The Last Sin

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ISBN paperback: 9788498163261

SKU: 9788498979503 Category: Tags: ,

The Last Sin. Juan Valera

I
Mr. Emilio Cotarelo is a scholar of remarkable wit and very good taste, to whom we should be grateful and give great praise as fans of pleasant literature and all the arts of the word. His books amaze us for the diligence and skill with which the author has been able to gather news. His books teach much and delight more. It is natural for them to be read, bought and celebrated.
Mr. Cotarelo has already composed them on Don Enrique de Villena, on the Count of Villamediana and on the great poet Tirso. But what moves me now to talk about this writer is the series of studies he is publishing on actors and actresses of the last century. The life of the divine Maria Ladvenant, and more recently the life of La Tirana, have already come to light. Both works are of greater interest than the novels, and more than novels they seem to be intricate jungles of adventures, sets and odd cases. When we read them, we can’t help but exclaim almost with envy: “Come on, come on, our grandparents never stopped having fun!
And what is for me the greatest merit of the books I am talking about is that they are very suggestive. The author does not tell or affirm anything without proving its exact truth with reliable documents. There remain, then, untold or barely indicated between lines, a thousand important and hidden events, which explain or may explain others whose causes we do not glimpse, because Mr. Cotarelo, as a very severe and truthful historian, has to leave us half-honeyed, without saying as true what is not evidently proven, although it is presumed and there are traces and indications about it. Following them, I will allow myself to put here something very important from the life of La Caramba, which Mr. Cotarelo, by virtue of his historical severity, could not help but leave out, perhaps to his regret.

II
On September 8, 1785, the day on which the church celebrates the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Our Lady, instead of going to the temple to pray her devotions, the carefree Maria Antonia Fernandez went for a walk in the Prado, to provoke the gallants and to scandalize, as she was accustomed to do. She was at the peak of her age, like the Sun that culminates in the meridian; famous for her conquests and celebrated for her grace, for her elegant dress, for her gallant body, for her graceful gait and for her martial and boisterous ease. She was bizarrely attired that day, in a blue satin brial, with a silk and gold trimming, and her black and brownish hair well combed, held in a bun on the top of her gentle head by a gold braid, full of precious stones.
Her headdress was completed with the beautiful ornament she invented and to which she gave her nom de guerre, calling it La Caramba, and a white mantilla of precious and light Almagro lace.
Suddenly the sky darkened; a terrible storm arose; the air whistled and whirled; the lightning dazzled, and the frightful thunder deafened and terrified. Then the clouds opened up and abundant rain, a veritable deluge began to fall on the earth. There was neither a car nor a wheelchair in which to leave, and María Antonia Fernández, alias La Caramba, took refuge in the church of Capuchinos del Prado, where a solemn religious function was being held at the time. Friar Athanasius, a preacher as eloquent as he was severe, preached. The horror of the storm, which continued and grew, the tremendous phrases with which the father lashed the vices and with which he described the eternal penalties that God imposes on them, and perhaps also the devout painting of Lucas Jordan, which in that church looked like a picture of the Magdalene at the feet of Christ, all compelled the beautiful sinner by such art, penetrating her entrails like sharp arrows of fire, that she was filled with awe and even awe, representing the Magdalene at the feet of Christ, everything compassionated by such art to the beautiful sinner, penetrating in her entrails like sharp arrows of fire, that she was filled with attrition and even contrition, she felt that the Most High was calling her to Himself and as if by a miracle she was converted.
Maria Antonia Fernandez never set foot on the boards again; from that point on she lived a retired and exemplary life; and the bitterness of her late repentance, the hard mortifications with which she punished herself and the shame and deep regret that the memory of her sins caused her, soon ended the health of her body, granting her instead the health of her soul.
All this is perfectly historical, notorious and known at the time in Madrid, and remembered now with punctuality by Mr. Cotarelo. What I am going to refer to as an appendix is what is generally ignored.

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