The fate of the passionate letters that Benito Pérez Galdós wrote to his beloved Emilia Pardo Bazán It is a mystery and the possibility that they had been destroyed was even considered. But a Madrid antiquarian bookseller assures Efe that there are 80 of them in a private library.
Benito Pérez Galdós (Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, May 10, 1843-Madrid, January 4, 1920) and Emilia Pardo Bazán (La Coruña, September 16, 1851-Madrid, May 12, 1921) maintained a relationship of friendship over many years, but for two they were loverswhile she was married, and her correspondence was fiery.
Of the letters that the Galician writer sent to Galdós, little more than 90 are preserved, but those that the author of The National Episodes wrote to his beloved are not found. There are many theories, and it has even been said that Carmen Polo burned them when he got to Pazo de Meirás, where Emilia Pardo Bazán previously lived.
And when the year in which the centenary of the birth of Benito Pérez Galdós has been celebrated is about to end, the antiquarian bookseller Guillermo Blazquez, belonging to the Association of the Cuesta del Moyano in Madrid, maintains that their whereabouts are not unknown, but “private” because he saw them 30 years ago in a private library, which he does not reveal.
The owners of the letters do not want to make them public nor do they want to sell them, something that the bookseller has been trying all these years. «They are enough, about 80, not all the correspondence that must have been very extensive “over the years, and are in very good condition, explains the bookseller and antiquarian in an interview with Efe.
Of the letters from Galdós to his beloved that Blázquez was able to read in that library and “for the time when they were written, they were of a rather elevated tone. Today it would be almost ridiculous, certainly not pornographic as commented … rises, a little erotic».
He is convinced that they were handwritten letters from the author of the National Episodes: «They were signed, unless they were forgeries … But in the world of the ancient book it is normal to see letters from authors like Galdós, Baroja, Lorca, this one a little more scarce … I have had several that I have been selling and in book auctions some letters still usually appear loose, “he assures.
What is the reason why their current owners do not want to go public or sell them? Blázquez does not know it. “I tried to buy them when they showed them to me. They taught them to me in secret and they asked me for discretion, which is why I am not going to give the name, I cannot, ”insists the antiquarian, who continues to maintain business relationships with this private library, from which he continues to buy some books.
«They taught them to me with great mystery. I’ve been reading a couple of them, ”he remembers. These private collectors They not only have letters from Galdós, but also from other authors, both books and letters and documents. Sometimes if the owner, if he is a collector, «has them like a jewel and does not want to get rid of them. It is normal, another thing is that a merchant had them, but it is not the case “, adventure.
Other letters from Galdós, not with this content, more literary or those addressed to friends, are usually auctioned around the 500 or 600 euros, maybe even less. But in this case, due to its uniqueness and the fact that it is a fairly large group of missives, its value is higher, says Blázquez, who says that he would buy them without hesitation if he could.
The letters that Emilia Pardo Bazán wrote to Galdós were first compiled in a biography written by Carmen Bravo Villasante and, later, through «My Miquiño, Cartas a Galdós» (Taurus, 2013), by Isabel Parreño and Juan Manuel Hernández.
Isabel Parreño has pointed out to Efe that it is not uncommon for letters like this to appear, although she does consider it strange “that she has kept them for 30 years, because since 2013 – when the first compilation of Emilia Pardo Bazán’s letters came out – she was in the media and they could, I am not saying they have already been sold, but leave them to make an edition, even if they keep the originals ».
Parreño recalls that, regarding the fate of Pérez Galdós’s letters, there have been many theories. The most likely theory is that they were destroyed in the house where Emilia Pardo Bazán lived in Princess street of Madrid, which was looted during the civil war. “It could also be that when he died, his daughters discovered that correspondence and were not interested in making it public since she was married when they maintained that relationship, and they made them disappear.”
And about the legend that they were burned by Carmen Polo In the Pazo de Meirás, Parreño says that “it looks very nice but … I don’t think he read the letters and decided to burn them because he said they were immoral. Yes they burned papers, bills and I don’t know if they were burned too, but it seems strange to me ».
And she remembers that they told her that Franco’s granddaughter said that in the Pazo de Meirás there were Pardo Bazán’s personal things that they put in a box and gave her daughter. “I don’t know if the letters were in that box … I’d like to know.”
The two writers corresponded from 1883 to 1915, “practically a lifetime.” From mutual admiration, they moved on to friendship, to love, and then back to friendship. Thus, the first letters were of admiration from a young woman to an already consecrated writer, disciple and teacher.
«When she goes to live in Madrid they move in the same literary circle and become friends and maintain a most complicit relationship, with casual tones in the cards. And later there is a very intense love affair of two years which is when we read ‘miquiño’, ‘little mouse’ and ‘te como el mustache’ ».
Later they distanced themselves, although they always maintained a friendship and loyalty, and then the letters reveal that melancholy because for Pardo Bazán he was the love of his life, says Parreño.
More than a century later, tomorrow, Saturday, the actors Mateo Franco and Paula Usero will interpret their love letters in Madrid’s Cuesta del Moyano, an initiative promoted by the “Soy de la Cuesta” Citizen Association.