Emilia Pardo Bazán Bazán, Emilia Pardo - Essay


(Short Story Criticism)

Emilia Pardo Bazán 1851-1921

Spanish short story writer, novelist, essayist, and historian.

Emilia Pardo Bazán achieved fame in her time for her unconventional views concerning art. She introduced Emile Zola's naturalism to Spanish letters, although she herself rejected many of naturalism's principles. A prolific author in many genres, Pardo Bazán published over five hundred short stories during her career, in addition to twenty novels and a significant amount of nonfiction. Her works are noted for their psychological insight and realism, although their innovative artistic tenets are what have made Pardo Bazán one of the most important woman authors of pre-twentieth-century Spain.

Biographical Information

Pardo Bazán was born on September 16, 1851, in the province of Galicia, a region treated with great passion in her works. She was born in the village of La Coruna, a coastal town that reflected cosmopolitan as well as traditional influences. Her father was given the title of Count in 1871, and her family socialized with the aristocratic elite of society. Pardo Bazán married Jose Quiroga in 1868, and later traveled with him throughout Europe, meeting many of the leading intellectual and literary figures of the day, including Victor Hugo. She gave birth to a son, Jaime, in 1876, and a daughter, Blanca, in 1879, when she also published her first novel, Pascual López. Her literary productivity accelerated, and she began publishing many works, including the influential collection of essays, La cuestion palpitante in 1882. In the 1880s Pardo Bazán wrote most of her short stories, including the collections Cuentos de Marineda, Cuentos nuevos, and Cuentos de amor. King Alfonso XIII made Pardo Bazán a Countess in 1907, and she campaigned fiercely to be included in the academic establishment of the nation. In 1910, she became Advisor of the Ministry of Education and six years later a professor at Central University of Madrid. She died on May 12, 1921 in Madrid.

Major Works of Short Fiction

The majority of Pardo Bazán's short stories were written between 1879 and 1890. A devout Catholic, her short fiction is deeply moral. At the same time, she embraced many contemporary artistic theories, which prompted widespread controversy during her life. Also controversial was her frequent usage of a male narrator. Pardo Bazán's stories are generally divided into two categories; her early tales are lively and dramatic, while her later, more psychological and often pessimistic fiction is marked by "barrenness" and "spiritual isolation," according to Porfirio Sanchez. The majority of her works focus on characters rather than action. Most concern such broad themes as love and death, although some stories delve into such daring subjects as incest.

Critical Reception

Many critics have sought to interpret Pardo Bazán's short fiction, usually drawing from her many essays and novels for support. Others have focused on how her fiction evolved over time. The majority of critics, however, have been most interested in Pardo Bazán the woman, her contribution to Spanish literature in general, and her role in world literature in particular. According to John W. Kronik, "An insatiable intellectual curiosity and all-encompassing cosmopolitan drive that sought out—for approval or for rejection—whatever was interesting and new beyond the Pyrenees were trademarks of the Countess for which she was both praised and attacked by her contemporaries and for which subsequent critics have bestowed recognition of her."

Principal Works

(Short Story Criticism)

