Fortunata y Jacinta and The Eroica215
Professor Chamberlin seeks to demonstrate that Galdós used Beethoven's Third Symphony (Eroica) as the structural model for Fortunata y Jacinta. Each of the four parts of the novel are analyzed in relation to the symphonic structure. For example, the sonata form of the First Movement is broken down into Themes I and II, Transition, Development, Recapitulation and Coda and the structures of Part One of the novel are shown to be analogs of the musical themes in so far as is possible within the parameters and definitions Chamberlin has chosen to apply.
Not the least of the perils in such an undertaking is that of being rejected out of hand. Tony Lambert approaches this in his review (London Times Literary Supplement, June 9, 1978, p. 638) calling the interpretation one of the zaniest and asking «So what?» about the usefulness of such an enterprise, the effect of which, he believes, «is to distract attention from the particular meaning or meanings of the work». It is true that much of the evidence brought to bear in support of the thesis is the circumstantial kind. Nevertheless, it may be premature of Lambert to write Chamberlin off as a victim of the hypertrophy of the imaginative faculty. Other novelists than Galdós have explored the problem of writing «symphonic» novels and have attempted such works (see Chamberlin's «Conclusion»). And since there are no rigorously chronological lines in the evolution of the arts and their interrelationships, there is no reason why such an idea could not have occurred to Galdós. Because the Spanish novelist seems never to have told intimates that he was writing a symphonic novel nor has he told readers to read the work as they would experience a symphonic performance, it would seem that such knowledge is not absolutely essential to appreciation of the novel. Nevertheless, solid proof of reliance on a structural model could contribute in some measure to knowledge of Galdós' creative approach to the gente of the novel and his talent for drawing from a broad range of materials in the synthesis of a novelistic universe.
At present it is difficult to concur unconditionally with Chamberlin's claim that «our study has demonstrated that Galdós certainly patterned his masterpiece, Fortunata y Jacinta, structurally, after Beethoven's Eroica» (109). Failure to develop a precise terminology seems to have hindered the development of the best argument possible in support of the thesis. In trying to show how musical themes are expressed as novelistic themes, Chamberlin uses quite an eclectic approach. A recurrent musical theme most probably should be expressed in a recurrent novelistic theme. However, in identifying novelistic equivalents of musical themes Chamberlin sometimes fastens on to a character (who enters and leaves the action) a situation or action which may be repeated with the same or different characters, etc. This very flexible but in a real sense simplistic approach restricts how he may view certain chapters and interpret them within the overall symphonic —134→ structure. Below I examine three sections of the book in which Chamberlin claims difficulties in finding correspondences between model and novel. It is impossible to claim that through the application of an alternative definition of theme the thesis can be proved. However, a consistent approach that worked in all cases would be more convincing than that obtained through the present definition of «theme» as applied by Chamberlin. Furthermore, in a case in which everything depends upon proof of a very close match between model and novel, the invention of rationalizations for Galdós' departure from the model suggests arbitrariness of an unacceptable kind. If the creative writer is free to follow his associative processes where he will and as far as readers will tolerate, the critic and historian must be able to give carefully reasoned interpretations of the «irrational».
In Chapter II the discussion of Themes I and II of the sonata form as applied in the novel is dependent upon what can be viewed as the development of a clever conceit rather than a useful critical concept. Among some writers on music Themes I and II may be treated as the «masculine» and «feminine» themes. In this instance Chamberlin associates theme primarily with character. The first statement (Themes may be viewed as statement and counterstatement in the sonata) is represented by Juanito Santa Cruz. And the feminine counterstatement or rebuttal (Chapter II) is centered on fecundity and maternity. Through this opposition between masculinity versus femininity, Juanito versus Barbarita-Jacinta Chamberlin succeeds in tracing the interplay of Themes I and II right up to Chapter IX where his definitions force him to decide that because Juanito must be present in the action for Theme I to be present, Chapter IX must be excluded from the Eroica pattern.
