If asked to name some of the greatest nineteenth-century novelists, I suspect that few people in the English-speaking world would mention the Spanish writer, Benito Pérez Galdós. Those who do not know his work will appreciate his vivid characters, realistic descriptions and exciting plotlines, expressed in a fluent and varied writing style. Sometimes referred to as the “Spanish Dickens”, this epithet is probably a fair description of the two writers’ status in their respective countries and gives an English reader who does not already know Galdós a reasonable idea of what to expect from him.
I had come across Galdós many years ago and greatly enjoyed what I had read, but it was only after I had retired that I had the opportunity to devote more time to him. Although some of his best works such as Fortunata and Jacinta and Doña Perfecta had already been translated into English, I realised that there were no current translations of two of his shorter historical novels, Trafalgar and The Battle of Salamanca. These are stirring accounts of the Napoleonic wars in Spain following the adventures, military and amorous, of the hero Gabriel Araceli. They are also particularly interesting for English readers as they cover two titanic struggles in the history of Spain and Great Britain. Another feature that attracted me to both books was that early editions from the 1880s had excellent illustrations. Galdós himself considered the books incomplete without the illustrations. A final stimulus was that 2020 would be the centenary of the death of Galdós, so now would be a fitting time to present these books before the English-speaking public.
At first, I approached a few publishing companies but for various reasons they did not take up my proposal. I then considered self-publishing and following the advice of friends I got in touch with Douglas Walker at the Self-Publishing Partnership. I found his response and that of his team to be professional and friendly. They came up with suggestions on layout and overall design that turned my basic manuscript into a proper book. The team at the Self-Publishing Partnership always explained each step and the process was consistently smooth. They are also able to put you in touch with an independent publicist. If I ever write again I will come back to the Self-Publishing Partnership.
‘Trafalgar & The Battle of Salamanca’ by Benito Pérez Galdós, translated by Rick Morgan is available on Amazon.