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ISBN illustrated paperback: 9788499530635
Doña Luz ( 1879) is the author’s fifth novel, first published in the Revista Contemporánea between November 1878 and March 1879. This is the story of a young orphan girl, daughter of a marquis, whose beauty and honesty win her the sympathy of the people and the hearts of several suitors.
Luz is raised by her father, the Marquis of Villafría, her mother – a woman of dubious origin – dies when she is two years old. Despite belonging to the high society of Madrid, her father and she decide to move to Andalusia.
Once settled in Villafría, the marquis, who is ruined, dies. Prior to his death, he left don Acisclo, the family administrator, in charge of Luz. After some time, the young woman becomes an educated woman with no plans for marriage. But everything changes when he meets the Dominican friar Enrique and the military man Jaime Pimentel.
As in Pepita Jiménez, Valera once again presents the antagonism between human love and divine love, but this time with a tragic ending. Doña Luz shows the impossibility of harmony in love, between the flesh and the spirit, and the only solution to this conflict is mystical Platonism.
Valera’s novels feature free and independent female characters, with a passionate love and a firm determination to conquer and have power over men. In many cases, as in Doña Luz, they aspire to an ideal and are victims of this impossible desire.
As in Pepita Jiménez, in Doña Luz and in El doble sacrificio, we find again the problem of the priestly crisis, although in the case of Father Enrique and Doña Luz, the author will opt for a mystical solution.
I. El Marqués and its administratorFragment of the work
Not all the stories I refer to have to take place in Villabermeja. Today I have to tell a very interesting story that happened, a few years ago, in another place nearby, which we will call Villafría, reserving its real name for more important things. For the rest, there is no notable difference between Villabermeja and Villafría; for, although Villabermeja has a more miraculous patron saint, Villafría has a richer term, more population, better houses, and more wealthy landowners.
Among these was Mr. Acisclo, so called since he turned forty-five years old, and who had been Acisclillo and then uncle Acisclo until he was twenty-eight to thirty years old. The don came and finally took precedence over Acisclo, by virtue of the tone and the importance that the gentleman had managed to give himself with the many monies that he had honestly and laboriously acquired.
His good reputation transcended throughout the province. He was not only esteemed as a person whose kidney was well covered, and who would not let himself be hanged for two or three million reales, but he was also praised as a very honest man, very formal in his dealings and sure to the front wall, and as so upright, devoted to Mary Most Holy and fearful of God, that he was almost, almost in the odor of sanctity, in spite of the evil tongues, which are never lacking.
What is certain is that Don Acisclo had been able to reconcile his wealth with probity and justice. He had been the administrator of the Marquis of Villafría for at least twenty years, and had composed himself in such a way that all the assets of the Marquisate had gradually passed from the hands of his lordship to his more agile and guarded hands.
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