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ArribaAbajoAn appraisal of Sackett's

Annotated bibliography on Pérez Galdós

Shirley A. Orsag

Theodore A. Sackett is to be commended for this first attempt to collect and examine the vast literature on Benito Pérez Galdós. In the past, one of the major obstacles to any systematic program of research was the lack of reliable bibliographical aids. With the publication of Pérez Galdós: An Annotated Bibliography (New Mexico, University of New Mexico Press, 1968, 130 pp.), it becomes apparent that many problems can be alleviated by simply gathering pertinent works in one central source. Sackett's compilation of 725 entries, dealing principally with the Novelas españolas contemporáneas, represents the largest Galdosian bibliography in print to this date. A majority of the entries are annotated, making it easier to preview and select materials. They are arranged alphabetically, numbered for quick cross-reference, and listed by code number in a Subject Index.

The book is divided into four sections: (1) an Introduction, which reviews the history of Galdosian criticism; (2) entries dealing with books or major studies of Galdós; (3) entries concerned with articles or chapters on his work; and (4) the Subject Index. The Bibliographer claims to have collected and examined the largest portion of literary criticism relating to the nonhistorical novels of Galdós. While the closing lines of Sackett's Introduction («This bibliography seeks to identify what is valuable in Galdosian criticism») would seem to discourage discussion, the fact that future Galdosian bibliographies are in preparation dictates that this book be thoroughly evaluated. Though I eagerly used Sackett in my own research, I gained the impression that the effectiveness of the book is reduced by editorial inconsistencies, not only respecting the accuracy of the entries and index, but also the general format.

The two main divisions («Books on Pérez Galdós» and «Studies of Galdós»,) are entirely too broad. In the first place, they do not cover original works written by Galdós. Furthermore, the researcher seeking accurate description of a work will find it neither in the title-heading nor in the index. Sackett lists the actual works of Galdós in the first section («Books on Pérez Galdós») and the edited editions in the second section («Studies of Galdós»). A more precise system of classification would have properly identified each title and at the same time given advance knowledge of the type of content.

The most important questions of purpose, sources, and procedures are discussed briefly in the Introduction, but I feel that the bibliographer has neglected to reveal important information. In the paragraph on procedures, Sackett makes no concise statement of the time period covered by the bibliography. While he does mention the final dates of the major sources of annual bibliographies, this is not an adequate indication of the total span. As to the sources of materials, I do respect his selection, which can be supplemented by the bibliography in Anales Galdosianos (1968). In it, Manuel   —124→   ] Hernández Suárez lists all the publications of and about Galdós as a current addition to his large volume that will appear at the end of this year.

Sackett's criterion in selecting the studies in his bibliography was that each entry have a direct relation to the thirty nonhistorical novels of Galdós (Novelas españolas contemporáneas). He explains those entries pertaining to the Episodios as having a relation to the other novels or to aspects of general interest such as Galdós' contact with the Generation of 98, and adds that the general elimination of the Episodios from the bibliography is not for reasons of any supposed inferiority, but only in view of the impossibility of compilation. In spite of the restrictions imposed on entries concerning the Episodios, it is interesting to note that the references to them outnumber even the most cited novel, Fortunata y Jacinta, testifying to the important interrelationship between the Episodios and the Novelas. It is lamentable that the bibliographer did not reconsider complete inclusion of studies on the Episodios since scholars are in the process of investigating their total significance in Galdós' productivity. This renewed interest is reflected in two extensive studies done on the Episodios by Hans Hinterhäuser and Antonio Regalado García.

In the introductory section Sackett compares his findings with their conclusions and offers some new refined statistics. He analyses the first hundred years of Galdosian literary criticism and outlines four phases: 129 studies were published during Galdós lifetime (1870-1920), 125 in the period immediately following his death (1920-1936), 117 in the period of renewed interest (1936-1949), and 274 to date since 1950. He also substantiates the findings of Hinterhäuser and Regalado García in that his index reflects the overwhelming predominance of interest in Gaidosian biography. The section of the index dealing with Galdós' individual works will be useful to potential thesis writers since it records which novels have been studied and which ones remain largely unexplored.

The index is the all-important resource and should have been rechecked before publication for complete accuracy. In consulting just two subjects, I found many errors. Under Fortunata y Jacinta, number 486 in the index is the first of two numbers 487. Under «Naturalism», I believe that number 507, which follows 402, is really number 407. A typographical error explains this, but I do not see the reason for the lack of sequence in other subjects such as «Translations of Galdós.» Sackett also states in the Introduction that the Subject Index includes material from all of the «studies» (p. viii). But glancing quite rapidly through the entries, I came across references to naturalism in numbers 48, 57, 63, 85, 186, 401, and 505. Although many of these items contain major treatments of naturalism, not one appears in the index under said subject. Since the index does not really classify all the entries nor always reflect the correct numerical correspondence, researchers should therefore exercise caution. A final word concerning the index. The subject headings do not cover all the topics reviewed in the entries. One example of serious omission is the lack of identification of authors of edited editions. To find commentary by a specific author, one has no recourse but to search through the list of works in the section «Studies of Galdós.»

Two areas still require thorough investigation by future Galdosian bibliographers: the publication of foreign editions of Galdós works, and doctoral theses published in the United States. It is time to expand our bibliography to include all the significant publications of and on Galdós throughout the world. Doctoral theses, too, represent an invaluable source of Galdosian criticism.


In spite of the defective numerical system, and omissions of entries and subjects, Sackett has made a definite contribution by bringing together so many materials.

University of Pittsburgh