Short Fiction

La dama joven 1885

Insolación [Midsummer Madness] 1889; expanded edition, 1923

Cuentos escogidos 1891

Cuentos de Marineda 1892

Cuentos nuevos 1894

Arco iris 1895

Novelas ejemplares 1895

Cuentos de amor 1898

Cuentos sacro-profanos 1899

Un destripador de antaño y otros cuentos 1900

En tranvía: Cuentos dramáticos 1901

Cuentos antiguas 1902

Cuentos de la patria 1902

Cuentos de Navidad y Reyes 1902

Cuentos del terruño 1907

El fondo de alma 1907

La sirena negra (novella) 1908

Sud exprés 1909

Belcebúi Novelas breves 1912

Cuentos trágicos 1913

Cuentos de la tierra 1923

Cuadros religiosas 1925

Short Stories 1935

Pardo Bazán 1945

Cuentos 1984

Las setas y otros cuentos 1988

Cuentos completos. 4 vols. 1990

Other Major Works

Jáime (poetry) 1876

Pascual López, Autobiografía de un estudiante de medicina (novel) 1879

Un viaje de novios [A Wedding Trip] (novel) 1881

La cuestión palpitante (criticism) 1883

La tribuna (novel) 1883

El cisne de Vilamorta [Shattered Hope, or The Swan of Vilamorta] (novel) 1885

Los pazos de Ulloa [The House of Ulloa] (novel) 1886

La madre naturaleza (novel) 1887

Al pie de la torre Eiffel (essays) 1889

Una cristiana [Secret of the Yew Tree, or, A Christian Woman] (novel) 1890

Por Francia y por Alemania (nonfiction) 1890

La prueba (novel) 1890

La piedra angular [The Angular Stone] (novel) 1891

Adán y Eva: Doña Milagros (novel) 1894

Adán y Eva: Memorias de un solterón (novel) 1896

El saludo de las brujas (novel) 1897

El tesoro de Gastón (novel) 1897

El niño de Guzmán (novel) 1899

Misterio [The Mystery of the Lost Dauphin (Louis XVII)] (novel) 1903

La suerte (play) 1904

La Quimera (novel) 1905

Cuesta abajo (play) 1906

Verdad (play) 1906

La literatura franscesca moderna. 3 vols. (nonfiction) 1910-14

Dulce dueño (novel) 1911

El porvenir de la literatura después de la guerra (lectures) 1917

El lirismo en al poesía francesa (nonfiction) 1923

John W. Kronik (essay date 1966)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Emilia Pardo Bazán and the Phenomenon of French Decadentism," in Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, Vol. 81, No. 5, October, 1966, pp. 418-27.

[In the following essay, Kronik describes Pardo Bazán's acceptance of some elements of Decadentism and rejection of others.]

The fourth volume in the series of studies that Emilia Pardo Bazán had entitled La literatura francesa moderna was to bear the caption of La decadencia. In the three previous volumes the Countess had followed the evolution of the French literary process of the nineteenth century from romanticism to naturalism, and in the last she planned to gather old notes and new ideas into an analysis of end-of-the-century trends. She never brought this project to fruition, but she did leave dispersed among her many other critical writings her ideas and interpretations touching on this phenomenon that she labeled variously "la decadencia" or "el decadentismo."

Pardo Bazán did not commit herself to a specific definition of decadentism anywhere in her writings. It is clear, however, that she gave the word a broad literary base. In terms of time, she limited the apogee of decadentism to the years approximately between 1880 and 1915. Within this period, she labeled all the general literary currents as decadent, without tracing subtle dividing lines among the sundry "isms" then extant. She did not, for example, divorce symbolism from decadentism. On the other hand, she did appreciate the social-historical phenomenon of decadence and the literary one as events that were at the same time causally related and endowed with independent life and traits. She observed and understood the first and commented on the second, offering in the course of her writings on the topic her vision of the development and character of French decadentism as well as a series of judgments of it. In the process she revealed some of her own strengths and prejudices as a critic.

Always of a relativistic bent, Pardo Bazán drew a connecting line between literary decadence and non-literary events of the day. Then, when focusing exclusively on literary matters, she continued to construct her assessments on a foundation of historical evolution. The world of letters, as she understood it, reflected the social group from which it stemmed, and she pointed out that the society of which decadent literature was a product suffered the same weaknesses as the writings. She stated the matter succinctly [in Porvenir de la literatura después de la guerra, 1917] in these words:

Y como quiera que detrás de cada ideal está un vasto mar de sentimientos, y el sentimiento no quiere morir, la literatura reflejó esta protesta, y apartándose de la muchedumbre, se refugió (más o menos sincera en sus quejas y aislamientos) en la vida interior, artística y sentimental—cosa de iniciados, sin popularidad alguna—. En una hora de decadencia, fué decadente, y no podía ser otra cosa. En un mundo moralmente enfermo, fué morbosa, mostró lesiones generales de todo el organismo. Los caracteres de esta literatura, difíciles de precisar porque carece de la unidad sistemática de las escuelas, fueron el misticismo, el simbolismo, el satanismo, el sadismo, el sobrenaturalismo, la poetización de lo nefando, la magia negra, el espiritismo, el hermetismo, el ocultismo, el erotismo cerebral, y hasta, literariamente, el gongorismo, y lo que, con gracia, se ha llamado el oscurismo . . .

La literatura no es causa, sino efecto y expresión social. Sería error ver en las escuelas y en los excelsos escritores decadentistas, que los hubo, al principio, culpa muy grave. Mirando atrás se ve mejor hasta qué punto la literatura es obra del período en que se produce, y de los anteriores . . .

