The Last Muse of the Marqués de Bradomín ?

Virginia  Milner  Garlitz

Professor Emérita, Plymouth State University, NH, USA


        We know that one of the poems in Valle-Inclán's El Pasajero (1920) which appears in the section titled «Tentaciones» as “Rosa de Oriente" was inspired by the exotic dancer Tórtola Valencia, the «Bailarina de los pies descalzos» (the "barefoot ballerina") who captivated many of Valle's contemporaries who immortalized her in poetry and in painting. The poem first appeared with title of «A Tortola» in 1912). (Amor y Vázquez, «Terpsícore»).

         Nineteen twelve is the same year that Valle began work on the essays which would become La lámpara maravillosa (see Garlitz «La evolución»). I believe the 1920 or first edition of El Pasajero to be the closest in content and style to that important work, the only one which don Ramón dedicated completely to expressing his aesthetic theories, (see Garlitz «La pereginación» and El centro).

Teresa Wilms MonttI wonder if more of the poems in that collection might have been inspired by other "tentadoras" or temptresses.  I am thinking particularly of Teresa Wilms Montt. 

        In her article «Valle-Inclán y las mujeres itinerants», Schiavo makes a convincing case for the influence of Teresa in "Clave I," the first poem of Pipa de Kif which ends with an + during the time that Teresa was signing her own poems «Teresa de la Cruz which she wrote as Teresa de la +.»  (Schiavo: 251)

       Teresa Wilms Montt arrived in Madrid in 1918 in February, according to González Vergara, (Canto) at the end of January or the beginning of February, according to Hormigón, Biografía cronológica: 755).  She stayed in the capital until the end of July and returned briefly in November of the same year.  In 1919, Teresa returned to Madrid for the second and last time and the 28th of November, her poem «Belzebuth» was published there, according to Hormigón, (Biografía: 795) but he does not provide bibliographical references.

       Teresa's countryman, Joaquín Edwards Bello (1887-1958), describes a playful relationship between Valle-Inclán and Teresa.  He indicates that Teresa considered herself to be the inspiration for Valle's new poetic direction in Pipa de Kif. Edwards records that when he was with the two one night in the Café Gato Negro, Valle quoted the poem that Schiavo identifies as «Aleluya», "Clave II," the second poem in the Pipa collection, published in 1919. («Mujeres»: 253)

        We know that besides their use of marijuana and kif and their love of poetry, Teresa and Valle shared an interest in the occult (for occultism in Valle, see Garlitz El centro, and «Ocultismo»). Teresa associated with Masonic groups during her residence in Valdivia in 1912 (González Vergara Canto). According to Muñoz Coloma, («Patrona»), she may have even selected the day of her suicide to be right before Christmas because of its mystical connotations. Valle in his prologue to Teresa's Anuarí describes her as descending the sacred mountain trailing the esoteric charm of an ancient cult of wind, sea, earth and fire («Baja la montaña sagrada...arrastra el prestigio esotérico de algún antiguo culto al viento y al mar, a la tierra y al fuego». (Obra Completa: II: 1749).

Teresa was also associated with both literary and feminist groups in Santiago in 1911 when she and her husband lived in the Chilean capital. (González Vergara Canto)

     Nineteen Eighteen was a difficult year for Valle-Inclán. Neither his lámpara maravillosa published in book form in 1916 (for the reception of this key work, see Garlitz «Humo y luz» and El centro) nor his book A medianoche (1917) based on his experience in the trenches of World War I as a correspondent for El Imparcial, brought him the success he had counted on, (for the relation between this work and  La  lámpara , see Lima «The Gnostic Flight» and Garlitz «La estética»), further worsening his ever present financial problems, and probably putting undo stress on his relationship with his wife Josefina Blanco, now the mother of four.  Josefina had left the stage by that time and even though according to Domínquez («Una mujer»), she never regretted her retirement, it did mean a smaller income for their large family.  It is not surprising that Valle spent most of his time that year shuttling back and forth between Galicia and Madrid. 