However, a close examination of Chapter I reveals material that may be considered as constituting theme in a different way, that is, a cluster of associated referents which may be repeated although from a different perspective or with a different emphasis at each appearance whether or not Juanito Santa Cruz is present in the action. At the end of the second paragraph Juanito is called ironically by Galdós «el revolucionario, el anarquista, el descamisado Juanito». Yet such behavior as is designated by these words is shown to be only part of a cycle of behavior, but a pattern which reveals Juanito's behavioral shifts to be reminiscent and symbolic of shifts in the mood and manners of the pueblo. Juanito is not simply a perpetually immature male, as suggested by Chamberlin (p. 23), but a socio-political symbol. In light of the above, Theme I may be redefined as a nucleus of interrelated associations as follows: revolution, anarchy, the poor and the pueblo. The second half of Chapter I presents the ambiguous manner in which the family treats Juanito. Don Baldomero fosters tendencies in his son which Doña Barbarita would suppress. In dealing with this latter material Chamberlin stresses the feminine opposition and points to the father's approval as «harmonic instability» as can be found in the structural model.
With the above in mind, Chamberlin's reader must be not a little perplexed at the failure to integrate Chapter IX into the pattern of symphonic development. Examination of the table on p. 22 reveals that the part of the Development section for which an analog is sought is some 149 measures in length. An analog of comparable length in the novel for this long part of the Development section could easily embrace Chapters VIII and IX as a unit. However, analysis of measures 248-397 shows that Theme Ib («Feminine anxiety regarding Juanito's activities» (34)) must be followed by an alternation between a «New Theme» and Theme I —135→ (Juanito) in the following way: New Theme; Theme I; New Theme; Theme I. Chamberlin defines the New Theme as «adultery». However, it is not at all clear that adultery must constitute a new theme, but may be another manifestation of Theme I. On the other hand, there is a new theme, that introduced by José Ido del Sagrario: the lack of something essential in an individual life manifesting itself through a compensating madness. Because of chronic hunger, cating causes madness in Ido del Sagrario; lack of a child leads Jacinta to behavior which is considered irrational by others when she learns that her husband is a father. Let this be designated as the Lack-Madness-Literary-behavior theme. Ido as a novelist acts out his madness in forms characteristic of melodramatic literature and sets Jacinta to taking part in a novel-like action in her search for Pitusín. Ido appears in two series of actions, once in Chapter VIII and again in Chapter IX; and these appearance of the new theme alternate with treatment of the pueblo and descamisados in lengthy passages in which Jacinta, not Juanito, is present.
In the above it turns out that themes and techniques which may be labeled «Galdosian constants» assert themselves as dominant. Desperation leads to exaggerated imaginative activity here as in La desheredada or later in the case of practically every character in Misericordia. And the practice of making a protagonist into a symbol with socio-political connotation is omnipresent in the Galdosian novel. It should be expected that an author would adapt his usual themes when attempting an experimental approach to the novelistic form, especially when the subject is not very different from that of preceding works.
In Part II, Chapters III and IV Chamberlin believes Galdós again departed from his model, which in this case should be the trio section of the Second Movement (Marcia Funebre), measures 69-104:
|(Chapter I and 110, p. 59)|
In the Second Movement Chamberlin believes that Galdós expresses the march theme «a» as plot line in Chapters I and II: «The Maxi-Fortunata relationship; their "march" toward an impossible marriage» (p. 51). However, in his study of the trio section he abandons expression of musical theme as plot in favor of expression through characters: «Galdós has a corresponding trio section in which he substitutes for Beethoven's three themes the following triad of characters: Doña Lupe, Juan Pablo and Nicolás Rubín» (58-59). This approach presents the reader with a complex solution, as Doña Lupe is made the a-theme of the Galdosian (not Beethoven's) trio and Juan Pablo-and-Nicolás become the b-theme. The action of Chapters III and IV and most of Chapter IV are then treated in terms of the non-Beethoven pattern of «aababa» (not «c d e») in spite of the fact that Chamberlin identifies the analogs of two fanfares reminiscent of the «c d e» pattern!
