Vicente Blasco Ibáñez Biography


(Great Authors of World Literature, Critical Edition)

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...

(The entire section is 409 words.)


(Survey of Novels and Novellas)

Vicente Blasco Ibáñez was born in a room over a corner grocery in Valencia on January 29, 1867. From his parents, he inherited the vigor of the Aragonese peasants, and from an impoverished childhood, he gained the spirit of struggle and defiance. During his early years, the lad of sturdy build, brown eyes, and curly hair could be seen more often walking the beach of nearby Cabañal or talking to fishermen and sailors than sitting at his desk in school. By the age of fourteen, he had written a cloak-and-dagger novel, by age fifteen had published a short story in the Valencian dialect, and by age sixteen had run away from the University of Valencia to Madrid. There, while doing secretarial work for the aging writer Manuel Fernández y González, he gained the inspiration for his first series of lengthy writings—a dozen romances that he later repudiated. By age seventeen, he had published a poem advocating chopping off all the crowned heads of Europe, starting with Spain.

The death of Alfonso XII in 1885 marked the young writer’s start as republican conspirator and frequent political prisoner. After completing his law degree in 1888 and his first forced exile in France (brought on by increasingly anticlerical speeches), Blasco Ibáñez married his cousin, María Blasco del Cacho, who was to endure his tempestuous nature and stormy career. They had five children before their separation immediately prior to the outbreak of World War I. On November 12, 1894, Blasco Ibáñez released the first issue of El pueblo, a journal that he was to run virtually single-handedly and in which many of his best works would appear in serial form. It was into this enterprise that he poured all of his energy and stamina, as well as the entirety of his parents’ inheritance.

Blasco Ibáñez proved to be a born leader of crowds, self-assured, fluent in his oratory, with a booming voice whose warmth quickly dispelled any first impression of coldness that might have been caused by his pointed beard, his mustache, and his aquiline nose. As time passed, he grew to be increasingly impulsive and impatient to eliminate the...

(The entire section is 874 words.)