For a New Novel (New York: Grove Press, 1965), p. 32.
René Wellek and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature, 3rd ed. (New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1956), p. 223.
«Linguistics and Poetics», in Style in Language, ed. Thomas A. Sebeok (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1960), pp. 350-77.
Some critics attempt to distinguish between «reflexivity» as a work's reference to itself generically and «self-reflexivity» as a work's reference to itself specifically. Since these two facets of artistic self-consciousness are barely distinguishable and one implies the other, I do not propose to mark such frontiers here.
See Robert Scholes and Robert Kellogg, The Nature of Narrative (New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1966), Ch. VII.
Michael Nimetz, Humor in Galdós (New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, 1968), p. 98.
If Manso's death is seen as the affirmation of his fictionality rather than as the obliteration of his immanent existence, one quickly senses how false is the distinction traced by Robert Kirsner: «Empezó su relato como ente de ficción y lo acaba como un ente no existente» («Sobre 'El amigo Manso', de Galdós», Cuadernos de Literatura, 8 , 192). Kirsner's effort to draw critical attention to a neglected novel merits applause. Robert Ricard, «Quelques aspects du thème de l'évasion dans les romans de Galdós», in Galdós et ses romans (Paris: Institut d'Études Hispaniques, 1961), pp. 63-71, is close to the truth in his conviction that Manso's death is not a flight, but a departure for good reason, the reason being that his work is done. Ricard's assessment falls short of being a fully satisfactory formula insofar as it accounts for Máximo's social but not his fictional status.
In their respective speeches in the theater, Manso and Peña emerge as the imperfect halves of a unit, for Manso's is all content and Peña's is all form. Paternal pride aside, how do we explain Manso's enthusiasm for the gestures, the flowery phrasing, the empty metaphors that lead him. to ask twice «¿de qué hablaba?» and that in others he had relentlessly condemned? Only his instinctive recognition of the symbiotic dependency between creator and creation can serve as an adequate explanation.
Manso reveals, as omniscient creator, that he knows how the story of Manolo and Irene is to end; but then he feels sorry for himself because his role in its denouement is not clear to him: «¿Me correspondía intervenir en ella, o, por el contrario, debería yo evadirme lindamente dejando que los criminales se arreglaran como pudieran?... ¡Pobre Manso!» (XLI, 258). Whether he is pawn of the action or its guiding force or simply withdraws (dies) depends on whether he plays character and participant or creator or narrator.
In an intelligent article that does not touch on the question of Manso's fictionality («Galdós' El amigo Manso: An Experiment in Didactic Method», Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, 39 , 16-30), G.R. Davies singles out the «buñolería» scene as an example of Manso's distanced state from the political and social realities of life and his inferiority, in this respect, to his own pupil.