Although Chamberlin believes he has found a structural model for Fortunata y Jacinta in a symphony which has historical and political associations, he often cannot see the dominance of such concerns in the symbolic-allegorical aspects —136→ of the novel itself. As he passes over associations of Juanito with the pueblo in Part One, he fails to see similar or related concerns informing the development of a possible tripartite drama in Doña Lupe's household. Such a division may be viewed as follows: (c) Doña Lupe's traditionalist rule is threatened by Maxi's rebellion, the announcement of his intention to marry Fortunata (Chapter III); (d) Growth in strength of the rebellion as Juan Pablo through indifference and Nicolás through ineptitude assure its success while enjoying (especially the latter) Doña Lupe's confidence in the loyalty and competence of her followers (Chapter VI, 1-5): and (3) Doña Lupe's regaining in appearance -her hold and maintaining appearances for others (most of the remainder of Chapter IV).
Through reference to Galdosian constants, in this case the treatment of the struggle among individuals of the same household as historical allegory (cf. Doña Perfecta, La de Bringas and Misericordia), it can be shown that Galdós may have followed the Beethoven analogy after all. Doña Lupe as a traditional ruler can be seen as the Pretender to the Spanish throne whose attempt to win his cause is undermined through the bad advice and lack of good faith on the part of his clerical supporters. In the end Doña Lupe has no influence or power, only the appearance. Although the three moments in the domestic drama may be considered from a perspective of plot development and thus fitting into the plot-line analog developed by Chamberlin for the march theme, the series may also be considered as the expression of «themes»: (c) power threatened, (d) power undermined through ineptitude, and (e) power, although denatured, maintaining appearances. Chamberlin's lack of specific definition leaves him such broad margins for working out needlessly complex solutions that he creates the impression of total arbitrariness. Had he been able to find a specific although different definition of the theme analog for each part of the novel, some of this appearance of arbitrariness might be diminished. Of course, a uniform approach for the entire analysis would be preferable.
The treatment of the Third or Scherzo Movement may be reworked completely if one more carefully defines the application of the term «theme». In the present chapter theme is applied to a hodgepodge of references to anecdote and characters. The movement is broken down into an initial scherzo (aabab), followed by a trio (aababa), a return to the scherzo (aab) and a coda. In Chamberlin's view, Chapters I through IV correspond to the first scherzo. The «aa» sections are expressed in Galdós' novelistic equivalents (1) «Philosophical expoundings by Juan Pablo in a café» and (2) «Philosophical expoundings by Juan Pablo in a second café». The b-theme (in aabab) is «A breaking off of the relationship with Fortunata: Juanito» in Chapters II and III, and Chapter IV, the final ab is expressed in «Philosophical expoundings (of a practical nature) by Feijoo and a breaking of the relationship with Fortunata by Feijóo». Such a breakdown of the material neglects entirely the relationship between the pseudo-philosophizing and the on-going political and historical content of Part III. Galdós could not have been more insistent in calling attention to this. Three chapter titles in Part III stress political thematics: II - «La revolución vencedora», III - «La revolución vencida», and V - «Otra restauración». All other chapter titles refer explicitly or implicitly to the world of thought or the spiritual: I - «Costumbres turcas (the pseudo-intellectualism and political "ferment" of the coffee houses)», IV - «Curso de filosofía práctica», VI - «Naturalismo espiritual», and VII - «La idea... la pícara idea». Examination —137→ of Juan Pablo's philosophizing yields little except that he is engaged in self-justification; his philosophy has no raison d'être outside of his lack of money, his resentment and his need for a job. When he becomes an Alphonsine bureaucrat his philosophizing ceases. If one may redefine the a-theme as self-justifying philosophizing, then it is no longer necessary to count cafes in which Juan Pablo expounds his non-ideas (and there are more than two). Chapter I may then be considered the Galdosian novelistic equivalent of the first a-theme in the initial scherzo. Chapter II can then be seen as roughly analogous with Juanito's engaging in similar philosophizing as he too is caught up in the general movement of middle class individuals back to stable and responsible activity with the return of the Bourbons to the throne. In this redefinition leave has been taken from Chamberlin's division of themes. Chapter III is now outside the second a-theme and can be discussed as the first appearance of a redefined b-theme, the suppression of honor and love of the pueblo and the weak by others for «reasons of state». The sacrifice of Fortunata's love and sense of honor (and later Maxi's sense of honor) cannot have the same meaning as Juan Pablo and Juanito's sacrificing their vices for the sake of bourgeois respectability. The final ab of the initial scherzo can now be seen as the development in Chapter IV of Evaristo Feijóo's self-serving practical philosophy (which echoes the other «philosophies» so far developed) as the a-theme; and Fortunata's subjection to this philosophy as the second development of the b-theme. In this redefinition the only significant departures from Chamberlin are those related to Chapters II and III, that is including Maxi in the redefined a-theme and redefining the b-theme so that it becomes a theme rather than an act.
