Pedro Antonio de Alarcón

About the Author

Pedro Antonio de Alarcón was born in Guadix in Spain, on 10 March 1833. After a brief education at a seminary, the young Alarcón began to read widely, teaching himself French and Italian. While still in Guadix, he established a literary paper dedicated to literature, the arts, and the sciences. It was here that he published his early attempts at poetry. In 1853, just before his twentieth birthday, he moved to Madrid with the intention of becoming an established poet. Unfortunately, he found little success, and after narrowly avoiding being drafted into the army, he moved again, this time to Granada, where he became involved in revolutionary politics. Back in Madrid, he was to become the editor of El Látigo, a fiercely-republican journal. In 1855, Alarcón appeared to renounce political journalism and left Spain for Paris. It was in the same year that he published his first novel, El final de Norma (The End of Norma).

In 1859, Alarcón enrolled in the army as a volunteer and went to fight in the colonial campaign in Morocco. His account of his experiences,  Diario de un testigo de la guerra de Africa (Diary of a Witness of the War of Africa) (1860), was a huge success, and is still regarded today as one of his most interesting books. After this triumph, he published an account of a trip through France, Switzerland and Italy. In 1866, he began to produce volumes of short stories, and in 1874, Alarcón published perhaps his best-known book, El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat). This was followed by two further novels, El escandalo (The Scandal) and El nino de la Bola (The Boy with the Ball) in 1875 and 1880. El Captain Veneno (Captain Venom) appeared in 1881 and his last novel, La prodiga (The Prodigal), the following year. Alarcón died on 19 July 1891, having suffered from partial paralysis for some time.

Books by the author