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Juan Valera y Alcala-Galiano: Commander Mendoza (Hispanic Classics)


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Publisher Comments:

Juan Valera y Alcala-Galiano (1824-1905), one of nineteenth-century Spain's most respected authors, lived an international life due to a career in the diplomatic service, with postings to more than a half dozen countries in Europe and the Americas. Cosmopolitan, cultured, and urbane, Valera was fluent in a number of languages and read widely in all of them. A serious student of Spanish and foreign literatures, he wrote novels, short stories, essays, poetry, and literary criticism, in addition to carrying on a voluminous correspondence with several of his fellow Spanish writers and friends. The unifying thread of his work is art for art's sake, that is, beauty as the end and purpose of inspiration and creativity, a stance he commented on at some length in his introduction to the 1886 Appleton English translation of his first novel, Pepita Jimenez (1874), the tale of a young seminarian who falls in love with a young widow. Commander Mendoza (1877) tells the story of Don Fadrique Lopez de Mendoza, a man of seafaring adventures and a deist in the mold of the eighteenth-century philosophes, and Dona Blanca Roldan de Solis, a woman of unbounded pride and a Catholic driven by religious fanaticism, neither of which traits prevented her from having had an adulterous affair as a young woman in Lima, Peru, with Don Fadrique. The conflict that plays out in Commander Mendoza, with both principals now back in Spain, centers on the Commander's discovery of the marriageable daughter that he did not know he had, and it turns into a contest of wills that effects changes in both of them as the fate of their daughter hangs in the balance. Rich in characterization and exploration of human foibles, it is a work that continued to stand high on the list of Valera's favorites, for in 1885 he wrote in a letter to a friend: What would please me would be to continue writing novels like Pepita Jimenez and Commander Mendoza.

Book News Annotation:

Fedorchek (modern languages and literatures, Fairfield University, CT) gives a faithful translation of Juan Valer's classic Spanish novel Commander Mendoza. In this novel, Valera addresses the themes of sin and repentance as well as the ghosts of the past. The reader is given notice of this in the preface, where it is said that Mendoza's spirit still walks in his home awaiting release from purgatory. Valera's style is that of a narrator who steps back from the story to make comments on it to the reader. This facing-page dual language edition will be welcomed by readers of both languages. Distributed in North America by The David Brown Book Co. Annotation ©2010 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

Valera, Juan
Aris & Phillips
Fedorchek, Robert
McKenna, Susan
Fedorchek, Robert
Continental european
European - Spanish & Portuguese
Literature-A to Z
Hispanic Classics
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
History and Social Science » Archaeology » General

Juan Valera y Alcala-Galiano: Commander Mendoza (Hispanic Classics) New Trade Paper
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Product details 300 pages Aris & Phillips - English 9780856688584 Reviews:
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