Don Juan Valera, a nineteenth century Spanish author, writer and political figure, was born in 1824 in the city of Cabra, Spain. After sometime of governmental employment, he turned author publishing his first and best-known novel, Pepita Jeménez, in 1874. Valera went on to wrote eight novels, many short stories, a few dramas and numerous articles of literary criticism. Morsamor, his final novel, appeared in 1899, a few years before his death in 1905.
2007 0-7734-5432-2 This book is an English translation of Don Juan Valera’s novel Morsamor. In 1521, as Spanish and Portuguese mariners are navigating the seas and discovering new worlds, Miguel de Zuheros, an aging friar, leads a contemplative life, cloistered in Seville. From outside the monastery walls, news arrives of the fame, glory and achievements of his compatriots, heightening the friar’s sense of his own insignificance and obscurity, while arousing a desire to share in the excitement of the Age of Exploration. Nearing death as he is, Friar Miguel feels he must abandon such hopes for adventure until he encounters a new individual in the monastery, Father Ambrosio, a priest schooled in the art of alchemy and the magic of the faith. Anointing the despondent friar, Father Ambrosio gives him a potion whereby he becomes the dashing young adventurer Morsamor (“death-love”) who seeks to circumnavigate the globe and explore the deep recesses of the heart. Shipwrecked after the many entertaining exploits, Morsamor awakes, back in the monastery, having reverted to his alter-ego, the dying Friar Miguel, where he ponders the reality and meaning of his adventures while struggling for the purity of his soul.