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The Illusions of Doctor Faustino

a novel

Juan Valera

Publication Year: 2011

Translated from the Spanish by Robert M. Fedorchek with an introduction by Agnes Moncy

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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Translator’s Preface

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pp. ix-x

Juan Valera y Alcalá-Galiano (1824–1905) met with resounding success when his Pepita Jiménez, an epistolary novel about a seminarian’s false vocation, came out in 1874. Over the course of the next twenty-two years he went on to publish another four highly regarded novels: The Illusions of Doctor Faustino (1875); Commander Mendoza (1877), which deals with religious ...

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pp. xi-xxi

If we define an idyll as a series of pastoral scenes or interludes, The Illusions of Doctor Faustino (1875) almost becomes one a number of times. The reader feels the tension, hopes it can happen, but knows it cannot. After several such scenes or instances it becomes clear that this tale differs from Valera’s usually spirited Andalusian novels, which show how passion and ...

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Author’s Dedication

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pp. 1-2

I DEDICATE THIS NOVEL to you as the matador dedicates his performance before killing the bull. Neither he nor I knows whether what we dedicate will turn out well or ill. The public and you must decide and pass judgment, when the novel is printed in its entirety, as soon as it is written.1 At all events, even though the ...

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Introduction. Which Deals with Villabermeja, Don Juan Fresco, and Illusions in General

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pp. 3-24

MY EXCELLENT and old friend Don Miguel de los Santos Álvarez,1 an optimistic thinker, serene observer of things, and reasonable philosopher, wittily maintains that in old age you gain on the one hand what you lose on the other, that there is no reason or cause to be distressed, and that the person who becomes ...

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1. The Illustrious House of López de Mendoza

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pp. 25-32

... Still standing there is the castle or fortress that belonged to the duke, the town’s most prominent citizen. The massive black walls of rough stones, the towering battlements, the cylindrical turrets—they’re all still in one piece. An arch, through whose span runs a passage, connects the castle with the church. ...

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2. What Is He Good For?

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pp. 33-47

... Well do I appreciate that in all the resplendent and complex machinery in the world there is nothing that isn’t good for something: everything has a purpose, everything accords with perfect order and complete harmony. So as to believe and affirm this premise, it is just as important to say that we see because we ...

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3. Doña Ana’s Plan

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pp. 48-56

... He had been planning to go to Madrid for a year and had not gone for lack of money. And for a year—almost daily, with variations and amplifications, but with the same substance—he had been repeating the dialogues and monologues that we have just recorded in the previous chapter. ...

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4. Doña Costanza de Bobadilla

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pp. 57-64

... The caravan, or hymeneal pageant, stopped that night at a country inn twenty-seven miles from Villabermeja. There they dined on chicken with rice and peppers, which seemed exquisite after such a tiring day’s journey, and on freshly caught sardines sold to them by a muleteer coming from Málaga who, by chance, ...

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5. First Impression

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pp. 65-74

... In the center of the patio rose a fountain with limpid water that spilled into a marble basin where goldfish swam. All around you could see flower beds, and their perfumes and the placid murmur of the fountain delighted the senses of smell and hearing at the same time. ...

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6. A Letter from the Doctor to His Mother

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pp. 75-80

TWO DAYS after the doctor’s arrival at Doña Araceli’s house, it seemed necessary for the servant who had come with the mules to return to Villabermeja with them, not only to spare expenses and inconveniences for the splendid hostess, but also because the mules did not belong to the doctor. They had been loaned to ...

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7. Preliminaries of Love

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pp. 81-90

THERE ARE a thousand reasons in my mind that prompt me not to proceed with the telling of this story. Only the obligation that I contracted when I began its publication induces me to go on with it.1 ...

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8. At the Window Grille

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pp. 91-97

... He saw his cousin on the public walk and at the tertulia. He spoke to her in front of the friends of both sexes who surrounded her, but did not notice any sign that she welcomed having received his letter. Quite the contrary: it seemed to him that Costancita was more serious with him than usual. ...

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9. Mysterious Meeting

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pp. 98-106

... As long as he was at her side he felt himself under the power of a spell. He submitted to everything. He was credulous like a child and submissive like a slave. He found no reason to object to the long rejoinders with which she would hold him off, and he considered himself fortunate indeed and more than ...

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10. Niña Araceli

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pp. 107-115

IT WAS NOT UNTIL after the mysterious meeting with his immortal friend that the doctor realized how much he was truly in love with Doña Costanza. In his immortal friend, as he remembered her, he had seen nothing of an aerial ghost, nothing diabolical or unstable; on the contrary, he had seen a strong, resolute, ...

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11. Diplomatic Activity

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pp. 116-124

AFTER THE conversation with her nephew, Doña Araceli realized that it was important to move forward without hesitation or to desist without further ado. She thought things over and concluded that such a state of affairs could not continue, so she resolved to issue an ultimatum to her niece and to her brother Don Alonso. ...

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12. The Marquis of Guadalbarbo

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pp. 125-129

... On the fertile and vast Guadalbarbo estate there was a feudal castle, from which, as the marquis told it, his heroic ancestors fought against the Moors for six or seven centuries. The detractors claimed that the marquis’s grandfather had been a summons server who, having prospered during the reign of Carlos III,1 had ...

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13. Examination of Conscience

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pp. 130-144

His mother, to whom he related what he had not told her in letters about his courtship of Doña Costanza, and about the disillusioned end of it, berated her niece severely and did not treat any more kindly our friend Don Alonso de Bobadilla. ...

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14. Penance for the Devil

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pp. 145-153

THE NEW appearance, further confirming Don Faustino López de Mendoza in the belief that his immortal friend was a real person, and persuading him that she was in Villabermeja, incited him to look for her in earnest. No doubt it was astonishing that she could hide so well in such a small town, but the doctor lost hope of ...