     Like every other red blooded man in her vicinity, Valle could not have escaped the obvious attraction of Teresa, the 25 year-old, blond, light-eyed Chilean beauty who had a very tragic past.  (see her famous «ojos glaucos» photo 1)

    Martín Cerda says "es sin duda, la mujer más trágica de la literatura chilena de este siglo." (apud Hernán Ortega Parada) («She is without doubt the most tragic woman of Chilean literature of this [20th] century»). She had been shut up in a convent by her own family and separated from her two young daughters because of a supposed affair with the friend and cousin of her dissolute, abusive, husband. (González Vergara, Canto) She escaped from the convent with the help of poet Vicente Huidobro and went with him to Buenos Aires where she wrote for Nosotros, the same literary magazine which gave a banquet in honor of Valle-Inclán while he was in Buenos Aires in 1910 (see Garlitz, Andanzas) and she was also at least partly responsible for the suicide of a young admirer (González, Canto).

     Muñoz Coloma calls Teresa the archetypal “femme fatale."  Indeed, in Cansinos Assens's description of her she could be either a forerunner of the sirens of the silver screen  of the 20s and thirties such as Marlene Dietrich or a modern incarnation of a long line of "Salomés," so important in the literature and art of the 1890s. Cansinos Assens wrote: Teresa de la Cruz

«Es bella e interesante de grandes ojos pasionales y tristes y un gesto amargo y desdeñoso en los labios pintados....»  Viste de negro y sobre el descote luce una crucecita negra («que casi se pierde entre los pechos mórbidos...» Schiavo «Mujeres» 255). Se sienta en el diván con aire desesperado, cruza las piernas y fuma en una boquilla de marfil que maneja como un puntero, en tanto le sirven una copa de coñac.  Me tiende la mano bella y enjoyada y con las uñas pintadas de rojo nerviosa y viril... parece poseída de una pena y un desencanto universales.

She leaves him inundated by a "perfume" maléfico de flor baudelariana" (apud Hormigón, Biografía: 256).

Photo 2 shows Teresa wearing a black cross which according to her daughter Sylvia was given to her by Alfonso XIII.    

    While in Madrid, Teresa seemed to be mentally unstable, probably owing to the depression caused by being separated from her children and to her addiction to morphine and other opiates. Edwards's friend, Lasso de la Vega (Rafael, marquis of Vilanova (1890-1959), a Sevillian poet who--Cansinos-Assens considers to be a parasite--urged him to leave Teresa. whom he calls a «ninfomaníaca insaciable, una vampiresa.» (a nymphomaniac, a female vampire)

    Edwards agrees she seems to be suffering from neurostenia. saying that she often thinks she is going to die.  She feels like she is suffocating and has to get out for air. Edwards admits that Teresa has been stalking him.  Even when he changed his residence, Teresa found out where he was and when she didn't find him at home, she smeared her signature cross on his door using her menstrual blood.  Cansinos concludes by saying  «Es una mujer terrible, une fleur du mal» (apud Hormigón  Biografía: 769).

    In 1918, a year after Mata Hari had been executed in Paris for being a double agent for the Germans, Teresa was detained and deported from the US, under suspicion of being a spy for the Germans, probably due to being, like Mata Hari, an attractive,  single, woman traveling alone and because of her German surname. In fact, in 1918, Teresa, distraught over the death of her Argentinian admirer, was really on her way to join the Red Cross and go to the front in France.  So she and Valle shared something else: their sympathy for the Allied cause (for Valle-Inclán's views, see Monge «Los Aliados»). A year later Teresa was detained in Paris for the same reasons and deported to Liverpool, England. That time she again returned to Spain, making Madrid her residence before moving back to Paris for the last and final time.

Besides being incredibly beautiful, as shown by the photos included here, Teresa was also an accomplished writer who published prose poems in both Madrid and Buenos Aires)..

