Biography of Wenceslao Ayguals de Izco (1801-1873)

Novelist and Spanish politician. He/She was born in Vinaroz (Castellón) in 1801. Still young, he/she settled in Barcelona where intended to learn the secrets of the trade. Since early age he/she showed a particular interest in the letters completed with a knowledge of fine arts. He/She attended gatherings and theatres, and met many men of culture of Barcelona (Aribau, López Soler...). He/She ensured his weapons of journalist in the Catalan press. He/She began his literary activities in 1820 with a public reading of poems at the Barcelona theatre and representation of its comedy a notice to the Kennel of spirit bretoniano. At the same time are an adaptation of Racine's Britannicus under the title of the first crime of Nero and two comic toys in an event: love Elf and the two rivals. In 1833 he/she moved to Madrid to work in the commercial House led by B. C. Aribau. There he/she continued his dramatic vocation with the comedy of customs flattery all (1833), premiered at the Prince theatre. Its liberal character, grown in their readings, sensitized on the occasion of the death of his brother Joaquin at the hands of the Carlist troops of general Cabrera, which prompted him to return to his homeland in order to confront the factious. In Valencia he/she composed and premiered to acclaim the blacks (1836) drama. In his village he/she was part of the boards of Defense, was Mayor and later MP for Castellón.

In 1841 he/she returned to Madrid where he/she continued his literary career. (1843) of the literary society typographic settlement Madrid Foundation led him to direct several newspapers publishing (the laughter, the laughter, chili, El Dómine Lucas...), who were relieving victims of censorship. The following year premiered its comedy Dios free us from an old! (1844) in the Opera House, and began with the collaboration of the humorous poet Juan Martínez Villergas the Songbook of the village (1848), collection of short stories, comedies, novels and poems. He/She started the narrative with some short novels as Ernestina, Tic - Tac, the blind Doubloons... In 1845 he/she translated and published the wandering Jew of Eugenio Sue, French novelist of soap opera that had good relations and that oriented its subsequent creation towards "social novel of ideas" or "popular novel". In 1845 he/she began Ayguals de Izco to publish, already following the formula of the delivery, María, the daughter of a labourer, adorned with beautiful engravings. The novel was a huge success, so that it reached twelve editions and was translated into French, Italian, German and Portuguese. The argument develops between 1833, date of the actual statute of Martínez de la Rosa, and 1837, mutiny of La Granja. The historical account allows you to analyze the political and social circumstances, and the marginalization of the proletarian environments. To give life to the historical facts recent includes an amoroso-sentimental fable in which the beautiful María is about to be the victim of lewd clergyman Fray Patricio, saving his love of Luis de Mendoza, future Marquis of Bellaflor. It is a novel of adventures of social content in which will reveal the ideas of Utopian socialism and a progressive humanitarianism. Ayguals advocates for needy classes, workers and artisans, the time that parses and their problems. Due to his success, he/she wrote a continuation under the title of La Marquise de Bellaflor or the child of the included (1846-47). Covers events ranging from the rebellion of the farm until the marriage of Isabel II. It continues the story of the Marquis de Bellaflor, now crossed by numerous parallel adventures, notably the episode of Paquita, mother of the child of the included, who had been seduced by a nobleman that has just married. The novel is well screened in its narrative elements, but social painting, without being absent, it is less deep. Subsequently expanded the adventures of María in a third novel Palace of the crimes or the people and their oppressors (1855) which forms a trilogy with the previous two. It is a detailed document of the dictatorship of Narváez, who was banned by the censorship for subverting the principles of the order. Poor and rich or Madrid witch appeared between l849-50, and reissued on three occasions (1850-51, twice; 1856). The Magisterium of Sue is replaced by Paul de Kock. In this work the author defends a moderate Republicanism. Now uses the mysterious character of the witch that makes and breaks adventures, especially in relation to the protagonists, a painter and her daughter Enriqueta, in love with Eduardo, son of the Duke of Azucena. It is a gallery of gorgeous social pictures, presented with delicacy and elegance. The Tiger of the Maeztrazgo or grumente General (1846-48) is dedicated to his brother Joaquin, dead by Cabrera. The novel, fictionalized biography of this general, shows a great aggressiveness against the Carlist leader that defines with extremely negative epithets. Still he/she wrote Ayguals de Izco other narrations, as the set of stories collected under the title of the executioners of humanity from the first century to the present day (Madrid, 1855). In it through universal history, painting the tyrants that attempted against popular sovereignty. It was banned by the censorship and could not finish the series. With the poor of Madrid (1856-57) returns to the theme of humble classes and marginalization, presenting us with characters of the underworld. In l859 published divine justice or the son of dishonor, which had some success and was reprinted twice in the same year. From 1859 he/she finished his literary activity. He/She continued living in Madrid, accommodated and darkly, until his death on January 17, 1873. The figure of Ayguals de Izco is an essential part of Spanish culture of the 1940s and 1950s decades. Defend democratico-progresistas ideas, expressed both in its political life and his literary production. His works draw accurately Madrid social world of his time, being especially interested in the working classes which describes with passion their hardships, problems and social pressures, reaching marginalized characters his pen. The evolution of the Spanish novel of the 19th century cannot be understood without calling in the writings of Ayguals de Izco.


Benitez, Ruben: Ideology of the Spanish soap opera: W. Ayguals de Izco (1801-1873), Madrid, José Porrúa Turanzas, 1979.

FERRERAS, J. I.: The novel serials (1840-1900), Madrid, Taurus, 1972.

ROMERO TOBAR, Leonardo: The popular Spanish novel of the 19th century, Madrid, Ariel, 1976.

ROMERO TOBAR, Leonardo: "form and content in the popular novel: Ayguals de Izco", Prohemio, III (1972), pp. 45-90.