of a man who, disillusioned of their ideals, it accepts as a son himself that his wife has an adulterous relationship and achieves self-realisation through parenthood. Therefore as by the same dates did Galdós or Pardo Bazán, departs Bugle of the themes and forms of realism wishful thinking to go on roads that will enter then the authors of the 98.


Gomez-Santos, marine. L A. Clarin, bio-bibliographical essay. Oviedo, 1952.

Martinez CACHERO, José María (ed.); Leopoldo Alas "Clarín". Madrid, 1978.

Martinez CACHERO, José María, (ed.) La Regenta. Madrid, 1984.

SOBEJANO, Gonzalo. Clarín in his exemplary work. Madrid: Castalia, 1985.

SOBEJANO, Gonzalo (ed.). La Regenta. Madrid: Castalia, 1986.