    Teresa authored a collection of prose poems dedicated to the 19-year old  Argentinian, Horacio Ramos Mejía, who, perhaps because of her rejection of him, although we do not know for sure,  had slit his wrists in the bathtub of her house in Buenos Aires. Only after his death, did Teresa decide she was in love with the young man. and wrote verses filled with erotic passion and macabre images addressed to him. Schiavo («mujeres»: 252) calls her a typical decadentista in her exaggeration of the macabre and the pleasure she takes in suffering. Thus she shared another interest of Valle's, at least in his literature, that is necrophilia. For example, the play Rosa de papel in which a husband makes love to his wife after killing her for money or the novel Sonata de otoño in which Valle's most famous character and who some claim is his alter ego, the  Marqués de Bradomín, makes love to Concha on her deathbed.

    According to Edwards, Teresa's always dressing in black, as well as her room echoed her literary style. Her room was papered in black and filled with a collection of skulls, lives of saints, and little German dolls,  a strange mixture of infantile and truculent things :"lo macabro en una caja de dulces" (The macabre in a box of candy) (apud Schiavo «mujeres:» 261).

    Valle-Inclán wrote the prologue for Teresa’s collection, named for the dead lover, Anuarí, published in Madrid in 1918.  In that prologue, Valle calls Teresa a «frágil y blonda druidesa» and refers to the effect of her voice in words that recall those of La lámpara  describing the power of verbal music:

Tiene la clara diafanidad del canto en  las  altas cimas y no sabemos si es lejos o cerca  de nosotros cuando suena en el maravilloso silencio."  ...maravillosa virtud la de esta voz que golpea la puerta del bronce del templo de Isis: los ecos milenarios se despiertan y las sombras acuden al conjuro, pasan guiadas por la música de las palabras que se abren como círculos mágicos  en un aire nocturno...maravillosa voz alejandrina que renueva el temblor de las visiones apocalípticas , y la mística calentura del fakir que deslíe su conciencia en el Gran Todo ( my emphasis )

    Teresa in her turn describes Valle in chapter XXIII as a «mago fakir antes de Cristo» and refers to his Lámpara maravillosa: «Sobre mi mesa se abrieron como brazos en la sombra las páginas de la lámpara maravillosa de Don Ramón María del Valle-Inclán» (apud Hormigón,  Biografía: 757 ). (On my table the pages of La lámpara maravillosa of Don Ramón María del Valle-Inclán opened like arms in the shadows"). She mentions his cape.  «Pasó, su luenga barba hacía compás al vuelo de su capa inflada.»  (He passed by, his long beard keeping rhythm with his inflated cape). Teresa herself wore a black "capelina” or small shoulder cape which her daughter Sylvia describes her wearing in her memoirs. (Schiavo"mujeres":255)

    González Vergara tells us that Valle accompanied Teresa on a trip to Avila and Toledo without specifying a date other than in June of 1918. Edwards claims that Teresa was very moved by seeing the city of her namesake and said she wanted to spend her last days there (Schiavo «mujeres»:253).

The collection of poems that make up El pasajero was first published the 15th of February, 1920, one year before Teresa's suicide in Paris on December 24, 1921. 

    Teresa was displaying self-destructive tendencies during her first visit to Madrid according to Edwards, who said to Cansinos Assens in his tertulia in El Café Colonial: «Esta Teresa se está arruinando la salud, bebe, toma coca, se pincha. ¡Es un dolor! (apud Hormigón Biografía: 757)  (Teresa is ruining her health, she drinks, she takes cocaine, she injects herself[with drugs].  It's dreadful!)   Teresa had attempted suicide once before while confined to the convent in Santiago in 1916.  That time she took an overdose of morphine.  In Paris she took veronal which according to Cela's Mrs. Caldwell Speaks with Her Son) is a suicide "de buen tono" : "siempre fue de buen tono, hijo, debe tomarse con champán y por la noche. " (apud.  Muñoz Coloma «La Patrona») (“[Veronal] was always in good taste, son.  It should be taken at night with champagne")  