Pardo Bazán saw in the collapse of the Second Empire and in its defeat at the hands of Prussia at least a partial cause for the decadence evident in French letters thereafter [as noted in La literatura francesa]: "Las lesiones internas causadas por el desastre no contribuyeron poco a la aparición de los desequilibrados, diletantes, escépticos, pesimistas satíricos, melancólicos, devotos de la nada y de Satanás." There was a weakening of the spirit, a lack of regenerative impulse, a denial of nationality, a failure on the part of society to formulate the ideals that it wished to substitute for yesterday's ideals. Naturally, the literary consequence of this miscarriage of a vain last effort at national splendor had been germinating for some time, and Pardo Bazán traced to the very beginnings of the period what she called the "germen morboso" of nineteenth-century French literature. The three decades of decadentism's flowering were simply a fated heir, the victim of a consuming process that Pardo Bazán viewed not as a natural death or the inevitable end of a literary current, but as a congenital disease leading to disintegration and anarchy and which she dubbed, with combined horror and admiration, "un bello caso clínico" endowed with "dolorosa magnificencia" [La literatura francesa]. The forebears and disseminators of decadence in literature were of course the romantics.

Pardo Bazán habitually referred to the years falling approximately between 1820 and 1850 as the "momento romántico de escuela," insinuating thereby the existence of a future moment that would also be classifiable as romantic though not as a school. At one time she arrived at a tripartite classification of the post-romantic era, in whose successive phases—1) transition from romanticism to naturalism; 2) naturalism; 3) neoidealism, decadence, and anarchy—she perceived a rapid decomposition of the surviving elements of romanticism that, nonetheless, withstood annihilation and persisted. Usually she simply called the final phase neoromanticism, a term by which she seemed to imply not a rebirth, but a modified revivification built on a latent continuity of values in decline. Thus she ranked Mallarmé and Verlaine and all the symbolists and other decadents, despite their anti-Hugo posture, among the descendants of Hugo insofar as the poet laureate of romanticism had preceded them in looking upon words not just as representations of ideas, but full of musical, pictorial, sensual values. In the suggestivity of the language used by Lamartine, in the mysterious rhythm of his sentences, in his voluptuous languor and imprecision, Pardo Bazán also saw roots of the esthetic to which the decadents were to aspire. Barbey d'Aurevilly, with his Manichean conception of reality, was another spiritual ancestor of the group; and even in some of the poems of Béranger, whom she thought of as a preromantic, Pardo Bazán encountered ideas later exploited by "el neorromanticismo decadente"; while George Sand, with her implacable insistence on the theme of love—"este virus que desorganiza y corrompe la literatura francesa"—was to blame in a measure for the literary decadence that brewed during the age of romanticism and became the salient feature of neoromanticism [La literatura francesa].

In more general terms, Pardo Bazán considered both romanticism and the decadent movements as temporary interruptions of the typically French proclivity toward classicism, which she evidently interpreted in the light of a social orientation: the classicists wrote not for themselves, but for the general culture of an age. Had the romantics not mended their ways after a time, she said, the public would have abandoned them just as it later abandoned the romantic offshoots that took the forms of decadentism. The Countess was treading on tenuous ground with these generalizations, and she later softened or at least drew exceptions to them; but she was of course correct to the extent that the writers of both periods—though in highly different degrees—did not make it their guiding principle to operate within the domain of reason, but rather on the basis of lyric impulse. For the romantics and the symbolists and even for later heirs of the movements, such as Valéry, this impulse resulted in a solipsistic philosophy that denied the naturalistic view of the outside world as a force imposing itself on the individual and, instead, allowed the self full freedom to impress its image onto exterior reality and actually to shape and determine its form. Understanding this, Pardo Bazán maintained that nineteenth-century lyricism was a phenomenon of individualism, more specifically a protest on the part of the rebellious individual against the formulas of society.

Pardo Bazán of course recognized fully that romanticism and what she called neoromanticism were not the same thing despite the existence of the individualistic impulse as their common denominator. Differences in motives, orientation, and expression placed the artists of the two periods in separate fields of the lyric spectrum. The symbolists, for their part—their strong lyric impulse notwithstanding—were far too calculating in their artistic paths to be set at one with the romantics of earlier in the century. The sophistication of Verlaine and others of his group distinguished them from their predecessors, who were not so careful to avoid the pitfalls of rule by sentiment. In some instances the writers of the decadence were actually no less vociferous than those of the generation before them in their rebellion against romanticism, particularly against aspects of it such as the cults of nature and ideal love. Nonetheless, though sentimentalism was not one of their driving forces, the "finde siècle" groups did draw inspiration from the romantics, and despite sharp differences their connection with romanticism after the interlude of positivism is undeniable. It must be said to the credit of Pardo Bazán that the link she established between the two periods in question by no means resulted from a moment of critical aberration on her part. Not only did she show acute observation in certain matters of detail, but she was in consonance with critics of our own day who, delving more deeply into the problem, have tended to view the entire nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a cultural development of romanticism and romanticism itself as a dynamic force that has not yet been superseded.

