At the end of the nineteenth century Emilia Pardo Bazan was Spain's leading woman velist and short story writer, and also a critic, journalist and fierce campaigner for women's rights. This book examines Pardo Bazan's growth into maturity as a velist during the late 1880s and the 1890s. Hemingway argues against the convenient critical division of the author's works into an early 'Naturalist' and later 'spiritual' phase. Concentrating on four vels published during this time the author demonstrates that Pardo Bazan's writing shows an increasing interest in psychology; the ambiguity and irony evident in her treatment of characters' motivation show her a subtle critic of the claims of science to explain human behaviour, illustrated in the work of Zola and his followers. Dr Hemingway stresses Pardo Bazan's originality as a writer, deserving comparison with her compatriot Galdos and with contemporary French and Ruissian velists. This wider perspective will make the book of interest to students of the European vel generally as well as those is Spanish studies.