Spring and Summer Sonatas, by Ramón del Valle-Inclán

So I begin Spanish Literature Month, as I hope to end it, with Ramón del Valle-Inclán, a writer more famous for his work as a playwright and who belonged to a group – along with Unamuno and Baroja – called the generation of 98, who appear, as far as I can tell, to reject realism – and support both modernism and post-modernism, but whose contribution, rather like that of the Russian writers of the Silver Age, is, for the sake of a Gallo-Germano-Celticism, conveniently ignored.

Valle-Inclán wrote a quartet of novellas based on the seasons, the recollections of the Marquis of Bradomín, a now aged aristocrat reflecting back on the romantic adventures of his youth. The Marquis is a kind of Don Juan figure (though he denies it; and, of course, Don Juans can come in many guises), his hero and text is Casanova; yet the loves he portrays are not manipulative loves but, if they end tragically, at least are genuinely felt. Romanticism is the keynote here: as is the case too sometimes with Unanumo and Baroja: the denial of realism leads to a world of adventure and overwhelming passions. In the Spring story, he falls for a young lady – an innocent – who is soon to enter a convent; in the Summer story, he travels to Mexico – in an attempt to forget another unrecounted love – and falls for a Mexican woman who has a sinister secret.


4 thoughts on “Spring and Summer Sonatas, by Ramón del Valle-Inclán

  1. I look forward to your other Valle-Inclán pieces, Obooki, not having read anything by him for several years and not really liking what I did read by him in the first place if I’m not confusing him with somebody else. His name keeps coming up on some of the lists that matter to me, though, so I’m sure I owe him another chance or two.

  2. I enjoyed this one a lot. Basic stories, well told, not too demanding. He seems to have been at times quite experimental, but these pieces weren’t.

  3. I didn’t know the writer but if it isn’t too experimental I might like it. I’ll certainly keep it in mind. I started Unamuno but will not be able to finish this month.
    I need to get to the Onetti know if I want to make it in time.

  4. I don’t know about the rest of his work, but this series of novellas is not remotely experimental. It would be better described as traditional storytelling.

    I was intending to get round to some Unamuno too. Not sure which yet though.

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