The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeremy Tambling

Santa: A Novel by Federico Gamboa

  • Jeremy Tambling
Living reference work entry

Santa: A Novel of Mexico City by Federico Gamboa (1864–1939) gives the life of the country-girl Santa, no more than 17, who is cast off by her mother who discovers that she has had a miscarriage after an affair with a soldier at the local barracks, and comes into the city to join a brothel, which soon stands as an image for Mexico City, in the way that the prison is an image for London in Dickens.

The novel is classically structured with ten chapters in two parts in close symmetry. In the first chapter, Santa arrives, and the second gives a recall of her earlier life. Her attractiveness increases in the brothel, which she leaves at the end of chapter 5, with a Spanish torero, El Jarameño who takes her to the boarding house, a description of which, obviously based on the equivalent boarding house which opens Père Goriot, opens the second part of the novel. But this Carmentheme, which is alluded to, does not persist, for Bizet’s romanticism does not work through the ironies of people...

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.LondonUK