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Death and the doctor : three nineteenth-century Spanish tales

Author: Robert M Fedorchek; Fernán Caballero; Antonio de Trueba; Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
Publisher: Lewisburg, Pa. : Bucknell University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1997.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Fiction : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This book presents three versions of the Godfather/Death motif in English translations as well as the original Spanish. A desperate man makes a pact with Death in order to alleviate pain or sorrow or poverty. Death then makes him a doctor and endows him with the ability to predict life or death, and thus he feathers his nest and his fortune turns. In the end, however, Death demands its pound of flesh, and the day of
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Genre/Form: Fiction
Translations
Translations into English
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Death and the doctor.
Lewisburg, Pa. : Bucknell University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1997
(OCoLC)645723883
Material Type: Fiction
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Robert M Fedorchek; Fernán Caballero; Antonio de Trueba; Pedro Antonio de Alarcón
ISBN: 0838753698 9780838753699
OCLC Number: 36133335
Language Note: English and Spanish.
Description: 203 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Contents: Juan Holgado and death / Fernán Caballero --
Tragaldabas / Antonio de Trueba --
Death's friend / Pedro Antonio de Alarcón.
Responsibility: translated from the Spanish by Robert M. Fedorchek ; introduction by Lou Charnon-Deutsch.

Abstract:

This book presents three versions of the Godfather/Death motif in English translations as well as the original Spanish. A desperate man makes a pact with Death in order to alleviate pain or sorrow or poverty. Death then makes him a doctor and endows him with the ability to predict life or death, and thus he feathers his nest and his fortune turns. In the end, however, Death demands its pound of flesh, and the day of reckoning arrives.

The three authors of these Death-and-the-Doctor tales are three of nineteenth-century Spain's most well-known short-story writers. Fernan Caballero [Cecilia Bohl de Faber] (1796-1877) first published "Juan Holgado y la muerte [Juan Holgado and Death]" in 1850. It stands out for its humor, relating Fernan Caballero's hapless paterfamilias attempt to escape his numerous children in order to feast on a rabbit, only to have Death, in the shape of an old woman, snatch it from his hands.

Antonio de Trueba (1819-89) first published "Tragaldabas [Glutton]" in 1867. The main characteristic of Trueba's piece is its satire and scathing portrayal, as well as condemnation, of the medical profession. "Death's Friend" is much more ambitious than Fernan Caballero's and Trueba's tales, and in length approaches a short novel. It is essentially a love story: Gil Gil and Elena, ill-starred lovers, are reunited through divine intervention as both Elena and Death petition God on Gil Gil's behalf.

Taken together, these three Death-and-the-Doctor tales fill a void in the Godfather/Death motif of Western European literature and highlight the universality of Spain's folk tradition.

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