Essentially a realist, José María de Pereda attempted to express his moral convictions through his novels, while portraying honestly the conditions of life in Spain as he saw them. Pedro Sánchez is one of his most successful explorations of the character of the Spanish people, despite its essentially pessimistic political message. By the time he wrote Pedro Sánchez, he had come to feel that the revolution was not working, and he also felt scorn for the newly rich who exploited liberalism for their personal ends. The novel shows the sincere disillusion of an enthusiast who left the provinces and plunged into the political life of the capital. Perhaps Pereda’s didactic tendency injures his effects, and his grim satire occasionally degenerates into caricature, but Pereda understands character, and it is for this reason that Pedro Sánchez endures.
In treatment of subject matter and in composition, Pedro Sánchez is one of Pereda’s most finished works. It is a modern picaresque novel, an autobiography satirizing all the phases of the protagonist’s life as office seeker, journalist, political agitator, revolutionist, social lion, and governor. Pedro’s opinions of life and politics in Madrid doubtless reflect those of the author, who had followed a somewhat similar career in the capital before he yielded to homesickness and returned disillusioned to his native region. There is nothing heroic about Pedro. He is an...
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