The following example piles self-revelation onto a passage whose extended structuring and grotesque metaphor already give it a parodic tone: «No sé, no sé lo que pasó en mi interior. La efusión de mi oculto cariño, que se expansionaba y se venía fuera, cual oprimido gas que encuentra de súbito mil puntos de salida, hallaba obstáculos en el temor de aquella soledad traicionera, en el comedimiento que me parecía exigido por las circunstancias; y así, cuando las más vulgares reglas del romanticismo pedían que me pusiera de rodillas y soltara uno de esos apasionados ternos que tanto efecto hacen en el teatro, mi timidez tan sólo supo decir del modo más soso posible: / 'Veremos eso, veremos eso...'» (XXXIV, 207).
«Reality and Fiction in the Novels of Galdós», Anales Galdosianos, 1 (1966), 19.
Gullón (p. 73), in his interpretation of Manso as society's antagonist, and Earle, who views Manso as the incarnation of purity, instrumental in revealing the baseness of human nature, are not as far apart in their readings as Earle's note 14 (p. 126) would seem to infer. Both capture his superiority, as does Rodgers (p. 443): «Por incapaz que sea Máximo de enfrentarse con la naturaleza humana tal como es, permanece' al final en posesión de las únicas realidades dignas de ser perseguidas -la verdad, la caridad, la sabiduría, mientras que los hombres 'prácticos' viven en un mundo de ilusiones». Since it is a fact, as Denah Lida observes in «Sobre el 'krausismo' de Galdós», Anales Galdosianos, 2 (1967), 1-27, that Peña succeeds on the social and political scene of immediacy while Máximo enjoys the eternal and the profound and that Máximo is the enabling agent of Peña's triumph, she need not have been so hesitant in designating Manso's failure as relative. And, out of sympathy as I must confess to being with Pattison's approach to the novel, I heartily agree with his conclusions about Máximo: «He has indeed been manso with all the meekness, docility, and lack oi virile spirit which this word connotes. But if, as he states, there is something above and beyond the facts and events of everyday life, he can console himself in the knowledge that in this superior realm he still holds the advantage. Now he is manso in another sense: the bellwether who leads the stupid sheep. The man of action carries off the superficial and transitory victories; the man of thought moves in the world of truth and is the guide of society towards a better organization in which egoism and individualism will no longer corrupt the ideal» (p. 148).
In comparing El amigo Manso to an Anatole France novel («Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard, a Possible Source for El amigo Manso», Symposium, 17 , 123-29), Monroe Z. Hafter has noticed that in a juxtaposition of fiction and reality, the imaginary may prove to be the more real of the two. Máximos contradictory nature as a self-conscious fiction of flesh and blood leads Hafter to conclude that the ultimate battle on the level of action and practical resolution is won by the figment of the imagination. Had Hafter and Russell gone far enough into Galdós' game playing to detail the supremacy of fiction, they would have been able to resolve the contradiction of Máximo's dual parentage that troubles them. The very fact of his fictionality gives Máximo life and allows the illusion of reality to take over. One need not be surprised that his creator is forgotten once Manso has contracted with him for his existence: such is the way of fiction.
The conviction that the poet has the capacity to discover the truth behind the mask was basic to the Symbolist esthetic of the time. André Gide picked up the idea in his first work, Les Cahiers d'André Walter (1891): «the poet's imagination brings out more clearly the ideal truth hidden behind the appearance of things» (The Notebooks of André Walter, trans. Wade Baskin [London: Peter Owen, 1968], p. 32).
Cf. Infante's final words to Equis in La incógnita (V, 786).
Emilia Pardo Bazán, «Tristana» in Obras completas, vol. 3 (Madrid: Aguilar, 1973), p. 1120.
Leopoldo Alas (Clarín), Galdós, Obras completas, vol. I (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1912), p. 252.
Pardo Bazán, op. cit., p. 1122.
Leon Livingstone, in his article «The Law of Nature and Women's Liberation in Tristana», Anales galdosianos 7 (1972), 93-99, judges Horacio much more harshly, seeing him as the quintessential predatory male (like Juanito Santa Cruz of Fortunata y Jacinta). But, as we shall see, Horacio's apparent rejection of Tristana is perhaps only in recognition of the fact that by the end of the novel, no living human being could have satisfied Tristana.