I trust that, before relating the important events of which I have been an eye-witness, I may be allowed to say a few words about my early life and to explain the singular accidents and circumstances which resulted in my being present at our great naval catastrophe...? Benito Pérez Galdós (1843?1920) was a Spanish realist novelist. Some authorities consider him second only to Cervantes in stature as a Spanish novelist. He was the leading literary figure in 19th century Spain. He next developed the outline of a major project, the Episodios Nacionales: a series of historical novels outlining the major events in Spanish history from the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 to his own times. The ostensible aim of this project was to regenerate Spain through the awakening of a new sense of national identity. The first episode was called Trafalgar and appeared in 1873. Successive episodes appeared in fits and starts until the forty-sixth and final novel, Cánovas, appeared in 1912.