However, this redefinition of themes permits reanalysis of the trio section. The action continues, as noted by Chamberlin, in a related key (in the symphony, C major). Some of the characters change in the trio analog, but it would appear that the a- and b-themes remain the same. Self-justifying philosophizing and pueblo love and honor can be seen as alternating throughout Chapter V in the pattern aababa. Doña Lupe's world is one of practical, harsh realities and coarse ambitions. In Chapter V, 1, she is seen in her ambition (emulation of Guillermina Pacheco) and her interest in what has been proposed by her one time suitor, Evaristo Feijóo. This action develops the a-theme as Doña Lupe is forced to philosophize her way to acceptance of what she does not want. In the end she is «bought» and Maxi is now forced to live with Fortunata, Chapter V, 2, thus bringing up again the suppression of the weak-pueblo, the b-theme. Chapter V, 3 allows for a return to the a-theme, for Mauricia la Dura, now a badly ill alcoholic, is seen from the vantage point of various self-serving would-be saviors and that of members of the Rubín family which engages in self-serving moralizing about her case. As Chapter V, 4 develops Fortunata (pueblo theme) is being subjected to living an only apparently comfortable bourgeois existence, the final b-theme in the trio. The final appearance of the a-theme in the chapter will then be the return to the theme of practical self-serving, «philosophizing» considerations: Maxi should develop a medicine to get rich quick, Fortunata's conviction that Evaristo's views on generalized hypocrisy are correct and Doña Lupe's decision to visit Mauricia, not out of charity but so that she may get closer to Guillermina Pacheco.
This approach to the trio section relies totally on thematic alternation. All of Chamberlin's a-themes relate to Doña Lupe, his b-theme to Maxi. Fortunata is counted with Maxi and Lupe as forming a trio of characters in this section just —138→ as the trio in Part II was shown to be composed of the trio Lope, Nicolás and Juan Pablo.
After minimizing Mauricia's importance in the trio section where she is considered as part of the «usual complicating enrichment of additional material, theme and characterizations» (82), Chamberlin decides that Chapter VI was not developed in accordance with the structural model at all. Rather «Galdós omitted these themes ("aa" from the final scherzo aab); instead (he) has resolution of Mauricia la Dura's story, reechoing of earlier themes and introduction of new themes and characters» (77). In addition, he insists that «on three specific occasions within the story, music is inappropriate and must be dispensed with (77)» as an indication that Galdós was aware that «themes and events of his chapter correspond not at all to the musical patterns of the Eroica...» (84). Since much of the strength for his case for considering the Eroica the structural model for the novel lies in the use the novelist made of Mauricia as physically and otherwise reminiscent of Napoleón Bonaparte, it is indeed odd to suppose that Galdós could not or would not have seen Mauricia's role as central to his overall conception. One must assume that the liberal Galdós could find a way to tie the death and heritage of Mauricia into the on-going life of Fortunata, the latter a member of the lower classes who would like to place her own child on the «throne» of the legitimate heir (El Delfín) to the Santa Cruz-Arnaiz line (Baldomero II, Delfín-Delfina, etc. -such references must have meaning). Furthermore, without the experiences of Chapter VI, Fortunata's idée fixe, the determinant of her return to Juanito, has no development whatsoever. Chamberlin's failure to understand that Chapter VI does not focus primarily on Mauricia's death but rather on the development of Fortunata's own self-serving philosophy would appear to be at the root of the problem.
