—150→ —151→ —152→ —153→ —154→ —155→
The worldwide interest Tolstoy aroused from the mid-eighties until his deathin 1910 was due not only to his prestige as a novelist but also to his religious philosophy. Such works as Confession (1882), What I believe (1884), On Life, A Critique of Dogmatic Theology (1891), The Kingdom of God is Within You (1893), What is Art? (1898) and numerous others were translated into many languages. Before long Tolstoy's didactic writings had spread over the whole world, from America to Japan, to India, where Mahatma Gandhi (perhaps the last of the «tolstoisants») found a buttress for his ideas in Tolstoy's doctrine of non-violence, and used it as a most effective political weapon.294 And between the period of 1870 to 1898 there began to appear, often in great numbers, many translations of Tolstoy's works or extracts from Tolstoy, usually followed by a critical analysis and a study of Tolstoy: among them, into Greek from 1870; into French from 1877; into English from 1878; into German from 1882; into Swedish from 1885; into Anglo-American from 1886; into Italian from 1887 and into Spanish from 1889.295
It was through France and mostly through translations into French that Tolstoy's fame spread into Spain. Spanish interest in Russian literature had been aroused by Voguë's book Le roman russe (1886) and by Pardo-Bazán's La revolución y la novela rusa (1887). But whereas these books mostly affected literary circles, the general public heard about Tolstoy from articles in newspapers which appeared as early as 1886. To quote briefly from «El Imparcial -Los Lunes de El Imparcial», Lunes 22 de Marzo de 1886 (from an article entitled «Alrededor del Mundo»): «El conde León Tolstoi, primo del ministro ruso y autor de Ana Karenine, Mi Religión y demás novelas que están alcanzando gran voga en toda Europa, y principalmente en Francia e Inglaterra, ha resuelto abandonar la literatura por el oficio de zapatero remendón. Siguiendo al pie de la letra los preceptos del Sermón de la Montaña, está vendiendo todo cuanto posee para ganar materialmente el pan con el sudor de su frente. Considera que cuantos goces no son comunes a todos los hombres ricos y pobres no son legítimos, y que la literatura es cosa fútil, y que la fama que ha conquistado con sus novelas no vale ni más ni menos que los aplausos que alcanzan una bailarina o un cómico.» Or this from El Globo (Viernes, 20 de Diciembre, 1901): «Rusos a 37 Pesetas: Ahora sí que no puede negarse la influencia de Tolstoi en nuestras costumbres. Madrid está inundado de individuos que visten a la rusa, como la ensalada y que resultan, por lo tanto, compañeros de las apreciables zapatillas del mismo origen. Servidor mismo anda por ahí metido dentro de un capote de guardafreno, que da gloria verme... Bendita felicidad que se puede comprar por treinta y siete pesetas mal contadas!» (A. R. Bonnat, p. 1, col. 3).
When Tolstoy's fame reached Spain in the late 80's Galdós already had —156→ knowledge of his works. Knowing French, he did not have to wait for Spanish translations. He also personally heard about Russian literature while attending lectures given by E. Pardo-Bazán in Madrid in 1887. In the Obras inéditas of Galdós we read the following in one of the articles written by the author himself: «[...] La fermentación política acusa una gran vitalidad, y a esta vitalidad corresponde una literatura vigorosa. De poco acá, se han puesto de moda en París los novelistas rusos, y Tolstoy y Dostoevsky, tan originales ambos, cautivan al público francés mas quizá que los indígenas y célebres Zola y Daudet.»296
If the French knew the works of Tolstoy from 1877 on, Galdós certainly did so because «conociendo al fondo el francés y el inglés pudo en todo momento estar al tanto de las corrientes literarias extranjeras, sin esperar a que las traducciones se tradujeran al castellano».297 Moreover Galdós possessed in his Santander library the following works of Tolstoy in French translation:
La Guerre et la Paix, 3 vols., Paris, 1884; Ma Religion, Paris, 1885; Les Cosaques (Souvenirs de Sébastopol), Paris, 1886; Les Cosaques, Paris, 1890.