    The 1920 edition of El Pasajero is the only one which is divided into sections which include Tentaciones." (Temptations). Several of the poems there appeared in June coinciding with the time that Valle and Teresa were on their trip through Castilla. One of them titled «Rosa del caminante», was first published in El Imparcial, as «Ciudad de Castilla: rosa del camino» (June 3, 1918) Besides the cities mentioned in the last verse: Astorga, Zamora and León, the poem seems to refer to Toledo, the Castilian city, emblematic of death and the ravages of time in La lámpara. Just as in that work, the 1920 edition of El Pasajero presents Galicia as the contrary of Castilla.(for the importance of "contrarios" or contraries), see Garlitz, Andanzas ) «Rosa matinal», originally titled “del Celta es la Victoria," (dated 13 August 1918) contrasts the "parda tierra castellana"(the brown Castilian earth ), "with the freshness and vitality of Galicia. "el verde milagro de una tierra cristalina" (the green miracle of a crystalline land).

    "Rosa del paraíso...," also published in June (El Sol, June 9th) under the title of "Rosa del mito solar," seems to continue the description of Galicia.: "El campo verde de una tinta tierna,/Los montes mitos de amatista opaca." (the earth a tender tint of green/the mountains, myths of opaque amethyst").

    In La lámpara, the narrator connects himself with Toledo by describing the portrait that El Greco painted of Cardenal Tavera based on his death mask and implying that his own true face will be revealed in the "último gesto" or last gesture, that death will make visible beneath his mask. One of Valle's first mentions of a similar mask appears in his lecture "Los Excitantes," which he gave only once during his 1910 South American tour probably because his revelations of personal experience with hashish were considered so scandalous (for the complete review of the lecture, which does not appear in Joaquín and Javier del Valle-Inclán's collection of Entrevistas conferencias y cartas,  see Garlitz, Andanzas).  In that lecture, Valle describes the feeling, induced by hashish,  of a wax mask formed on his face ("en su rostro sintió algo que era la sensación exacta de una máscara de cera puesta en él") (  "he felt the exact sensation of a mask of wax [being] placed over his face"). 

Julio Romero de Torres, Teresa WilmsIn 1918 Valle was only 52 but he must have felt like a very old man, close to the revelation of his "último gesto," in the presence of the 25 year old "tentadora," Teresa.

    Her friend, Edwards, who observed the two in a late night session in the Gato Negro café, smoking hash and writing at the same table and later at a unsuccessful dinner party [Teresa ruined the food], at the home of either Anselmo Miguel Nieto or of Romero de Torres, both of whom painted portraits of Teresa, said they were more like father and daughter than lovers (Schiavo «mujeres»). The portrait by Romero de Torres shown in Hormigón's Biografía (754) is the one that the artist exhibited in his 1922 exhibition in Buenos Aires (see Santos Zas «De puño»).  I have not been able to locate Nieto's portrait.

Antono de la Gandara, Teresa Wilms    Ortega Pareda ("Patrona") notes the existence of another oil portrait of Teresa by the renowned Hispanic-French portraitist, Antonio de la Gándara (1862-1917) in the Museo histórico Palmera  Romano in Limache, Chile. There is a mystery surrounding the date of the painting. It is given as 1918, but when Teresa was in Spain that year, Gandara had already died.  Could it have been done before Teresa left South America? She does not look like a femme fatale here.

    Although Edwards describes Valle's relationship with Teresa as that of a father and daughter, both Hormigón and Schiavo are convinced that something more serious was going on.  In fact, Schiavo makes a good case for reading Clave 1 of Pipa as a love poem to Teresa.

    I would go so far as to say that the whole group of poems published during Teresa's first stay in Madrid (Feb  to Nov. 1918)  could be read as a love story or at least a record of Teresa's inspiration in Valle's work. In his typical fashion, don Ramón uses his writing dedicated to another person as an opportunity to present some of his personal ideas on aesthetics. (For example, in his essays on the National Expositions of Fine Art in 1908 and 1912.  See Garlitz, El centro).

