Other Literary Forms
Having served his apprenticeship in journalism, Pedro Antonio de Alarcón did all the kinds of writing that were normal in that métier: sketches of daily life (cuadros de costumbres), book reviews, theater criticism, political reporting, and even editorial writing, for he served as editor of several journals in his younger years. His ambition, however, was to be a literary man, and the short stories he published in various journals were the part of his youthful journalistic activity that he took most seriously. They are also the work which first earned him a reputation as a writer. Trading on that reputation, he published his first novel at the age of twenty-two and attracted still more attention with a controversial play when he was only twenty-four. He served as a war correspondent during the fighting in North Africa between Morocco and Spain in 1859-1860, and he published his war articles as a book in 1861. In the edition he prepared of his complete works, Alarcón included a volume of literary criticism, a volume of travel pieces, a volume of cuadros de costumbres, and a volume of occasional short poems, all culled from his years as a journalist. His true claim to literary importance, however, resided in his six novels and his more than three dozen short stories.