And in Spanish translation:
La Sonata de Kreutzer, (Primera Parte) in «La España Moderna», Diciembre, 1890; Marido y Mujer, (Primera Parte), Septiembre, 1891; Marido y Mujer, (Segunda Parte), Octubre, 1891; La Sonata de Kreutzer, (Segunda Parte), Enero, 1891; La Sonata de Kreutzer, (Tercera Parte), Febrero, 1891.298
Galdós must have studied Tolstoy's religious philosophy, because he shows an intimate understanding of Tolstoy's central doctrine of non-resistance to evil; he had read Ma Religion and assimilated Tolstoy's interpretation of the Sermon the Mount. In fact, some of the pages of his library copy have been turned down as if to mark certain passages: on page 31, for example, Galdós was able to study Tolstoy's interpretation of St. Matthew V, v. 40; on page 92 that of St. Matthew V, v. 33-34; on page 199 Tolstoy's view on power and property; and on Page 248 the summary of the author's creed.299 These pages deal with questions in which Galdós was deeply interested:
1) «forgiveness» in its widest sense;
2) «taking oath», involving the question of compulsory military service;
3) «happiness:» belief in the impossibility of achieving happiness while seeking security in power and material possessions acquired by violence;
4) «love:» mutual love, not as an ideal but as a fact expressing the existing union between the Son and man.
Although Tolstoy's religious philosophy rested on the Sermon on the Mount he was not an orthodox Christian and was in fact excommunicated by the Holy Synod in 1901. One specific cause of his excommunication was his description of the Eucharist in his novel Resurrection (1899). Indeed, «Tolstoism» was not so much a religion or a philosophy as an attitude to life, a substitute for real Christianity, based only on reason, that did not promise its disciples bliss after the grave. Tolstoy makes a powerful criticism of the Church, the State and —157→ law at once; from the teaching of Christ he deduces the rule of nonresistance to evil and the absolute condemnation of wars. The foundation of Tolstoy's teaching is contained in his interpretation of five commandments from St. Matthew V, St. Luke XVI, St. Luke VI, St. Matthew V, and again St. Matthew V.300 Tolstoy provides his own interpretation of each commandment: In order, 1) «Do not be angry or superior»; 2) «Commit no fornication»; 3) «Do not take oath or judge»; 4) «Do not defend yourself by violence»; 5) «Do not make war.» In the last interpretation, Tolstoy took Matthew's «neighbour» to mean fellowcountry-man and «enemy» to mean national enemy: «Vouz avez appris qu'il faut aimer les siens et haïr les peuples ennemis; et moi je vous dis: 'Aimez tout le monde sans distinction de nationalité.'»301
Of these five commandments the fourth (non-resistance to evil) represents Tolstoy's central doctrine. He explains: «Ne résiste pas au mechant, supporte, cede tout ce que tu as, mais ne lui resiste pas» (p. 14). This command implies the third (do not take oath or judge) and the fifth (do not make war). The general tenor of Tolstoy's interpretation suggests that Christ endeavoured to teach people how to regulate their state affairs and build a new society.
Galdós must have thought much about the doctrine of non-resistance to evil and its application in actual life. But the conclusion he came to was negative: consistent non-resistance to evil would only lead to greater evil. Knowing that the practice of non-resistance to evil could not be attempted in real life, Galdós attempted it in fiction by letting some of his characters act for a time «a la Tolstoy» and then showing us the consequence of such actions. In order to illustrate the way in which Tolstoy directly or indirectly influenced Galdós we have chosen the following works: Nazarín (May 1895) and Halma (October 1895), and El Abuelo (1897).302
The fact that Nazarín differs in his ideology from Galdós has been noticed by César Barja: «El personaje es completamente extraño a la sociedad de la novela galdosiana y es hasta el contrario a las ideas generalmente defendidas por el novelista. En efecto: Nazarín desprecia todo el progreso, toda la ciencia y toda la civilización de que son representantes los Pepe y Máximo.»303 Barja is of the opinion that Galdós could not fail to have been influenced by Tolstoy. Galdós alludes to discussions of Russian literature in Spanish society in Torquemada en el Purgatorio304 and in Torquemada en la Cruz.305 306
In Halma Russia is actually mentioned by Zárate: «Pues hoy no me voy sin interrogarle sobre las concomitancias que veo entre el ideal nazarista y el misticismo ruso -yo veo parentesco estrecho, una filiación directa entre aquellas y estas florescencias espiritualistas, que no son más que una manifestación más de la soberbia humana.» (p. 142). And by Don Manuel: «Pero al demonio se le ocurre ir a buscar la filiación de las ideas de este hombre nada menos que a la Rusia.» (p. 144).
