Other Literary Forms

(Critical Edition of Dramatic Literature)

The brothers Serafín Álvarez Quintero and Joaquín Álvarez Quintero were best known for their comedies, many of which were translated from the original Spanish into several other languages. They also, however, contributed work in other literary genres. Working together, they produced a novel, a number of fine short stories, and many poems, some of which were incorporated into their plays. Furthermore, as young men still developing their dramatic talent, they published theater reviews and other pieces of literary journalism.

One of the best known of their nondramatic works, La madrecita (1919; the little mother), is a short novel whose profound structure and sensibility achieved wide acclaim from the literary public. Also, their collection of short stories Con los ojos (1938; with the eyes) shows, as much as their plays, the graceful life lived around the patios of the Spanish province of Andalucía. Although these stories were written during the most fruitful period of the authors’ lives and achieved general acceptance, some critics found fault with the Álvarez Quintero brothers’ portrayal of Spanish life and customs, charging them with inaccuracies. Some critics singled out the brothers’ dialogue, which, the critics alleged, did not reflect the actual speech patterns of the various types of characters who are portrayed in their works. Such criticisms, however, miss the point: The aim of the Álvarez Quinteros was to create, in the various genres in which they wrote, a sui generis reality—a self-contained imaginary world.