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About the Author: Juan Valera

Juan Valera y Alcalá-Galiano was a Spanish realist author, writer and political figure.
He was born at Cabra, in the province of Córdoba, and was educated at Málaga and at the University of Granada, where he took his degree in law, and then entered upon a diplomatic career (1847). Over the next five decades, Valera filled a number of positions in a variety of various places. He accompanied the Spanish Ambassador to Naples. Afterwards, he was a member of the Spanish legations at Lisbon (1850), Rio de Janeiro (1851–53), Dresden and St. Petersburg (1854–57). After his return to Madrid, he became one of the editors of the liberal journal El Contemporáneo (1859), and was appointed Minister to Frankfurt (1865). After the revolution of 1868 he was appointed Assistant Secretary of State and (1871) Director of Public Instruction. During the reign of Alphonso XII he was Minister to Lisbon (1881–83), Washington (1883–86), and Brussels (1886–88), and in 1893-95 Ambassador to Vienna. He was elected to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in 1900.

Throughout his diplomatic and political activity he produced works which rank among the highest that his country's literature contains. For purity of diction and beauty of style Valera has never been surpassed in Spain. Pepita Jiménez, which appeared as a serial in 1874, is probably his best known work; it has since been translated into many languages. It depicts the gradual realization by a young seminarian of the empty vanity of his vocation, culminating in a shattering denouement. Other novels are Las ilusions del doctor Faustino (1875), El comendador Mendoza (1877), Pasarse de listo, and Doña Luz (1879). All of the foregoing novels were written around the time when he abandoned his political activities. He was also a supporter of Iberian Federalism.


Pepita Jimenez Cover Image

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Paperback, Published in Dec 2006 by Biblioteca Nueva

ISBN10: 8497424638 | ISBN13: 9788497424639

In Spanish, annotated edition. Born in Andalucia in 1824 Juan Valera y Alcala Galiano was a writer, diplomat, politician, poet and literary critic. Among his eight novels, some unfinished, Pepita Jimenez undoubtedly stands out. The interior voice of the author is permanently present, and underlines his prime concerns: the quest for the aesthetic and philosophical ideal. "Pepita Jiminez" was first published in 1874. Based on real facts, in this novel the literary motivations and intention of the author appear with unusual strength: worlds full of philosophical meditation, in which love and religiousness marked characters struggle between their own consciences and desires. Written as a series of letters the main character is Luis de Vargas, a priest-to-be full of mistic fire. Don Luis, having been raised after his mother's decease by his uncle the Dean, travels to his longtime widowed father's town to meet a young widow who his father is willing to marry. She is Pepita Jimenez, very young, beautiful and sincere, who rapidly catches the youth's eye and makes him plunge into a whirlwind of contradictions: his loyalty towards his father, his vows and his heart desires collide while his uncle, the Dean tries to steer him away from temptation. Though quite predictable in its ending, Pepita Jimenez constitutes a delicious reading due to Valera's mastery of Spanish, a nowadays undisputable characteristic that however received more than his due share of criticism in his own times.

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