Galdós's assertion that there was no Tolstoyan influence in Nazarín need —158→ not be taken at its face value. According to Berkowitz, «It is not easy to explain why Galdós resented any hint of foreign influence... In any event, he took offence at the discussion of possible Russian influence in Nazarín. It irked him to be coupled with Tolstoy, and the subtle distinction made between Slavic and Spanish irritated him».307 And L. B. Walton comments: «[...] qui s'excuse, s'accuse».308
The spiritual teaching of Christ with the accent on loving one's neighbour was for both writers the highest ideal. But while Galdós approved of science, culture and civilization, seeking to fuse material progress and spiritual development into a harmonious whole, Tolstoy, after his conversion, felt nothing but revulsion from anything that he considered to be the «vain things» in life. He writes in Ma Religion: «Nous savons parfaitement que la doctrine de Jésus a toujours compris, et comprend en les reniant, toutes les erreurs humaines, tout ce «tohu», ces idoles creuses, que nous voudrions excepter du nombre des erreurs en les appelant: Église, État, culture, science, art, civilization. Mais Jésus parle précisement contre tout cela, sans excepter n'importe quel 'tohu» (p. 46). If one takes this quotation and eliminates the world «Église» one cuold apply it to Nazarín's understanding of Christ's teaching, when he dreams of destroying all the existing books and libraries (Nazarín, page 30), when he exposes law-courts as unjust and useless (Nazarín, page 33), when he considers science to be a vain speculation; like Tolstoy he sees the only salvation for mankind in the practice of non-resistance to evil and in poverty. He too believes in a 'Kingdom of Heaven' on earth, but his utopia is identical with that of Ángel Guerra. He conceives a new society under the rule of a Catholic Pope, while Tolstoy's new state is to be a religious anarchy.
Nazarín was a conforming Catholic and a Christian in the purest sense of the word. Tolstoy considered it an impossibility to belong to a Church and at the same time to practice Christianity.309 Nazarín, on the other hand, symbolises the idea that belief in the Catholic creed and its dogmas does not prevent one from being a real Christian. Nazarín was not appreciated by the Church, he was arrested and found insane by the ecclesiastical authorities. But this did not prevent him from following in Christ's footsteps. Remaining a member of the Church, he transferred his activities to other channels -first helping Halma to find herself and later going to Alcald where he was to devote himself to the poor. Tolstoy did not see, or was indifferent to, the mystical essence of Christianity, while Nazarín, although he understood Christ's commandments in the way Tolstoy did, remained a Christian in the full sense of the word.
