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Fernán Caballero

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Nom de plume of Cecilia Böhl von Faber, a noted Spanish novelist; born at Morges, a small town in Switzerland, 25 December, 1796; died at Seville, 7 April, 1877. Her father was Nicolas Böhl von Faber, a German who had settled in Spain and enjoyed some reputation there as an author, and her mother was a native of Spain. She spent her early years in Germany and Italy, and came to Spain with her parents in 1813, settling at Cadiz. She was three times married and widowed, her first husband being Captain Planelles, who she married when she was barely seventeen. Having lost her husband shortly after her marriage, she became in 1822 the wife of the Marqués de Arco Hermoso, who died in 1835. Two years later she married Antonio Arrön de Ayala, a lawyer, and for a time Spanish Consul in Australia. After the death of her third husband, in 1863, she retired to the royal palace at Seville, where she was enabled to reside through the friendship and influence of her neighbour, the Duc de Montpensier. Fernán Caballero, who was much better known by her pseudonym than by her own name, was also a journalist, and at one time was a contributor to "La Ilustración Española ya Americana". But it was as a novelist that she made her reputation, her descriptive powers, in particular, being compared to those of Scott and Cooper. In 1849 she published her first novel, "La Gaviota", which appeared originally in serial form in a newspaper. This work has been translated into several languages, the English version appearing in 1868 under the title of "The Sea Gull", and it has probably been more widely read by foreigners than any Spanish book of the century. Following "La Gaviota" there appeared from her pen many novels and short stories in which she describes, with much charm, grace, and exactness, the types and customs of the different classes of Spanish society, especially in Andalusia. Under the general title "Cuadros Sociales" were published, with others "La Gaviota", "Clemencia", "La Familia de Albareda", and "Elía". Her complete works were published at Madrid (1860-61) in thirteen volumes.

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