Cosas añejas constitutes one of the most representative example of XIXth Century Dominican Literature, and the main production of César Nicolás Penson (Santo Domingo, 1855-1901).
In this work Penson gathers eleven Dominican XVII and XIX Century stories, that had been previously limited to legal files or folk spoken lore, and recreates them in a well structured corpus in what is known as the «Tradiciones» genre, in the same line as Peruvian author Ricardo Palma's «Tradiciones Peruanas». The «Tradiciones» appear in the XIX Century with the explicit purpose of safekeeping the past and traditions of the Latin American Creole society while collecting and redrafting popular tales, legends and articles on popular customs. The recreated stories mix facts and fiction, fantasy with popular superstition, in an educated language spattered with popular expresions, proverbs and adages, in a well balanced mixture of seriousness, satire and irony aimed to be regarded as an entertaining social criticism.Thus becoming vivid portraits of the members of those societies, of their lives, customs, their ways of feeling and thinking. This explains the warm reception obtained, both by Palma and Penson, when first published.
In his «Cosas Añejas» Penson also includes numerous «notes from the author» full with philosophical digressions and explanations of various kinds on each of the traditions and episodes:vocabulary definitions, adages, sayings, customs, interpretations of zoological, botanical and geographical terms, genealogical and historical explanations, and minute details of the monuments and streets of colonial Santo Domingo city.
This edition, by prof. Rita M. Tejada, includes a foreword and numerous footnotes that allow the modern reader to grasp the full intention of the author while placing the work in the proper socio-historical context of XIXth Century Santo Domingo