Although Galdós presents Nazarín to us as a conforming Catholic, he, in his spirit, is nearer to Tolstoy's interpretation of the Gospel than to the Church's. Galdós had no incentive to defend the Catholic Church and it must not be forgotten that he wrote for Spaniards, for the majority of whom a saintly man outside the Church would hardly be acceptable. In Nazarín Galdós succeeded in presenting us a man who for a time acted and spoke with the voice of Tolstoy, showing during this time the incompatibility between the Church and Christ's teaching, and who re-entered the Church and thus acknowledged that Christianity can co-exist with it too.—159→
There are four aspects to Nazarín's religiosity. The first one is that Nazarín is able to fuse Christ's teaching with his belief in dogmas and the observance of sacraments into a whole. This is contrary to Tolstoy for whom all Churches on the one hand and Christ's commandments on the other, were irreconcilable. Secondly Nazarín never finds himself in a spiritual dead end as Tolstoy sometimes did. Nazarín was able to practice Christianity under any circumstances, accepting without questioning the established order of things. This too, is contrary to Tolstoy, who, being convinced that his interpretation of the Gospels was the only right one, attacked the Church with great intensity and thus, in a sense, resisted what he considered to be evil through the violence of his accusations. The third aspect of Nazarín's religiosity was his ardent desire to suffer; he sought suffering, considering it to be pleasing to God. Tolstoy's view on this aspect of Christianity was different: «Jésus n'enseigne pas le salut par la foi en l'ascetisme, c'est-à-dire par des chimères, ou bien par des tortures volontaires, mais il enseigne la vie qui, tout en nous sauvant du néant de la vie personelle, nous donne dans cc monde moins de souffrances et plus de joies que la vie personelle.» (p. 183)
The fourth aspect of Nazarín's religiosity was his love for the poor and the miserable and his desire to follow in Christ's footsteps, practising charity and fulfilling His commandments to the letter. It is in this aspect of Nazarín's religiosity that we find Tolstoy at work, especially in the commandments contained in St. Matthew V, verse 22; St. Matthew V, verses 38, 39; St. Luke VI, verse 31, which in Tolstoy's interpretation mean: «Do not be angry or superior»; «Do not defend yourself by violence»; «Do not take oath or judge.» The commandments «Do not defend yourself by violence» and «Do not take oath or judge» are followed by Nazarín in the Tolstoyan way completely, whilst the commandment «Do not be angry or superior» finds both interpretations in Nazarín: that of the Church and that of Tolstoy. According to the Churcws teaching, anger for the glory of God is not forbidden and Nazarín follows this teaching when hearing his fellow-prisoners blaspheming God, he, «ardiendo en santa cólera», tells them: «Desdichados, perdidos, ciegos, insultadme a mí cuanto queráis; pero guardad acatamiento a la Majestad de Dios.»310
On the other hand he seems to agree with Tolstoy's view that the words «without cause» could not have been said by Jesus. Tolstoy, when considering Jesus's commandment «Do not be angry without cause» came to the conclusion that the words «without cause» were an interpolation of the fifth century, not to be found in the most authentic copies of the Gospels. To illusrate his point Tolstoy mentions that Jesus forbade Peter to be angry with Malchus. He thinks that Jesus would contradict Himself if He had uttered the words «without cause». Except for anger allowed when God is blasphemed, Nazarín understands this commandment as Tolstoy did, as if the words «without cause» did not exist. We see this when, after having been robbed, he tells the reporter: «No sé lo que es enfadarme. El enemigo es desconocido para mí» (p. 36). Later, in the incident of his arrest (which reminds one so strongly of that of Christ) he tells Ándara, when she, like Peter, springs to his defence: «¡Ay mujer, qué mal has hecho! —160→ Para que Dios te perdone, pídele perdón a este señor a quien has herido.» (p. 247).
The commandment «Do not take oath or judge» is taken by Nazarín in the Tolstoyan way, namely, not only in relation to individual persons, but as having a bearing on State-Institutions. Concerning the commandment «Judge not and you shall not be judged», Tolstoy observed: «C'est seulement quand je compris dans leurs sens direct les mots 'Ne resistez pas au méchant', que surgit en moi la question de savoir quel était l'avis de Jésus par rapport à tous ces tribunaux. Et, ayant compris qu'il devait les réprouver, je me posai la question: Ces paroles ne veulent-elles pas dire: 'Non seulement ne jugez pas le prochain, ne médisez pas, mais ne le jugez pas en cours d'assises -ne jugez pas le prochain dans les tribunaux que vous instituez?... Il est clair, qu'en disant: 'ne jugez point' Jésus parle précisément des institutions judiciaires» (pp. 28, 31).
That Nazarín considered giving up criminals to the law as unchristian is obvious from the fact that he refused to denounce to the police the person who robbed him and promised Ándara not to hand her over to the authorities when she asked him for asylum. During a conversation with the reporter and his friend he replies to their question, «¿Pero usted no sabe que hay leyes y tribunales que le defenderían de los malvados?» with «Dudo que haya tales cosas: dudo que amparen al débil contra el fuerte: pero aunque existiera todo eso que usted dice, mi tribunal es el de Dios, y para ganar litigios en ése no necesito papel sellado, ni abogado, ni pedir tarjetas de recomendación.» (p. 37)
Although Nazarín does not say openly like Tolstoy that a punishing judge is not a Christian, he is of the opinion that justice cannot be found in tribunals; in other words he considers them to be useless and not serving any purpose. Nazarín's attitude to the law-courts is that preached by Tolstoy, namely that no Christian ought to make use of them. Tolstoy develops this idea further by assuming that if the masses could understand that Jesus was against courts and tribunals and would abstain from them, in time these institutions would disappear, just as would armies, if people refused to serve.
