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Leopoldo García-Alas y Ureña

Born 25 April 1852(1852-04-25)
Zamora, Spain
Died 13 June 1901 (aged 49)
Oviedo, Spain
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, journalist, critic, professor

Leopoldo García-Alas y Ureña (25 April 1852 – 13 June 1901), also known as Clarín, was a Spanish realist novelist born in Zamora. He died in Oviedo.

Alas spent his childhood living in León and Guadalajara, until he moved to Oviedo in 1865. There he studied Bachillerato (high school) and began his law studies. He lived in Madrid from 1871 to 1878, where he began his career as a journalist (adopting the pen-name "Clarín" in 1875) and he graduated with the thesis El Derecho y la Moralidad (Law and Morality) in 1878. He taught in Zaragoza from 1882 to 1883. In 1883 he returned to Oviedo to take up a position as professor of Roman law.

Above all, Clarín is the author of La Regenta, his masterpiece and one of the best novels of the XIX century. It is a long work, similar to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, one of its influences. Other influences included Naturalism and Kraussism, a philosophical current which promoted the cultural and ethical regeneration of Spain.

La Regenta is special for its great wealth of characters and secondary stories, while the main character's description is left slightly unfocused and vague. On the other hand, the downfall of the provincial lady has place amidst two very diverse suitors: the most handsome man in the city and the cathedral's priest. The depiction of this priest is a key part of the book.

For the description of the provincial atmosphere and the city's collective life, Clarín used techniques such as the internal monologue or the free indirect style, which makes the story be narrated by the characters themselves and allows the reader to penetrate in their intimacy.

In 1890, he published a new novel, Su único hijo. Even though most critics consider it as a lesser novel in comparison with La Regenta, it is equal to the former in the skill with which the technical resources are used. Su único hijo was originally meant to be the introduction to a trilogy, but aside from an outline and a few fragments of the two sequels, Su único hijo was Clarín's last full-length novel.

Apart from these works, Clarín is also the author of magnificent stories and of a large number of journalistic articles. He also wrote an essay, "La Literatura en 1881" (1882), in collaboration with Armando Palacio Valdes.

Leopoldo Alas remains a rather enigmatic figure in the Spanish literary world, leaving a legacy that encouraged the search for God and humanism simultaneously. This aberrant confluence has facilitated the presence of various interpretations regarding the author's writings, most noticeably of his masterpiece, La Regenta.

Works

  • La Regenta (The Regent's Wife) (1884-85) [Novel]
  • Su único hijo (His Only Son) (1890) [Novel]
  • Doña Berta (1892)
  • ¡Adiós, Cordera! (1892)
  • Cuentos morales (Moral Stories) (1896)
  • El gallo de Sócrates (Socrates' Rooster) (1900)
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Essays

  • "Solos de Clarín" (1881)
  • "La literatura en 1881" (1882)
  • "Sermón perdido" (1885)
  • "Nueva campaña" (1887)
  • "Ensayos y revistas" (1892)
  • "Palique" (1894)

External links

See also...
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Works at Cervantes Virtual

Simple English


Leopoldo Alas y Ureña (25 April 1851 - 13 May 1901), also known as Clarín was a Spanish realist writer born in Zamora. He died in Oviedo.

Alas spent his childhood living in León and Guadalajara, until he moved to Oviedo in 1865. There he studied Bachillerato (high school) and he began his law career. He lived in Madrid from 1871 to 1878, where he began his career as a journalist and he graduated with the thesis El Derecho y la Moralidad (Law and Morality). He taught in Zaragoza from 1882 to 1883. In 1883 he returned to Oviedo to take up a position as professor of Roman law.

He is the author of books such as La Regenta. It is a long work, similar to Flaubert's Madame Bovary, one of the books that helped to inspire it. Other influences included Naturalism and Kraussism, a philosophical trend which made cultural and moral change in Spain. He also wrote Nuevo viaje al Parnaso and La Literatura en 1881 (1882), working with Armando Palacio Valdes.

La Regenta is special for its great number of characters and other stories around the main story of the novel, and the main character is shown in a way that is not very clear. On the other hand, the downfall of the provincial lady has place amidst two very different men who want to marry her: the most handsome man in the city, who is the winner in the end, and the cathedral's priest. The depiction of this priest is a very important part of the book.

For the description of the provincial setting and the city's collective life, Clarín used styles such as the internal monologue or the free indirect style, which makes the story be told by the characters, not the narrator.

In 1890, he published a new novel, Su único hijo. Most critics do not think it is as good as La Regenta. Su único hijo was originally meant to be the first of a series of three books, but these were not written. The only parts of them that exist are an outline and a few fragments of two of the novels. Su único hijo was Clarín's last long book.

Clarín also wrote some stories and some journalistic articles.

Leopoldo Alas remains a rather unknown figure in the Spanish literary world. He searched for God and was Humanist at the same time. This strange joining has led to there being different views on the meaning of his writings. La Regenta in particular has many different views on what it could mean.

Works

  • La Regenta (The Regent's Wife) (1884-85) [Novel]
  • Su único hijo (His Only Son) (1890) [Novel]
  • Doña Berta (1892)
  • ¡Adiós, Cordera! (1892)
  • Cuentos morales (Moral Stories) (1896)
  • El gallo de Sócrates (Socrates' Rooster) (1900)

Essays

  • Solos de Clarín (1881)
  • La literatura en 1881 (1882)
  • Sermón perdido (1885)
  • Nueva campaña (1887)
  • Ensayos y revistas (1892)
  • Palique (1894)

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