This rich and unforgettable story of sexual intrigue and political scheming, written by the Spanish feminist and intellectual Emilia Pardo Bazan, deserves recognition as one of the great nineteenth-century novels.
The House of Ulloa follows pure and pious Father Julián Alvarez, who is sent to a remote country estate to put the affairs of the marquis, an irresponsible libertine, in order. When he discovers moral decadence, cruelty and corruption at his new home, Julián's well-meaning but ineffectual attempts to prevent the fall of the House of Ulloa end in tragedy. The House of Ulloa is the finest achievement of Emilia Pardo Bazán, a prolific writer, feminist, traveller and intellectual, and one of the most dynamic figures of her time.
Fans of Zola or Hardy will enjoy the novel's rich naturalism, which combines gothic elements with evocative descriptions of Spanish customs and the countryside. At the same time, the novel evokes the social comedy of a Dickens or Thackeray with its biting social satire, frank exposure of sexual mores, and gentle mockery of its innocent hero-priest.