The commandment «Do not resist violence by force» on which rests Tolstoy's doctrine of non-resistance to evil, is the one which seems to have influenced Galdós most strongly when he wrote Nazarín. Nazarín understands this commandment exactly as did Tolstoy and is certain that should the law of nonresistance to evil be applied to life, a Kingdom of Heaven on this earth would be possible. When talking to Don Pedro de Belmonte, he tells him the following: «El remedio de las injusticias que envilecen el mundo, en medio de todos esos decantados progresos políticos, ¿cuál es? Pues no luchar con la injusticia, el entregarse a la maldad humana, como Cristo se entregó indefenso a sus enemigos. De la resignación absoluta ante el mal, no puede menos de salir el bien, como de la mansedumbre sale al cabo la fuerza, como del amor de la pobreza tienen que salir el consuelo de todos y la igualdad ante los bienes de la Naturaleza.» (pp. 173, 174).
As we have seen, Nazarín reflects Tolstoy's influence only in certain aspects, namely in his conviction that Christ's teaching had to be applied as a social reform and that his commandments were meant not only for the individual soul, —161→ but embraced the existing order of things. Like Tolstoy, Nazarín deduces from Christ's teaching a political meaning. When in Halma Nazarín is interviewed in the hospital by the reporter Zárate, the latter says: «Aseguró [Nazarín] después que para él las ideas de la nacionalidad, de raza, son secundarias, como lo es esa ampliación del hogar que llamamos patriotismo. Todo eso lo tiene Nazarín por caprichoso y convencional.» (p. 143).
Whenever Nazarín bases his religiosity on reason, he speaks like Tolstoy, especially when he considers books, property, culture, civilisation, law-courts, and patriotism. When he expresses his faith in the resurrection, atonement for sin, etc., he embodies the dogmatic essence of Christianity and we see in him a Spanish Catholic. In this respect one can agree with Don Manuel Flórez who expresses the opinion that Nazarín's mysticism was Spanish and not imported from Russia. He directs the following words to Zárate: «Pues bien, ¿a qué traer de tan lejos lo que es nativo de casa, lo que aquí tenemos en el terruño y en el aire y en el habla? ¿Pues qué, señores, la abnegación, el amor de la pobreza, el desprecio de los bienes materiales, la paciencia, el sacrificio, el anhelo de no ser nada, frutos naturales de esta tierra, como lo demuestran la historia y la literatura, que debeis conocer, han de ser traídos de paises extranjeros?» (Halma, p. 144).
It seems that when Zárate is made to speak of Russian mysticism, probably thinking of Tolstoy, he is made to appear unaware that Tolstoy's religious philosophy was built on reason. Tolstoy's «Christianity» is stripped of all tradition and all positive mysticism. He rejects personal immortality and concentrates exclusively on the moral teaching of the Gospels.311 Zárate did not distinguish the dual nature in Nazarín -one the mystic, the other, influenced by Tolstoy, a social reformer. Zárate could have spoken of Russian influence, but not of Russian mysticism. As Nazarín, like Tolstoy, firmly believed that the practice of Christ's teaching would transform the world and as he, like Tolstoy again, considered Jesus's commandments to have a bearing on the social structure of society, he impressed Zárate as a Russian mystic.
