Smoking Room: Stories of the English People of the Canaries


Rafael Romero Quesada, better known by his pseudonym, Alonso Quesada (1886−1925), was an important modernist poet living on Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands archipelago of Spain. He was also literary critic and translator, who explored many forms of creative writing, among them fiction, theater, and journalism. Shown here is Smoking room: Cuentos de los ingleses de la colonia en Canarias (Smoking room: Stories of the English people of the Canaries; the cover is actually marked “Smocking-room”), some parts of which are in manuscript and others in typescript. The work is a collection of ten short stories (in draft form and various stages of correction) and uses dialogue as the main vehicle to deliver the narrative. The volume also includes press clippings from the publication of some of the stories in Barcelona in 1918−21. In all of his literary oeuvre, Quesada expressed his intellectual uneasiness, existential bitterness, and profound sense of irony. He was a close friend and contemporary of Canarian poets Tomás Morales and Saulo Torón. These closely observed tone poems about the British community in the Canaries offer a quiet charm and lyricism. Quesada’s prose paints a subtle but satirical picture of the insular expatriate community building a slice of English life on alien soil. A current of understanding of the hardship and poverty of his era underlies this work. Three collections of his poetry were published in in the period 1915−22. Much of Alonso Quesada’s output was unpublished at his death at a young age from tuberculosis, including Los caminos dispersos (The scattered paths), which had just been shortlisted for Spain’s National Literature Prize. This volume is in the collections of the Gran Canaria Island Library.

Last updated: June 13, 2016