Pequeñeces . . .
Bilbao, El Mensajero del Corazón de Jesús, 1891.
5th edition. 8vo. 552 pp. Quarter morocco. Short tear repaired in upper margin of title p.
The work “. . . caused more sensation than any novel of the last twenty years . . . [Coloma’s] literary mission appears to be to satirise the Spanish aristocracy, and Pequeñeces is his capital effort in that kind . . .” (Fitzmaurice-Kelly, A history of Spanish Literature, p. 394). “A sermon in fictional terms, the novel takes as its theme the corruption of Madrid high society which tolerates as mere pequeñeces - peccadilloes – what for the Church are mortal sins . . . It gives Coloma ample opportunity for scathing satire of moral indifference in the directing classes and for advocacy of a morality league among ‘decent’ people of both sexes to exclude the sinners from society. The enormous success of Pequeñeces was only partly due to its intrinsic merits. It coincided with a resurgence of religious influence during the Restoration . . .” (Shaw, The nineteenth century [A literary history of Spain, ed. R.O. Jones], p. 122). Aubrey Bell referred to Coloma as “a writer . . with a gift for observation and keen satire, resulting in some vivid and effective scenes . . . The novel . . has not grown old; it retains its constant band of readers” (Contemporary Spanish Literature, pp. 80 & 81). This fifth printing appeared in the same year as the first.