Another incident in Nazarín probably inspired by Tolstoy is the discussion between Beatriz and Cirilo Mondéjar, a prisoner-guard:
This passage deals with the question of how to be a real Christian in our actual social state. Tolstoy in Ma Religion relates a personal experience which illustrates the same conflict between the State and the application of Christ's teaching to life. Moreover it demonstrates, just as the above-mentioned dialogue, that obedience to military regulations is considered by ordinary honest men to be honourable:
|(pp. 23, 24)|
In these two passages the theme is identical, namely the clash between Godmade and man-made laws, and implicit in this clash the question whether a person who takes an active part in any state-institution can be a true Christian. What did Tolstoy mean when he wrote that the grenadier had decided this eternal question? Probably that for the man in question human-made law was more important than Christ's law. For him the military regulation was a kind of religion. Beatriz expresses the same thought to Cirilo: «Tienes razón, no sé lo que digo. Cirilo, no me hagas caso. Cada uno a su religión» (p. 263).
Beatriz, contrary to Tolstoy, instinctively senses that Cirilo's reply is founded on an ethical basis. Although she herself is resolved to follow the law of nonresistance to evil, she does not judge Cirilo. Tolstoy considered all Governments to be immoral and maintained that their activities were to make wars, maintain prisons, pass penal laws and rob people by obliging them to pay rates and taxes. The fact that the Governments try to regulate human affairs by keeping order and that as long as people are what they are a certain amount of compulsion is necessary to the existence of all, escaped him.
Nazarín's attempt to follow in Christ's footsteps was not successful: he was accused by the Church of bad conduct and found insane. This supports Tolstoy's —163→ view that the Church does not practice Jesus's teaching in all its purity. But the doubt whether the Church of today is a living Church or not is not expressed by Nazarín, who finds it possible to live up to his ideal of a Christian under any circumstances, but by Don Manuel, in whom Nazarín's example had raised many conflicts. After having spoken to Nazarín, he says to himself: «Señor, Señor, llevar a la práctica la doctrina en todo su rigor y pureza, no puede ser, no puede ser. Para ello sería preciso la destrucción de todo lo existente... Pues qué, Jesús mío, ¿tu Santa Iglesia no vive en la civilización?» (Halma, p. 156).
Don Manuel has understood that in order to live according to Christ it is necessary to destroy the existing order of things. This is what Tolstoy thought and what Nazarín envisaged when he visualised a new society. Don Manuel, like Tolstoy, sees that the Church of Christ is incompatible with civilisation. When Don Manuel talks to Catalina de Artal (Halma) he tells her about Nazarín: «Él dice que procede conforme a la razón, y con la plena conciencia de ajustarse a la ley de Cristo» (p. 154). The belief in the practical reasonableness of Christ's law is a Tolstoyan element in Nazarín. In Halma's view, all that aspect of Nazarín, which could be termed Tolstoyan, is madness; the other aspect is saintliness, She says to Don Manuel: «Según eso, usted sigue viendo en él las dos naturalezas, el santo y el loco, y ni sabe separarlas, ni fundirlas, porque locura y santidad no pueden ser lo mismo» (p. 158). What Halma calls locura is Nazarín's desire to practice Christ's commandments as understood by Tolstoy, expanding their application not only to individual relationships but to the whole social structure of the state. And she says to Don Manuel: «Y eso no puede ser. Hay algo dentro de nosotros mismos, y en la atmósfera que respiramos y en el mundo que nos rodea que nos dice que no puede ser» (p. 158).
Halma's commonsense perceived that there was a trait of madness in Nazarín's desire to transform humanity through the application of the law of nonresistance to evil. The significance of the words «no puede ser» is well illustrated by the words of Aylmer Maude, who finds a moral flaw in Tolstoy's doctrines: «Another point to elucidate is that the real objection to some of Tolstoy's doctrine -and especially to some of the tremendous and quite logical deductions he makes from those doctrines- is not, as people are fond of saying, that his ethics are too far ahead of us and only suitable to a better race of men a thousand or more years hence, but on the contrary, that Tolstoy overlooked and disregarded the ethical bases which underline the superstructure of modern government, law, trade and property.»312 Halma, while accepting Nazarín's santidad, cannot accept his locura, as Galdós himself could not accept Tolstoy's interpretation of the Gospels.
