"Doña Berta," by Leopoldo Alas «ClarÍn», edited by David R. George, Jr.
Spanish Realist author Leopoldo Alas, pen named "Clarín" for his numerous newspaper articles during the time of Spain's Restoration period, sought to reinvigorate Spain's literary tradition along with other writers, known as the Generation of '68, as the ideals of the industrial age took hold. Although he only wrote two novels, Clarín was a champion of the novella format, of which
Doña Berta was one of his most popular.
Berta’s story, which begins in the 1830s and ends in the 1880s, weaves together themes of nostalgia, regret, sacrifice and repentance. A young woman lacking real-world experience, Doña Berta reads what happens around her through the optic of the Romantic novels and the biographies of saints that she finds in her family library. An unshakable faith in the power of love and of God causes her to accept her fate and even makes her an accomplice to the unfortunate turn of events that condemn her to a solitary life. The main story of this novella, however, begins when Berta starts to have doubts and is driven towards its tragic denouement by the desire to recover her lost faith at any cost.
ISBN 978-1-58977-049-2 (PB) $20