Vicente Riva Palacio
Vicente Florencio Carlos Riva Palacio y Guerrero (1832-1896)
Bewildering Stories biography
Born in Mexico City to a politically important family, Vicente Florencio Carlos Riva Palacio y Guerrero (1832-1896), commonly known as Vicente Riva Palacio, was an attorney, general, journalist, novelist, and politician. A recipient of the best education of his time, he carried in his veins the blood of a family that played a prominent role in the formation of the Mexican Republic: his father, Mariano Riva Palacio, was a three-time governor of the State of Mexico and also a lawyer appointed to defend Emperor Maximilian after the fall of Querétaro. His mother, Dolores Guerrero, was the only daughter of Vicente Guerrero, the independence hero and second president of the Republic.
During his lifetime, Riva Palacio’s literary output consisted largely of elaborately plotted historical novels in the vein of Dumas and Scott, which did not weather the test of time, for his main aim was merely to entertain his public. Today, his literary legacy rests primarily on his stories in Cuentos del general (The General’s Tales), which appeared shortly after his death in Madrid, Spain, where he spent the last years of his life.
His final volume, Cuentos del general, published posthumously in 1896 by Sucesores de Rivadeneyra, includes twenty-six texts, ranging from legends to fables. Unlike his hastily written historical novels, those stories, which he wrote with the intention of cementing his writerly reputation among Spanish critics, are high-quality works of literary merit, noted for lucid, polished prose and a fine sense of humor.
“An Unequal Marriage” is one of the twenty-six stories collected in Cuentos del general. While many of Riva Palacio’s short stories contain social commentary on his time, this one combines fantastic elements with social observations.
Copyright © 2019 by Toshiya Kamei