    If we see Clave I of Pipa as the culmination of the group we can then trace the images and ideas expressed there in the poems leading up to it. Several of the poems are also connected to images and concepts from La lámpara, published in book form two years earlier. They are a celebration of Teresa's youth and her effect on the speaker in the poem:  In "Clave 1", his muse is "la niña primavera" (the Spring girl), the "Princesa," corazón de abril". (Princess, Heart of April ) who takes him back to the days of his childhood when the world had the grace of morning.  She makes his senses sing in the heart of crystal blue. She moved the "rose of his heart."

    A possible allusion to Teresa as Princess April can be seen in «Rosa de mi abril», published in El Imparcial, August 19th 1918. It describes a long ago love of the speaker's youth found in a blue garden in April who guides him now on a new path. We note that «Rosa de abril» is the title given to the Virgin of Montserrat in Jacinto Verdeguer's(1845-1902)  art song «Virolai». (1880).

     «Rosa de furias», later published as «Rosa del destino» (El Imparcial, 24 February, 1919) seems to elaborate on the line in Clave I: «Y jamás le nieguen tus cabellos de oro, jarcias a mi barca, toda de cristal» (And your golden hair never refuses [to be]  the rigging on my crystal boat"). It describes his ivory boat sailing under a full moon in April. The speaker might refer to the impact of Teresa in his life in the line: «Y era abril cuando ululante /Por mi vida pasó un ciclón» ("and it was April when a howling cyclone passed through my life").

    In Clave I, the speaker calls his muse his “spirtu gentil". This reference to Donizetti's most famous aria from La favorita (1894) reflects Teresa's passion for opera (a passion which first attracted her to her husband according to González, Canto). The title of the aria which means “Spirit of Light" could refer to a shared interest of Valle and Teresa in the importance of light and especially the sun in its esoteric associations(see Fernández Ripoll for the importance of light in Valle-Inclán). This association is repeated in the line "En la risa joven del Numen Solar". ("In the young smile of the solar diety"). 

     In Valle's prologue to Anuarí, he repeats a Gnostic theme from La lámpara that it is this sacred light that inspires fallen man to return to it: «El barro recuerda la hora en que salió del caos ...Con el dolor de la caída se junta el anhelo por volver a la luz.» ("The clay [man's earthly form] remembers the hour when it came out of chaos.  The sorrow of the Fall is joined with the desire to return to the light [the divine center of the Great All]).

    «Rosa del sol» first published in El Sol October 13th, 1918 as «Rito juliano» is a hymn to the sun in its esoteric meaning as the light which illuminates Eternal Ideas in the mortal vessel, or man, through the song of his mouth, that is poetry.  In its form as poetry this light redeems the earthly rock by causing it to transcend into crystal, meaning it transforms crass physical form into crystal, or pure substance. «Sacro Verbo métrico redime a la Roca del Mundo.  Su estrella transciende al Cristal» (holy metrical word[that] redeems the rock of the world and makes it transcend into crystal")

     The reference to the Emperor Julian in the original title of this poem is elaborated on in the very complex, «Rosas astrales» (I don't have a date of a previous publication; 1920 may be its first).  There, the Emperor as the Apostate who denied Christ by returning to the pagan worship of the sun is seen as the first to perceive the power of the stars(astros) in the creation of poetry.  The poem calls stars or small suns the keys to the Great All. They contain the power of the Demiurge, or the Gnostic god of creation, who like Valle’s Alexandrine rose in La lámpara represents the type of art in which the artist views the world from a distant and dispassionate perspective. I see the poem «Rosa gnóstica», first published as "Credo" in El Liberal, November 11, 1912 as a condensation of that artistic "creed" expressed in La lámpara. (see Garlitz «La peregrinación»).