Another relevant passage in Nazarín, especially with regard to non-resistance to evil, is the dialogue between Beatriz and Andara, in which Beatriz represents Tolstoy's interpretation of St. Matthew V, verse 38-39, and Ándara that accepted by the majority of people:
The contrast between these two views is further illustrated in Nazarín's vision during his delirium on the journey from the prison of Móstoles to Madrid. Nazarín saw himself attacked by a horde of wild people on foot and horseback brandishing swords and using firearms. The people who accompanied Nazarín went over to the enemy. Nazarín was thrown under the hoofs of the horses and although many carriages passed over him he was not hurt. When Nazarín began to fear that he would be taken prisoner, he saw a vision of Ándara on horseback wearing a helmet like that of St. Michael, with sunrays in place of plumes. She was brandishing a sword of flame with which she attacked the horde, exclaiming:
|(pp. 314, 315)|
From this vision we can deduce two things: that Galdós himself considered resistance to evil necessary if one wants to preserve the world from evil, and that in Nazarín's subconscious mind, at the moment of deadly peril, the belief in the sword was stronger than in prayer. He was rescued by resisting evil, not by submitting to it. Beatriz, the symbol of non-resistance to evil, was passive. True, she prayed for the forgiveness of the sinners, but she did not deliver Nazarín from his plight. This vision serves as another proof that Galdós did not agree with Tolstoy's doctrine of non-resistance to evil.
Taking Nazarín and Halma as a whole, one can say that there is a definite debt to Tolstoy. As with other novels which manifest Tolstoy's influence, Galdós is mostly concerned with the doctrine of non-resistance to evil, with the incompatibility between Christ's teaching in its purest form and the Church, and with the whole idea that by turning the commandment of non-resistance to, evil into a law, society could be changed. Galdós' view is that it could not and so Nazarín fails insofar as he attempts to interpret Christ's commandments in Tolstoy's manner, to the effect that they have a bearing on state institutions. Such an interpretation is shown to be not viable. Tolstoy's attitude is also reflected in Nazarín's depreciation of everything concerning civilisation and culture, his dislike of authority and his love for the poor.
The novel El abuelo deals with the problem of legitimacy and illustrates Galdós' point of view on this subject. According to Ricardo Gullón, the characters in El abuelo are symbolical: Dolly represents love, Count Albrit honour in the sense of purity of blood, and so forth. As to one of the secondary characters, —165→ Don Pío Coronado -the tutor of the Count's grand-daughters Nell and Dolly- Gullón simply describes him as «un bobalicón vilipendiado por su mujer y sus supuestas hijas»313 without considering him as a symbol of anything. But it is possible that Don Pío, symbolises non-resistance to evil -not a human soul consciously struggling to achieve Tolstoy's ideal of a person who never, under any circumstances, would use violence, but, if one may say so, the finished article, a man who has become what Tolstoy dreamed people should become, namely goodness itself, in whom resistance to evil is not any more possible.
In Don Pío, we meet a character who does not resist evil through inner religious conviction, but because he is unable to do so, and the results are disastrous. The following dialogue between Don Pío and Count Albrit clearly illustrates how Galdós, having created a character who lives «non-resistance to evil», has come to the conclusion that Tolstoy's doctrine is not applicable on this earth and only promotes the spread of evil.
Count Albrit, after having escaped from the monastery, finds himself in the open country on a stormy night. Above the howling of the wind he hears a human voice which turns out to be that of Don Pío Coronado. Don Pío confesses to the Count that more than once he has been coming to these parts in order to throw himself into the abyss. The Count answers him:
-¡Matarse, qué locura! Hay que luchar, luchar sin desmayo para aniquilar el mal.
-¡Ay! eso no es para mí. Luche quien pueda. Yo no sirvo: nací para dejar que todo el mundo haga de mí lo que quiera. Soy el hombre más bueno del mundo; tan bueno, tan bueno que casi he llegado a despreciarme a mí mismo, y a frustrarme, con perdón, en mi propia bondad.
