Caballero, Fernán, 1796-1877

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1796-12-24
Death 1877-04-07
Spaniards
Spanish; Castilian

Biographical notes:

Fernán Caballero, the pseudonym of Cecilia Francisca Josefa de Arrom (1796-1877) was born at Morges, Switzerland, the daughter of Johan Nikols Böhl von Faber, a German merchant from Hamburg, married to an Andalusian. Her father was also editor of Floresta de rimas antiguas castellanas (1821-1828), and the Teatro espanol anterior a Lopé de Vega (1832). Educated principally at Hamburg, Fernán Caballero visited Spain at the close of the Napoleonic wars, married, and settled there. Her father had stimulated her interest in Spain's medieval and classical literature, and she began to write of her adopted country. She is famous for her defense of the traditional virtues of Spain - Catholic, monarchist, moral and rural - against the growing strength of nineteenth century liberalism.

After becoming interested in her mother's native Andalusia, Fernán Caballero collected the folklore of the area and published a number of works in which the local customs were the background. The most notable of these were the Cuadros de costumbres, Relaciones and La familia de Alvareda. Although she claimed that she was merely the recorder of fact, her novel Clemencia (1852) is largely autobiographical.

Her most well received novel was La Giovata, for which she won fame in 1849. The original draft was in French, but the novel was subsequently translated into almost all of the European languages. Other works, such as Sola (1840) and La familia de Alvareda were initially written in German.

Fernán Caballero's critics disagree about her being the first author to present a realistic Spanish novel, but they concur in stating that her work was not uniformly successful.

From the guide to the Caballero, Fernán. Papers, 1855-1877, (Special Collections Research Center University of Chicago Library 1100 East 57th Street Chicago, Illinois 60637 U.S.A.)

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  • Ciegos--Libros y lectura

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