      A poem first published in El Sol on June 9th 1918 under the title of «Rosa del mito solar» carries as its epigraph a verse from Darío which is repeated later in the poem: "era el cielo cristal", canto y sonrisa" ("the sky was crystal, song and smile") 

      This poem becomes «Rosa del paraíso» in 1920.  It might refer to an earlier excursion of Valle and Teresa, maybe in April.  It refers to Palm Sunday and we know that in 1918 Easter fell in April: «Esta emoción divina es de la infancia cuando felices el camino andamos. /Y todo se disuelve en la fragancia de un Domingo de Ramos» ("This divine emotion is that of our childhood when we walked happily along the road And everything dissolves in the fragrance of Palm Sunday")

González Vergara knows of a letter from Valle to Teresa in which he addresses her as «preciosa cristal».

      Crystal is a very important element in Valle's aesthetic theory which he works out in La lámpara( see Garlitz el centro, Schiavo"cristal", and LoDato, All that Glitters")). In that work, the narrator connects the crystal with another of Valle's essential symbols: the rose.(see Garlitz El centro and Hormigón, Biografía:762) Could it be that Teresa, the precious crystal is also the rose? In Clave 1 of Pipa, "she" is the rose and "he" is the bull.  Maybe that would mean that Teresa could be the main muse for the «Poemas de las rosas» which is the first title that Valle gives to the collection that was to become El pasajero.

     That title applied to his poetry first appears in El Imparcial in the series «Las rosas pánicas», on June 10th of 1918.

     In 1915 Valle published an essay titled "Las tres rosas estéticas" which he later integrated into La lámpara (see Garlitz «La evolución») .There, the third rose is the rosa "alejandrina”, the same adjective that Valle uses to describe Teresa's voice in his prologue to her Anuarí which I think helps prove that Teresa is the «cortesana of Alejandría» as we will see below. The Alexandrine rose in La lámpara refers to Valle's 3rd artistic path or “Gnostic" art in which the artist observes the world from above in a dispassionate distanced way as we saw above in «Rosa gnóstica» (see Garlitz "El centro and "El ocultismo") This will be the perspective of what some consider to be Valle's most important contribution to Spanish literature, that is the esperpento.  

Crystal is also connected to another image, which is key in all of Valle's work, that is the mirror. (see, for example Zahareas and  Cardona El esperpento)

     In the poem «Asterisco», originally called «La Gata» (El Imparcial,October 9,1918 ), a woman conjures the devil, in his guise as Belial, in a magic mirror." Instead of Belial  ,the mirror reveals, as in Plato's cave (another of Valle's  key images, (see Esteve "Aproximación"), the real world behind the illusory one of the physical senses.   The woman-cat who invokes the devil with her fingers in "circumflex" is reminiscent of the mother in «Mi hermana Antonia» whose hand missing the two middle fingers is in a permanent "circumflex", that is the sign of the devil's horns. Valle republished that story on February 21st, 1918. And we remember that Teresa wrote her own poem addressed to "Beelzebuth, the "Lord of the flies" [a fly appears in Valle's poem.: «La mosca que vuela busca en el reflejo del cristal, la mano puesta en circunflejo»:-("The fly in flight searches, for the hand formed in circumflex in the reflection of the mirror.")  In 1920 This poem is followed by «Rosa de Belial», published much earlier as «El íncubo» (El Imparcial, April 20, 1914), probably because it refers to the same form of the devil as Belial, here the incubus who ravishes a young woman in her sleep. In her diary, Teresa describes her own mirrors, which appear in the magic number of nine: «cuando iba a entregarme al sueño,me di cuenta que estaba rodeada de espejos. Encendí la lámpara y los conté. Son nueve. El hondo silencio extiende su cristal opaco dentro del alma» .(Páginas de mi diario Londres 16 octubre, 1919: 22).

 (When I was about to fall asleep, I realized I was surrounded by mirrors I turned on the lamp and I counted them. There are nine of them. The deep silence extends its opaque crystal into my soul") We note that there are exactly nine poems in each of the four sections of El Pasajero, (for the importance of symbolic numbers in La lámpara and other of Valle's works, see, Garlitz El centro)

    In his prologue to Anuarí Valle calls Teresa a «druidesa» and her voice «alejandrina». The poem titled «Cortesana de Alejandría» in El Pasajero (1920) echoes that association. I don't have the date of its first publication; this may be its first.

