Traces of Pardo Bazán in Galicia

The centenary year of the death of Emilia Pardo Bazán is about to end. Refreshing the life and work of the writer, we propose a review of the most significant places for her.

Starting from the beginning, Doña Emilia was born in A Coruña, in 1851. There she lived in Calle Tabernas number 11, next to the Jardin de San Carlos, overlooking the sea. Today the building is, since 1978, its House-Museum and the headquarters of the Royal Galician Academy. His love for reading began here, in his father’s large library, as well as his literary career, since at the age of nine he wrote the first verses and at the age of fifteen his first story. Later on, this house would also be a place for cultural and literary meetings, and festivals and tributes, such as the one given to Unamuno in 1903.

Much of his work is set in A Coruña, literarily Marineda. This transcript appears for the first time in his novel La Tribuna, considered the first social novel of the female factory proletariat, from 1881, which reflects the social injustice in the Tobacco Factory. Just as Marineda corresponds to Coruña, the streets that appear with invented names in many stories correspond to real streets of the city.

Being the only daughter of a very wealthy family, she was the heir to many possessions in Galicia ahead: in many municipalities in the province of A Coruña, in Viveiro, in Lugo, and in the province of Pontevedra (Sanxenxo, O Grove, Poio ).

Winters were spent in Madrid until he was twelve, due to his father’s political activity. The summers of childhood and youth were spent in the Torre de Miraflores, in Sanxenxo, or in the Pazo de Meirás, in Sada. The literary Sanxenxo became Portodor: “the most picturesque region that can be dreamed of”.

The pazo de Meirás, built in the 19th century on the ruins of another building, in the romantic style, has two towers. The best known, the main tower, which was called Tower of the Chimera, had its library. In fact, his most autobiographical novel is The Chimera, and it is set there. It was in that pazo where she celebrated her wedding with José Quiroga Pérez de Deza, in 1868.

That her husband was from O Carballiño, determined for Doña Emilia her attachment to the area, since the Quirogas, a noble family, had a house in the Plaza Mayor and several possessions in O Carballiño, in O Irixo, in Banga and in Cimadevilla. They spent long periods in the Casona de Catasós, in Lalín, in the inspiring fragas of Los pazos de Ulloa. They also used to go to the Banga pazo for the grape harvest. By the way, another of his novels, El cisne de Vilamorta, is set in O Carballiño and the Pazo de Banga.

After the wedding, they lived in Santiago for a season and, when the father was elected deputy by the courts, they went to Madrid, where Doña Emilia already immersed herself fully in the literary world. When his father became disenchanted with politics, they left Madrid and took the opportunity to travel throughout Europe.

The Castle of Santa Cruz, in Oleiros, A Coruña, was also a summer resort. After the separation of the writer, it would be the residence of the former, while she lived between Meirás and Madrid, mainly. 

The province of Pontevedra, “the Country of the Rías”, also welcomed the writer. In addition to the Miraflores of childhood, one of the recurring destinations in his maturity was the Mondariz Spa. With the initial motive of curing a liver disease, it became her summer residence between 1887 and 1920. According to her, “Mondariz cures the ravages of thought and the evils of civilization.” In addition to the cream of the crop from Galicia and Portugal, the spa was a hotbed of intellectuals and freethinkers, and of love affairs, of course. He also dropped by the A Toxa Spa, where he even founded the hospital for the poor.

We can say that Emilia Pardo Bazán, this universal Galician, traveler, writer, gourmet and two hundred etceteras, was noted wherever she passed. If we do a count of the statues dedicated to his figure in Galicia, we see them scattered throughout many places where he was. The same thing that she brought those places to her work. He died in Madrid on May 12, 1921.

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