Other literary forms
The first edition of the collected works (Obras completas, 1905-1935) of Juan Valera (vah-LEHR-ah) came to fifty-three volumes. In addition to his nine novels, he published poetry, drama, and short stories. He composed short stories early in his career, worked again in the genre in midcareer, and returned to the form more assiduously during the last decade of his life.
Valera also was a notable literary critic, with a number of volumes to his credit, among them Disertaciones y juicios literarios (1878; literary discourses and judgments), Apuntes sobre el nuevo arte de escribir novelas (1887; notes on the new art of writing novels), Nuevos estudios críticos (1883; new critical studies), and Cartas americanas (1889; American letters). If his criticism were to be faulted, it would be on the grounds of unwarranted benevolence toward some of his less gifted contemporaries and occasionally hastily conceived, shallow reviews; if it is to be especially praised, it is for opening the public’s eyes to the then largely unknown field of Latin American literature. In general, his point of view was classically conservative.
Finally, there is Valera’s five-volume edition of the Florilegio de poesías castellanas del siglo XIX (1902-1903; anthology of nineteenth century Spanish poetry) and his translation into Spanish of Adolf F. Schack’s Poesie und Kunst der Araber in Spanien und Sicilien (1865) as Poesía y arte en los árabes en España y Sicilia (1867, 1868, 1871). In addition to almost every form of literature, critical and creative alike, Valera wrote on matters political and social and left a large body of well-crafted letters, of which more than a thousand have already turned up, addressed to his many friends in Spain and abroad.