When Pardo Bazán set out to evaluate the literary phenomenon of French decadence, she immediately fell victim, in spite of the strength of her personality, to an unavoidable play between her inclinations as a private individual and her obligations as a critic. The cosmopolitan and the traditional were forces that drove her at all times in conflicting directions. This was the case many years earlier when she launched, in her much-cited La cuestión palpitante, an exposition of French naturalism, even though she could never wholly embrace its scientific implications; and the same dual impulse still guided her in her later years when she confronted the problem of decadence. Thus, she was unable to stifle her indignation at the general aspects of the decadent trends that offended her sense of propriety, and she decried the element of humbug in them. Yet, she did reserve praise, on the one hand, for those of their traits that aroused her sympathy and, on the other, for those writers among them—admittedly few in number—who showed both talent and sincerity.

Surprisingly perhaps, the realm in which the Countess was willing to grant the decadents the most concessions was in the matter of form. Her heart had always gone out to the esthetic of "poésie pure," and the writer whose name literally dotted her critical writings and who fared well at every turn was Théophile Gautier. Though she felt partial to the author of Voyage en Espagne for the homage he had paid her native land, what Pardo Bazán esteemed most in Mademoiselle de Maupin and in Gautier's poetry was the pictorial element, the delicacy and intensity of the style. She saw in Gautier a master of poetic artifice in whose impassive and impersonal art she relished the perfection of form, the picturesque, evocative descriptions, the defense of beauty in the face of the threat imposed by science. Though she did not apply the formula to her own work, she was in sympathy with Gautier's esthetic fanaticism and his Hellenic concept of precise plastic beauty, and she was willing to be known as a "ferviente devota del 'estilista impecable'."

In admiring Gautier, Pardo Bazán admired a decadetit, and in praising especially the qualities of his language, she was sanctioning a central feature of decadentism and its allies: the search for the rare, refined, and artificial, the expression of what was, theretofore unexpressable, the worship of created beauty as a transcendence of nature. When dealing with writers like Gautier or Verlaine, Pardo Bazán readily warmed to the rhythmic phrasings of their prose and to their verses designed to please the senses. In fact, she credited romanticism with a stylistic renovation of poetry in that it disposed of the alexandrine and restored fresher, more lightsome meters, and she traced a marked improvement in the quality of French versification from the days of Musset, through Gautier, Baudelaire, and others, to those of Richepin, in the process of which, she said [in Por Francia y por Alemania, 1890], "el artificio métrico ha llegado a ser un dechado de perfección." Nothing in her writings justifies any suspicion that Pardo Bazán saw a weakening of this perfecting trend in the hands of the decadents and symbolists who were contemporaries of Richepin. This is not to suggest that she preserved any patience for what she regarded as the symbolists' willful obfuscation of ideas through language, but she did in more than one instance declare herself in favor of the symbolists' conception of poetic expression. Speaking of the symbolists as if she were dealing with a neo-baroque resurgence, she declared them to be the inevitable concomitant of an enervated age shackled to the gods of formalism, ultrarefinement, glitter, and extravagance. Yet, filtering through the meshwork of censure, gentle or captious as the occasion demanded, came Pardo Bazán's unselfconscious recognition of the metrical perfection of French poetry and of the far greater originality exercised by French than by Spanish poets of the day. She was, then, receptive to concentration on form provided that the impulse was esthetic and the result artistic, that is, in her eyes perfect and elevated.

Much as she admired its vehicle of expression, when the time came to evaluate decadentism in general terms, Pardo Bazán could not help standing in moral judgment over it. She simply did not like the attitudes of these writers whose convictions clashed with her own. As early as in La cuestión palpitante, she pointed out that the younger generation of the period sat in obedience to an eclectic drive that often impelled it to seek out what was strange in preference to what was beautiful. The decadents, as she saw them, liked to cry "no" to the world purely for the pleasure to be derived from open defiance of established mores. This to her constituted a waste of energies and resulted in an art whose porousness created an abyss between it and its respondent and at its worst degenerated into an incomprehensible show of superficiality. Pardo Bazán, into whose lines one can often read a certain predilection for classicism despite her love of specific romantics or symbolists, could not condone the obscuring tactics of the decadents, and she decried their perversities, their states of exaltation, their search for inspiration in immorality, their subversion of ethical standards.