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15. The Tertulia of the Three Duos

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pp. 154-161

... A spinster who was more than twenty-eight years old, Rosita had never found a man in the town on whom to impose her will. Holding despotic sway over her home, a thousand times more free and mistress of her wishes and actions than an unconstitutional queen, she did not get bored because her activity and her ...

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16. The Earthly Paradise

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pp. 162-170

... The doctor thought so too, especially when he was not under Rosita’s influence. When he was talking to her, the doctor was hopelessly lost. From the clear, serene peak of sublime contemplations, he hurled himself and sank into a tenebrous abyss. ...

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17. Jealousy Is More Powerful Than Love

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pp. 171-179

BACK HOME, the doctor went to see his mother and that night gave her the pleasure of chatting with her and having supper with her, something she was most anxious to do in light of his now constant presence at the Civils’ tertulia. ...

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18. Love Pact

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pp. 180-182

THE FIRST RAYS of dawn began to streak through the numerous cracks in the wood shutters of the windows in that room. The cheerful singing with which small birds were celebrating daybreak reached the ears of Don Faustino and his lover. ...

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19. The Miracles of Contempt

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pp. 183-186

DON FAUSTINO no longer vacillated or doubted. His joy was great. He felt real love. He believed that the vital impetus hitherto absent in his soul had been set in motion, and he considered himself capable of undertaking any venture and making his way to face any danger and meet any difficulty. ...

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20. The Miracles Continue

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pp. 187-192

IT WAS eleven o’clock at night when the doctor came down from his mother’s room and went into the salon with the portraits. Since he had told Respetilla that he did not need to be there to undress him, the doctor believed he was still at the Civils’ tertulia, which ended at twelve. ...

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21. Because of Following a Woman

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pp. 193-203

ALTHOUGH the doctor groped around and managed to pick up the candlestick, with the light extinguished it was of no use to him, just a hindrance. In vain did he go along in search of an exit by feeling the walls. In that dark place there was neither a window nor a gap through which the moonlight could enter, a ...

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22. Rosita’s Revenge

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pp. 204-207

AFTER THE EVENTS related in the previous chapter, a week had already passed and nothing was known in Villabermeja of Don Faustino’s whereabouts. His mother, torment-ridden, attempted to no avail to find out where her beloved son was. ...

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23. Joselito’s Confidences

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pp. 208-211

... Shortly after being waylaid, the doctor realized that Joselito was going in search of his daughter, with the intention of abducting her from Father Piñón’s house, where, from spies and friends that he had in Villabermeja, he had learned that she was hiding. Father Piñón and María had prepared for this surprise in ...

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24. Sunt lacrimae rerum

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pp. 212-220

... “You’re not answering me, Señor don Faustino, because you believe that my daughter does the right thing by fleeing from me, by loathing me, by despising me perhaps, but I look at myself, judge myself, and find myself neither despicable nor loathsome. I will concede that there was a moment in my life in which I was ...

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25. Mourning

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pp. 221-228

... Doña Ana—resigned to living in Villabermeja, with a lofty, cultured spirit—had had no one to whom to relate. Her husband, a crude, rustic, unsociable man, was incapable of appreciating her. Not even out of gratitude, from seeing himself so looked after and respected, had he shown love and consideration for Doña ...

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26. Lost Illusions

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pp. 229-235

ALL, NEARLY ALL the poetry, comic and tragic, that there was in the doctor’s person and in the atmosphere surrounding him, vanished when he departed from Villabermeja. The equestrian and lancer’s uniforms stayed behind, together with his university cap and his university cape, his flashy outfits, his horse, his hound Faón, and his faithful page, Respetilla. ...

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27. Loose Ends

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pp. 236-246

THERE WILL BE some who find it implausible that Don Faustino López de Mendoza had virtually no career to speak of in Madrid. Either Don Faustino was foolish or he was not, they will say. If he was foolish, the author of this story should have described him as such, but since he has described him as discreet, although extravagant, it is hard ...

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28. The Crisis

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pp. 247-255

... Tired of living in Paris and London, the affluent marquis of Gualdalbarbo once again took up residence in the town of the bear and the madrone tree.1 His former home, which could well be characterized as a palace, had been restored and refurbished with the greatest elegance and luxury. The most exquisite pieces ...

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29. Secret Vengeance for a Secret Insult

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pp. 256-277

... The haughtiness and arrogance that most distinguished personages of Madrid exhibited, or that he fancied they exhibited, seemed so unwarranted to him that he could scarcely tolerate them. An admirer of the good order, greatness, and prosperity of Great Britain and other European states, the marquis lamented ...

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30. A Sad Marriage

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pp. 278-289

SINCE THE DOCTOR was not a political figure, nor a famous, popular poet, inasmuch as his grand epic was yet to be written, nor a renowned philosopher, because his system was always being formulated, few people in Madrid knew him; in fine, he was not a man about town. The incident, moreover, had taken place ...

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pp. 290-302

FATE DECREED, or rather heaven, with its inscrutable designs, decreed, in opposition to all the prognoses of science, that the life of Don Faustino should be saved. Once the mortal crisis of the inflammation of the pleura was overcome, a grave danger that had also affected the lungs, the wound healed rapidly, the damaged tissues knitting together by the body’s design. ...

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Afterword to the 1879 Edition

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pp. 303-306

I HAVE BEEN undecided between writing something or saying nothing about the present edition. It is obvious that I do so because the first one has sold out, in spite of the efforts of profound critics to demonstrate that the book is bad, that it is not a novel, and that I am not nor can I be a novelist. I am not about to try to ...

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 307-309

E-ISBN-13: 9780813218335
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215389

Page Count: 335
Publication Year: 2011