     Cortesana de Alejandria is the subtitle of Anatole France's scandalous (1890) novel,Thaís. It tells the story of a devout Anchorite hermit, living in the desert who converts a  young, beautiful, blond, and light -eyed courtesan to Christianity, only to be seduced by her  in his turn. (It is interesting to note that one of the critics who commented on his work while Valle was in Asunción in 1910 compared the morality of don Ramón' s work to that of France's novel.( see Garlitz, Andanzas)

    Might the reserved older author, now "exiled" from Madrid in the "desert" of Galicia who had hitherto, as far as we know, been faithful to his wife and his life as a father, see a parallel in his relationship with the seductress Teresa who is blond and light-eyed like Taís? The last line of the poem is telling in this regard:"Antonio el anacoreta huyó de tu sombra por Alejandría. ¡Antonio era Santo! Si fuese poeta?..". ("Antonio the Anchorite fled from your shadow through Alexandria. Antonio was a saint. [what] If he had been a poet...? " 

Teresa Wilms    In the poem, the cortesana is described as being «docta en los secretos de la abracadabra» and the speaker associates her with the serpent, the rose and fire, a reference to a reading of Tarot cards inferred by the line: «dispersó en el aire tus letras, mi mano». (my hand dispersed your letters in the air")  The serpent, of course, refers to the evil tempter in the Garden of Eden. which is constantly represented as a woman in the art of the 1890s for example Flaubert's Salammbo and the paintings of Pre Raphaelites, Waterhouse and Rossetti,(see Edwards). We have already commented on the importance of the rose and we note here that in Clave I, the rose is "encendida"(on fire),

    Another poem published during Teresa's first visit in 1918 as «Rosa de luz» (September 1st in. El Sol) becomes «Rosa de Turbulus» in 1920, Clave II of the “Tentaciones"or Temptations section.  At first glance, it seems to echo Valle's Sonata de estío in its description of a Mayan princess in a tropical setting.  Maybe this is yet another allusion to Teresa who is exotic since she is from South America and is as unattainable as a princess by being a much younger woman, more like a daughter than a lover .(Cansinos Assens describes her as being aloof even though Lasso de la Vega calls her a nymphomaniac)  We can connect her to Teresa by the fact that she fans herself with a rose and  that she recites April verses  from her hammock which has "cadenciosa curva de opio"(the cadenced curve of opium")  The poem also refers to the red of her lips as being painted with the red flame of temptation (which recalls her painted lips noted by Cansinos Assens) and her hips are the anagram of the serpent (see photo ffor a possible inspiration for this image).

    According to González Vergara (El canto),another of Valle's letters to Teresa refers to her as "Niña Chole" the young woman in Sonata de estío who is seduced by her father.

     Another novel of the Sonata series which involves an incestuous relationship, Sonata de invierno was re published on July 7th, 1918.

     The last poem published in 1918 that might be connected to Valle's relationship with Teresa was published the 4th of November of 1918 (that is after Teresa had left Madrid the first time) in El Imparcial as «Rosa de bronce», and becomes «Rosa del rebelde» in 1920. Could the last line «La casa profané con mi lascivia» (I besmirched my house with my lasciviousness") express don Ramón's repentance for his  relationship with Teresa?

Of course all this is pure conjecture at this point. We will have to wait for González Vergara to find and publish the two letters from Valle to Teresa she refers to as well as another of Teresa's diaries she claims to know of. (Hormigón thinks the letters might have been sent during Teresa's second stay in Madrid, when she and Valle were unable to see each other since he was in Galicia at the time.Biografía:791). As well as for further research on a woman who may be well be the last muse of the Marqués de Bradomín, that is Teresa Wilms Montt.
© Virginia Milner Garlitz


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 El Pasajero, núm. 25, 2010