In partial explanation of the decadents' failings, the Countess had recourse once more to the growth of individualism. She viewed the individualistic impulse not only as a phenomenon linking romanticism and post-romantic decadentism, but as a potent force that exercised a nefarious effect on man and his habits, and his habits included his art. Speaking of the earlier of the two periods and pointing an admonishing finger at the example of Nerval and his "locura romántica," she explained that he was a victim of the extravagance of the romantic moment. When its doctrine touched lesser figures, rather than the vigorous, exceptional ones like Hugo, Lamartine, and Vigny, it reaped as its only fruit ineptness in art and in life. Had romanticism been a healthy force, she continued, it would have given life to all men. But a doctrine that emphasized the self and eclipsed everything else, that knew no...

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Porfirio Sánchez (essay date 1969)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "How and Why Emilia Pardo Bazan Went from the Novel to the Short Story," in Romance Notes, Vol. 11, 1969, pp. 309-14.

[In the following essay, Sanchez describes Pardo Bazán's shift in artistic focus toward short fiction.]

Emilia Pardo Bazán published her first novel, Pascual López, autobiografía de un estudiante de medicina in 1879, and her last of twenty novels, Dulce dueño in 1911. Between 1879 and 1890 she published ten of her twenty novels and only nine of over five hundred short stories. In what here will be called her second period of writing, that is from 1900 to 1919, Pardo Bazán dedicated more and more of her time each year to the...

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Thomas Feeny (essay date 1977)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Child as Redeemer and Victim in Pardo Bazán's Short Fiction," in Revista de Estudios Hispanicos, Vol. 11, 1977, pp. 425-32.

[In the following essay, Feeny explores the symbolic significance of children in Pardo Bazán's short fiction.]

A study of the characters in Pardo Bazán's short fiction reveals the inordinate significance she attaches to the role of the child. Repeatedly she portrays him as redeemer of man or as victim, either of society or of destiny. In an attempt to shed light on the author's particular vision of the child, I shall consider several of her many works that cast him in the role of redeemer or victim.

Through his...

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Thomas Feeny (essay date 1978)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Pardo Bazán's Pessimistic View of Love as Revealed in Cuentos de amor," in Hispanofila, Vol. 64, 1978, pp. 7-14.

[In the following essay, Feeny reviews the stories collected in Pardo Bazán's Cuentos de amor.]

On examining Emilia Pardo Bazán's collection of short stories intitled Cuentos de amor, the reader might well wonder at the exceedingly grim view of love the author reveals in these tales. For although the theme of love is touched upon in nearly all of the forty-three stories, it will almost never be that of joyous or blissful love. Rather, Pardo Bazán chooses to write about love unfulfilled ("El viajero," "Más allá"); or love...

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Thomas Feeny (essay date 1980)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Illusion and the Don Juan Theme in Pardo Bazán's Cuentos de amor," in Hispanic Journal, Vol. 1, No. 2, 1980, pp. 67-71.

[In the essay below, Feeny explores the use of a Don Juan figure who does not take advantage of his prey in three of Pardo Bazán's short stories.]

Within Pardo Bazán's collection of short stories, Cuentos de amor, we find three very brief tales with essentially the same theme: the failure of a Don Juan figure to take advantage of possible prey. Despite this similarity of theme, in her handling of this material the author projects two rather different images of herself. Here and elsewhere in her fiction, Pardo Bazán...

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Lou Charnon-Deutsch (essay date 1981)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Naturalism in the Short Fiction of Emilia Pardo Bazan," in Hispanic Journal, Vol. 3, No. 1, Fall, 1981, pp. 73-85.

[In the following excerpt, Charnon-Deutsch explores the influence of Emile Zola on Pardo Bazán's short fiction.]

Naturalism was debated in Spain even before translation of Zola's works appeared, but it was not until Emilia Pardo Bazán published her controversial La cuestión palpitante (1882-83) that critics began lining up in earnest on either side of the issue which bore so many sociological and ethical overtones. The series of articles that make up La cuestión failed to convince the Spanish readership that the experimentation...

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Carolyn Richardson Durham (essay date 1989)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Subversion in Two Short Stories by Emilia Pardo Bazán, in Letras Peninsulares, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring, 1989, pp. 55-64.