The title of Chapter VI, «Naturalismo espiritual», would seem in itself an indication that the theme of self-serving philosophies is about to return. The setting and circumstances of Mauricia's death and Fortunata's conduct with Jacinta suggest Naturalist technique and provide «background» for the development of the religious-spiritual dimension (arising out of self-interest and instinctive drives). However, the significance of the action for Fortunata must be drawn from the two Napoleonic types in the chapter, Mauricia and Guillermina, Evil and Good. The controlling image is introduced initially through the description of the prints on Severiana's walls, pictures of the important moments in Napoleon's carrer. The lack of Napoleon's death bed scene in the series of prints is supplied by Mauricia's providing a «living tableau». As the narration of the chapter draws to a close Galdós tells us that «Con la claridad veía (Fortunata) a Guillermina, como si la tuviera delante; pero lo raro no era esto, sino que se le parecía también a Napoleón, como Mauricia la Dura» (VII, 11). Although attracted to Guillermina and good as defined by religion, Fortunata's attachment to the hope offered her by the dying Mauricia for vindication and recognition as the real wife of Juanito exercises an even stronger attraction on her. Viewed from this perspective, the aa themes of the final scherzo may be considered the development in two stages of Fortunata's own authentic self-justifying philosophy in the pull between Mauricia and Guillermina (as one and then the other dominates the outward action but not the growing inner conviction). The b-theme, Chapter VII, would again be the break up between Fortunata and Maxi, but seen as a —139→ theme, that of the subordinated pueblo now asserting itself and affirming itself in spite of respectable society's concern for appearances.
Theme, character, and plot are not easily separated into neat discrete entities in any attempt at literary analysis. The need for definition, however, becomes quite acute when one would deal with a problem such as the use of the Eroica as the structural model for as long and as complicated a novel as Fortunata y Jacinta. Apparently arbitrary or convenient grasping after characters here, plot elements there and themes elsewhere as analogs for musical themes has caused Chamberlin endless difficulties and ultimately makes his thesis and proof less than totally convincing. This is especially lamentable because a careful and detailed study of the themes of Fortunata y Jacinta would be most useful and interesting. And were such a study carried out independently of the attempt to match themes of the Eroica to those of the novel and at the same time proved the present thesis, the hope for acceptance of this thesis as a viable one would be immensely greater.
A final note: Diane Beth Hyman's unpublished doctoral dissertation (Harvard, 1972) might provide a useful point of departure to those interested in the study of the structure of Fortunata y Jacinta. (This avenue of investigation was not followed by Chamberlin.) Dr. Hyman has produced a critical version of the «Alpha» manuscript, essentially Parts I and II (and some sketch material for the remainder of the novel). This version contains some references to music which have survived in the published version, but no references to Beethoven or related themes. This would suggest that were the Eroica analog thesis to be proved, it could be shown through a comparison of the «Alpha» version with the published version working with the hypothesis that possibly the decision to use a structural model arose after the initial version was written. One change in the published version over the «Alpha» involves the epithets cited in my redefinition of the First or masculine theme in Part I. Galdós originally described Juanito (in the objective case) as «al revolucionario, al descamisado, al demagogo Juanito» (Hyman, p. 1). Such a change could reflect a redefinition of theme from one draft to another, one possibly occasioned by the decision to use a structural model. At this point no one may be sure.