Un Viaje de Novios (Emilia Pardo Bazán) pdf, epub, doc

What happens when a naïve, vivacious and innocent young woman in the late 19th century is married to an egotistical, impatient and insensitive man around twice her age?This is the situation at the heart of ‘Un Viaje de Novios.’The Spanish naturalist novelist Emilia Pardo Bazan tells the story of Lucia, raised after her mother’s death by her father, a retired ex-grocer who has amassed himself a tidy sum thanks to his business acumen.Enamoured of politics, Lucia’s father is flattered when Miranda, a minor politician with dwindling resources and the onset of flagging health is encouraged by a friend to take on a young, pliable and financially endowed wife – and settles on Lucia. Trusting her father, the obedient Lucia never questions the wisdom of the match, setting in motion the actual journey of a honeymoon, but also an internal journey from a trusting optimist full of life and hope to a broken soul longing for death.

Miranda’s neglect of his wife begins at the outset when he leaves her alone in a train compartment while he fetches a bag of valuables he has left in the station restaurant.This early mishap is symptomatic of a mistaken relationship doomed to failure.It also results in Lucia meeting the melancholic Artegui, the only man in the novel to exhibit compassion free of religious motivations.He assists the young bride left alone for the first time in her life and at a total loss how to cope.He leaves her on receiving news of his mortally sick mother, but not before installing Lucia in a hotel and ensuring she is supplied with all necessities whilst awaiting her husband’s arrival.

Shortly before Miranda re-emerges, acquaintances of his enter the scene.They are Pilar, a frivolous young consumptive who exacerbates her fragile condition with reckless socializing and dancing, and her brother and supposed chaperone, Perico, who is more intent on enjoying himself than supervising his wayward sister.While the men pursue their own pleasures, it is left to the considerate and selfless Lucia to attend to Pilar as her health deteriorates.

The group of 4 now travel from one place to another, finally arriving near Artegui’s estate, where another encounter instigated by a besotted Lucia has catastrophic consequences. By this time, the roles are reversed – Artegui who had lost all taste for life now harbours hope, while the rapid transformation of Lucia from lively ingénue to sad and wise victim of a selfish husband is complete and final.

Lucia’s downfall is a critique of male collusion and the excessive sheltering of girls who have no idea what to expect of marriage.With no experience of men other than her father and confessor, Lucia doubtless expects the same level of protection and consideration she had hitherto enjoyed.Her father, too vainglorious with the prospect of his daughter marrying into a higher social class, refuses to heed the reservations of the local priest and delivers his fresh, exuberant daughter into the hands of a mercenary middle-aged wastrel, full of his own self-importance.The second priest in the novel fails to offer any useful advice or consolation, instead exhorting Lucia to resignation and to pray for God’s mercy.

Overall the novel is full of event and dialogue (other than Bazan’s characteristic purple prose descriptive passages that can easily be skipped).It is not until the final chapters that there is a shift of tone from emotionally neutral to sombre and poignant.This sudden change reflects Lucia’s disillusionment and the realization of the irreversible damage that will continue to mar her life and enables the reader to empathise with the heroine’s predicament.

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