[In the following excerpt, Durham discusses Pardo Bazán's use of the grotesque to explain the status of women in society.]

Although Emilia Pardo Bazán was admired by her contemporaries for the ability to write "like a man," she often used her work to address the concerns of women. Her ability to synthesize diverse ideas and literary currents characterizes her work from the time of her rise to prominence as the author of La cuestión palpitante. Her reputation as a pacesetter was further confirmed when she assimilated the structure of...

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Francie Cate-Arries (essay date 1992)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Murderous Impulses and Moral Ambiguity: Emilia Pardo Bazán's Crime Stories," in Romance Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 2, May, 1992, pp. 205-10.

[In the following essay, Cate-Arries examines Pardo Bazán's frequent use of crime in her short fiction.]

In an article published in La Ilustración Artística in 1909, Emilia Pardo Bazán writes somewhat wistfully of her secret desire to join the ranks of professional crime solvers: "Todos llevamos dentro algo de instinto policíaco; cuando leo en la prensa el relato de un crimen, experimento deseos de verlo todo, los sitios, los muebles, suponiendo que, de poder hacerlo así, averiguaría mucho y encontraría la...

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Peter P. Ashworth (essay date 1992)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Of Spinning Wheels and Witches: Pardo Bazán's 'Afra' and La bruja" in Letras Femeninas, Vol. 18, Nos. 1-2, 1992, pp. 108-18.

[In the essay below, Ashworth details similarities between one of Pardo Bazán's short stories and the drama La bruja, shedding insight on Pardo Bazán's narrative technique.]

Pardo Bazán's short story "Afra" begins in a theater where the narrator and his friend are watching a performance of La bruja, a zarzuela whose initial image is that of women spinning at their wheels and singing about their work while the men drink and play cards:

Hilemos todas


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Joyce Tolliver (essay date 1992)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "'La que entrega la mirada, lo entrega todo': The Sexual Economy of the Gaze in Pardo Bazan's 'La Mirada'," in Romance Languages Annual, Vol. 4, 1992, pp. 620-26.

[In the following essay, Tolliver discusses the sexual meaning of the lover's gaze in Pardo Bazán's short story "La Mirada."]

In Pardo Bazán's 1908 story, "La mirada," a character identified only as a "señorito" makes the following pronouncement: "la que entrega la mirada, lo entrega todo." This comment encapsulates the complex dynamic of the gaze between men and women, for it clearly associates sexuality with the gaze, and both of these with notions of trade, surrender, power and control. "La...

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Robert M. Fedorchek (essay date 1993)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Translator's Foreward," in The White Horse and Other Stories, Associated University Presses, 1993, pp. 9-13.

[In the following excerpt, Fedorchek places Pardo Bazán in the context of some of her contemporaries.]

An admired novelist and a respected critic, Emilia Pardo Bazán is also considered, by virtually all scholars and students of Spanish literature, one of nineteenth-century Spain's foremost short story writers. Others (Leopoldo Alas) can be more profound and some (Pedro Antonio de Alarcón and Armando Palacio Valdés) are considerably more gifted with a sense of humor, but few of her Spanish contemporaries have her range and none her volume. The critic...

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Janet Pérez (essay date 1995)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: "Subversion of Victorian Values and Idea Types: Pardo Bazán and the Ángel del hogar," in Hispanofila, Vol. 113, 1995, pp. 31-44.

[In the following essay, Pérez examines several of the stories collected in Pardo Bazán's Cuentos de Marineda, which she considers "ironic or otherwise subversive reactions to the Victorian ideal."]

The mention of the word "Victorian" evokes a world unto itself, a closed world based largely on authority: God, the church, parents, elders, the upper classes. And Emilia Pardo Bazán was—among other things—a Victorian writer, born and raised during the long reign of Victoria Regina (1837-1901), who wrote her most...

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Further Reading

(Short Story Criticism)

Bieder, Maryellen. "Emilia Pardo Bazán and Literary Women: Women Reading Women's Writing in Late 19th-century Spain." Revista Hispanica Moderna XLVI, No. 1 (June 1993): 19-33.

Discusses Pardo Bazán's distancing herself from other women writers, as well as her refusal to play the self-effacing role expected of women writers.

Brown, Donald Fowler. "Conflicting Voices," in The Catholic Naturalism of Pardo Bazán. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1957, pp. 145-55.

Summarizes widely varying critical assessments of Pardo Bazán.

Giles, Mary E....

(The entire section is 526 words.)