-Y tuya es una frase que corre como proverbial en Jerusa: «¡Qué malo es ser bueno!»;
-Porque de la bondad me vienen todas las desgracias... Parece mentira. En mí no encuentro fuerza para hacer daño a ningún ser, llámese mosquito, llámese mujer o hombre. Donde yo estoy está el bien, la verdad, el perdón, la dulzura... y llueven sobre mí las desdichas como si mi bondad fuera un espigón de metal que atrae el rayo... Señor, he llegado al extremo tal de sufrimiento, que ya no puedo más. Quiero arrojar por ese cantil el fardo de mi vida. ¡Mi vida o sea mi bondad, ya me enfada, me apesta, me revuelve el estómago! ¡Váyase a los profundos abismos, bendita de Dios!314
Don Pío, complains to Count Albrit about his daughters:
Don Pío acknowledges this fact and tells the Count that he could not help loving his so-called daughters, since he had seen them grow up. The Count replies:
|(pp. 316, 318)|
Before analyzing the above dialogue in detail, it is interesting to quote Yanko Lavrin, whose point of view seems to express exactly what Galdós had in mind in as far as Don Pío's «goodness» and its subsequent results were concerned: «[...] And so, unless all men were either equally 'converted' and perfect, or equally amorphic, the theory of non-resistance to evil would naturally generate the most unscrupulous kind of exploitation and violence -provided these evil instincts were not tempered by the State and various, however imperfect and even stupid, civic institutions.»315
Taking Don Pío as a symbol of non-resistance to evil, one could contemplate his wife and daughters as symbols of evil instincts in humanity, which, given free range, generate exploitation and violence. The absence of any strength of character in Don Pío and his incapacity to lay down any code of conduct in his home, however unreasonable, could be likened to the non-existence of state and civic institutions. Don Pío's personal tragedy, resulting from the triumph of the doctrine of non-resistance to evil, illustrates the tragedy of innumerable people who would suffer at the hands of others, who have not been converted for the simple reason that they are vicious. The significance of evil as an inherent part of human nature was overlooked by Tolstoy when he built up his utopia of a Kingdom of Heaven on Earth and this too Galdós realized and exposed in Don Pío's tragedy.
Another point of interest in this dialogue is the fact that, although Don Pío considers himself to belong to the race of sheep, he has neither lost his individuality nor his capacity to suffer. Tolstoy considered that to love in the search for happiness is the greatest possible folly, and that, «The life of a man as an individual, striving only for his own welfare amid an infinite number of similar individuals destroying themselves, is an evil and an absurdity and true life cannot be such».316 Tolstoy believed it possible for a human being to become depersonalised, like a drop of water diffused in the mass of humanity. He believed that this could be achieved through identifying oneself with the «Good», which for him meant God.
But Galdós shows us that, although Don Pío was the personification of «Good», he still retained his individuality, just as even a sheep in a flock is unique, individual. Galdós makes us understand that depersonalisation is inconceivable and equivalent to destroying one's soul. In Don Pío, the practice of non-resistance to evil has neither produced a blissful state of mind nor destroyed his longing for personal happiness. He considered his goodness to be an evil and he speaks like a drug-addict: «El tiempo me alargaba la bondad y yo era más bueno cada día... y me dejaba ir... Nunca tuve resolución.» (p. 317). He —167→ realises that all his miseries derive from not resisting evil: «Porque de la bondad me vienen todas mis desgracias... parece mentira... Donde yo estoy está el bien, la verdad, el perdón, la dulzura...» (p. 313).
The words in the above sentence represent Christian virtues, but according to Don Pío these virtues can be practised with impunity only in Heaven. The Count shares his opinion. In his view one has the right to fight against evil; giving-in means spreading evil through the world. The dialogue between the Count and Don Pío, is an invective against the doctrine of non-resistance to evil, referred to by the Count as «filosofía dañina» it also proves clearly that although Galdós preached love for one's fellowmen, he did so in the accepted Christian sense, not in the Tolstoyan sense.
The foregoing may suffice to support the following general conclusions: Galdós had read some of Tolstoy's works before they were translated into Spanish. As for both Tolstoy and Galdós the Sermon on the Mount was the basis of their religiosity, Galdós endeavoured to ascertain whether Tolstoy's interpretation of it was applicable in real life; he especially concentrated on Tolstoy's doctrine of non-resistance to evil. But he came to the conclusion that this was not possible. To prove his point Galdós created characters with Tolstoyan elements and made them act after the manner of Tolstoy's thought. In this way he demonstrated that it was impossible to achieve a Kingdom of Heaven on earth by enforcing the law of non-resistance to evil.