Luna Benamor


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Most critics continue to ignore, however, that many of his later writings also exhibit, in particular ways at least, artistic attributes which are as praiseworthy as those of his first works.


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The last of these writings to reach the public is the novelette Luna Benamor , one of the forgotten gems of Blasco which still merit careful critical analysis. The genesis and composition of the story actually precede the writing of two thesis novels La bodega and La horda , both published in although it was not until May 27, that the collection of short stories, sketches and notes in which Luna Benamor was included was finally published in Spain. The novelette had, according to J. It is clear that, in writing Luna Benamor , Blasco was motivated by two primary goals: to explore a tender love interest set in conflict with external obstacles, and, more importantly, to depict local landscape and the customs of the Sephardic Jews and other Gibraltarians.

It should come as no surprise to readers of the Valencian works that the novelette is a notable piece of writing precisely because it reflects Blasco's most significant artistic talents: his ability to compose graphic, moving, at times poetic descriptions of nature and to transmit remarkably vivid, artistically pertinent depictions of native customs and ways of thought.

We shall see in a moment why R. The story's plot is, necessarily, extremely simple. We meet Luis Aguirre, a young member of the Spanish foreign service, as he awaits a boat to take him from Gibraltar to his assignment as consul in Australia. Amidst the varied and cosmopolitan atmosphere of the Colony, he falls in love with a young Jewess, Luna Benamor, the daughter of a Rabat exporter of Moroccan tapestries, now living with an elderly grandfather who is a successful local money changer of sephardic descent, and with her uncle, his wife and their two daughters.

SPANISH LUTE ENSEMBLE AT AMBASSADOR AUDITORIUM - Los Angeles Times

Although Luna comes to reciprocate Aguirre's love, their differing religious views, her family traditions and her childhood betrothal to a successful Jewish businessman from Buenos Aires all oppose the union. Luis befriends a sickly Indian bazaar keeper from Madras named Khiamull, whose comments serve to reinforce the protagonist's realization that these barriers cannot be overcome.

At the end Khiamull's death coincides with Luna's final, tearful rejection of Luis and his departure for Australia.

Blasco thus reaches a conclusion. Although Blasco's descriptions of the Gibraltar landscape do not convey the degree of emotional, sentimental involvement evident in the Valencian novels, he nevertheless continues to excel as he did in Los muertos mandan in his colorful, occasionally poetic, effusive and heavily visual depictions of local scenery.

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The use of panorama, shades of light, graphic, sensual colorings, a dynamic sense of movement, a vivid immediacy and exactness of detail -all within a delicately subjective framework- combine in typically striking, impressionistic outbursts:. Typically, the use of reiteration here, of successive gerund phrases adds to the sense of continuous, temporal movement, as does the near constant utilization of the imperfect tense. And it is important to note that Blasco's descriptions are rarely offered gratuitously, but rather are meant to relate in significant ways to aspects of theme or characterization here, in references to the distinguishing British mist, as we shall see later.

The same relevance can be seen in the depictions of nature which, as was the case particularly in Entre naranjos , serve as a backdrop and stimulant to the growing love between Luna and Aguirre:. Casi era de noche.

El mar comenzaba a ocultarse bajo una tenue neblina. Blasco continues to excel, as he did in his Valencian novels, in his ability to paint in but a few strokes of the pen striking, vivid and realistic pictures of his characters:. La vejez daba a su voz un temblor de llanto y a sus ojos una ternura lacrimosa.

As can be seen in the first example above, Blasco continues to display a predilection for animal imagery, although this is less prevalent than in the naturalistic circumstances of his Valencian novels:. But without a doubt Blasco's most striking use of metaphor and animal imagery is seen in this magnificent seascape:. The simile continues to prevail as one of Blasco's favorite stylistic devices:. And the author cannot refrain from including a number of typically shallow bits of symbolism.

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Luna Benamor

For example, the sound of the canon at daybreak and nightfall suggests the reality of external control which the lovers at first attempt to ignore, a signal which shuts down not only the Gibraltarians' daily activity but also the lovers' hope for the future; it is also the sound which drowns out the church choirs , and The Colony's fortifications and the wall of rock itself come to mirror the barriers between Luna and Aguirre see particularly Perhaps the most significant similarity between Luna Benamor and the Valencian novels is the vivid use of artistically pertinent costumbrismo , the inclusion of graphic delineation of regional customs.

These passages fall clearly into two categories: 1 a catalogue of details concerning the daily life of the Gibraltarians in general, their shops, their goods, their manner of dress, etc. We witness the arrival of sailors, the routine of the British soldiers and a relatively lengthy transcription of Andalucian dialect this and the lovers' long conversations contrast with the extremely sparse use of regional dialogue in the Valencian novels.

Most prominent are Blasco's summaries of the unique, exotic range of socially independent racial groups, brought together by business interests but retaining their own ethnic customs and religious practices amidst an atmosphere of mutual intolerance, suspicion and hatred. By means of these passages, the sharp differences between Aguirre's background and that of other races are highlighted from the start, thus relating to the obstacles later encountered by the two lovers.

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With respect to the story's characterization, there is never any attempt or time, for that matter, in so short a space to develop the main figures or their relationship beyond a strictly superficial level. Although the narrative is written almost entirely from the point of view of Aguirre except for one passage from old Samuel's perspective, three from that of Luna and occasional, omniscient comments by the author , there is no attempt, even at moments of estilo indirecto libre , to lend his character any kind of depth.

His background orphaned but with the influence of a powerful family name and probable pressures to continue the family diplomatic tradition, etc. We learn that he is basically a good person note, for example, the sensitive way in which he humors Samuel and the old man's illusions about the consul's background [].


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