Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)


Village. Typical community of the Andalusian plain in southern Spain to which Luis de Vargas, a young man studying for the priesthood, returns in order to visit his father Don Pedro, the community’s reverend vicar. Having been away from the village since he was a child, the adult Luis observes that everything in it now seems smaller; his father’s house pales into relative insignificance by comparison with the seminary in which he is training for the priesthood. The orchards and flowery streams of the surrounding countryside initially seem more beautiful, although Luis soon begins to weary of their monotony and lack of intellectual stimulation.

Beyond the orchards are the vineyards and olive groves that provide the staple crops of the region. A sanctuary consecrated to the Virgin Mary, the patroness of the village, sits on the summit of a neighboring hill, while another small hermitage crowns a smaller hill called Calvary. The ruins of the ancient convent of Saint Francis de Paul are two miles away. The mountains of the Sierra Nevada form a backdrop to the scene.

In spite of all the ostentatious trappings of Roman Catholicism that surround the village, its inhabitants are not entirely disconnected from their ancestors’ pagan past. The festival of Saint John’s Day, which replaced more ancient celebrations associated with the summer solstice, is still tainted by paganism and primitive naturalism; the whole population moves out-of-doors, moving among little tables laden with confections and booths selling dolls and toys. The village clubhouse is thoroughly secularized; men go there to read newspapers, play cards and chess, and to watch cockfights, while wine-buyers from Xeres...

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Pepita Jiménez Bibliography

(Great Characters in Literature)

Bianchini, Andreina. “Pepita Jiménez: Ideology and Realism.” Hispanofila 33, no. 2 (January, 1990): 33-51. An examination of the novel’s relationship to ideology and idealism. Discusses the three-part structure of the work.

DeCoster, Cyrus C. Juan Valera. New York: Twayne, 1974. A very good resource for study of Valera’s works. Contains an overview of Juan Valera’s life and literary career and analyzes his literary characters and themes. There is a chapter devoted to Pepita Jiménez.

Lott, Robert. Language and Psychology in “Pepita Jiménez.” Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1970. A well-regarded study of the language and psychology found in Pepita Jiménez. The first part is an analysis of language, style, and rhetorical devices. The second section is a psychological examination of characters.

MacCurdy, G. Grant. “Mysticism, Love and Illumination in Pepita Jiménez.” Revista de Estudios Hispanicos 17, no. 3 (October, 1983): 323-334. This article is an original approach to studying Valera’s treatment of mysticism, love, and illumination.

Turner, Harriet S. “Nescit Labi Virtus: Authorial Self-Critique in Pepita Jiménez.” Kentucky Romance Quarterly 35, no. 3 (August, 1988): 347-357. Examines the omniscient narrator, the writer, the use of irony, and the relationship to virtue.