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Alarcón y Ariza, Pedro Antonio de

Entry updated 16 January 2023. Tagged: Author.

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(1833-1891) Spanish author, initially famous for travel writings, though now know mainly as the author of El sombrero de tres picos (1874; trans anon as The Three-Cornered Hat 1891), a novella based on a traditional ballad which became famous after Manuel de Falla (1876-1946) composed a ballet in 1919 based on the tale. Alarcón is of some sf interest for his early novel, "El amigo de la muerte" (1852 El eco de occidente; trans Mrs Francis J A Darr as The Strange Friend of Tito Gil 1890; new trans Mary J Serrano as The Friend of Death: A Fantastic Tale 1891), which is set initially in the eighteenth century, where a potential Suicide signs a compact with Death, progressing from there to the year 2316, where the now-dead protagonist witnesses the End of the World. The tale does not so much demonstrate Equipoise – which depends on some knowledge of the pre-existing genres it combines – as it does the highly fluid nature of genre in mid-nineteenth-century Spain. [JC]

Pedro Antonio de Alarcón y Ariza

born Guadix, Spain: 10 March 1833

died Valdemoro, Spain: 20 July 1891

works (highly selected)

  • "El amigo de la muerte" ["The Friend of Death"] (1852 El Eco de occidente Periódico de ciencias, literatura y bellas artes) [mag/]
    • Narraciones inverosimiles ("Improbable Stories") (Madrid: Imprenta y Fundición de M Tello, 1882) [coll: containing final version of the above: translations below almost certainly taken from this text: binding unknown/]


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