Biography of Emilia Gayangos de Riaño (ss. XIX-XX)

Writer and Spanish translator, born in the mid-19th century and died in the next century. Cultured and intelligent woman, possessing an unusual instruction between the of its time, is educated as a child in an environment of humanistic culture which allowed him to develop very soon his innate literary vocation.

She was the daughter of the prestigious philologist, historian and bibliophile Seville Pascual de Gayangos y Arce, and a Lady of English descent, Doña Francisca de Rebll, which in turn was the daughter of a very remembered by its tenets of radical English politician. His father, the young Emilia inherited the literary past, the bookish culture love interest and a select group of friends in whose dominions - the most influential in the intellectual landscape of his time - moved with ease from his childhood (thus, v. gr., maintained close relations with don Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo, who publicly praised the intellectual skills of Emilia Gayangos). Through his mother, he received a liberal spirit which helped him to navigate safely in those cultural circles of his time, characterized by the strong presence of male figures.

He had the opportunity, also completed his academic training in the best European schools, where it was feeding on love towards certain countries (such as Britain, Italy and Switzerland) that comes out in the abundant correspondence that, from there, remained with their parents. On his return to Spain, integrated back into the cultural forums in which his family moved married don granadino Juan Facundo Riaño Montero, Professor of Arabic at Granada and history of art at the diplomatic school of Madrid. Following this link, the presence of Emilia Gayangos in the intellectual circles of the country was on the rise, since her husband came to different positions have been featured within the Spanish administration, including that of Director-General of public instruction (updated which agreed in 1881).

The literary work of Emilia Gayangos de Riaño was reflected in two brilliant translations which gave to the press at the end of the 19th century, both arising from interest European book culture and its mastery of the main languages of the continent. It's the works entitled journey to Spain (1446-48). Directly translated from the German by Emilia Gayangos de Riaño (Madrid: V. Faure, 1883), and relationship of a trip through Europe with the pilgrimage to Santiago in Galicia, verified at the end of the 15th century by martyr, Bishop of Arzendjan. Translated from the Armenian by M. T. Saint Martin and the French by Emilia Gayangos de Riaño (Madrid: Fontanet, 1898).

Aside from these two translations, Emilia Gayangos remained with his father a very interesting epistolary relationship, which, as a whole, can be seen as an extraordinary fresco of the society of his time, analyzed from the perspective of a cultured woman who also knows the reality of other neighbouring countries.


Calderon QUINTANO, José Antonio. "Correspondence of don Pascual de Gayangos and his daughter Emilia Gayangos in the British Museum", in Bulletin of the Royal Spanish Academy, CLXXXII (1985), pp. 217-308.

Simon PALMER, Carmen. Spanish writers of the 19th century. Manual biobibliografico (Madrid: Castalia, 1991).