Stories by Julián del Casal

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Illustrated paperback ISBN: 9788499535739
Hardcover ISBN: 9788411266482

The author of these stories is Julián del Casal, Cuban writer (1863-1893), considered one of the main exponents of early modernism, in its most decadent side. His talent was admired by his contemporaries, despite the marginal place that the poet has traditionally occupied within the movement, unlike central figures such as José Martí or Rubén Darío.
Julián del Casal’s narrative is not as well known as his poetry. In Busto y Rimas —a book that was published after his death— part of his work as a prose writer appears. But most of his stories are found in the magazines and newspapers of the time. Undoubtedly, his greatest literary contribution was in poetry, where he reached an extraordinary sensitivity.
His stories, though little disclosed, are of great literary value as well. In this genre he is considered one of the best Latin American storytellers of the nineteenth century. His works are characterized by beauty, color, melancholy and excellent form.
This anthology of Stories by Julián del Casal contains various texts, among others:

  • The veil,
  • A mother,
  • The first regret,
  • The House of the Poet and The Sadness of Alcohol.

Beyond the commonplaces of Latin American Modernism, Casal’s narrative stands out for its peculiar vision and the atmosphere it recreates.

A Russian priest
Ainsi qu’un papillon volage
Ce qui passe aujourd’hu sera passé.
Laisse-toi cueillir au passage
Papillon d’Actualité

Twelve o’clock in the day.
From the height of the white terrace, next to the sea, under the awning that forms the branches of green vine, starry with violet flowers, there is a group of people who contemplate, sunk their hats to their eyebrows and pearly glasses between their fingers, the departure of the Russian frigate that leaves our coasts.
Not a breath of air cools the atmosphere. The sea, like steel sheet, wonderfully burnished, radiates a metallic luster that dazzles the eye. The waves drag, in their calm course, bundles of algae that they throw on the golden sand of the beach, resembling withered bouquets of the last dance of Nereids. From time to time the rabihorcados that flutter in the air are introduced, like black arrows, in the blue piélago. On the pointed rocks, marbled with green-black plates, the pilluelos entertain themselves in collecting snails that irisa to the rays of the Sun.
While the frigate advances serenely and majesticly, on the back of the waves with the sails open and the flags raised, until it is lost in the end of the distant horizon, veiled by opaline mists; It stands out in the distance, at the top of the stern, the figure of the chaplain who seems to beg, from the pulpit of a marine temple, for the soul of the castaways. He has the evangelical meekness of great souls. Contemplating him in that place, with his black satin solid, adorned with a yellow moña, under which his gray hair escapes, and with his iridescent cassock, where the white cross of the ancient hermits of Jerusalem shines under the cascade of his luenga beard; evokes the memory of Dostoevsky’s priests, accompanying deportees to Siberia.
And seeing the astonished fixity of their gazes, it would seem that he tries to concentrate in his green pupils, motionless in their porcelain orbits, the bright glows of tropical noon, to illuminate with them, in future days, the icy whiteness of the vast solitary steppes.

Excerpt from the text

Edited by Ángel Augier.

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