Vicente Blasco Ibáñez (BLAHS-koh ee-BAHN-yayz) is an example of a writer better known and more greatly admired outside his country than in it. Except in his earliest works, in which he was truly regional in writing about Valencia, his work has been classified by Spaniards as journalistic, based on contemporary fads and interests.
He was born on January 29, 1867, in Valencia. Perhaps his Aragonese blood gave him the tenacious and rebellious temperament that characterizes his writing as much as does the dreamy idealism of his Valencian environment, for the pen that reinforced his idealism earned him several imprisonments while he was still in school. He was a political exile in France in 1889 for antiroyalist propaganda, and in Italy in 1898 for upholding Cuba’s right to revolt. On January 28, 1928, he died in Mentone, France, exiled for attacking dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera. Not until Spain became a republic was his body brought home.
Running away from home at the age of sixteen, Blasco Ibáñez entered the literary world as secretary in the fiction factory of Manuel Fernández y González, a Spanish writer of thrilling adventure yarns. Later he resigned, thinking that he might as well sign what he wrote, but his earliest efforts found no publisher. Much later, after he became famous, a number of his earlier pseudohistorical novels appeared in Spain and in translation in U.S. magazines to reveal him as a belated romanticist. His best...
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