See particularly the chapter «The Restoration and the Disaster, 1874-1898» in Raymond Carr, Spain 1808-1939, (Oxford: Oxford. U. Press, 1966.)
All references to Ángel Guerra will be to volume V of the Sainz de Robles edition of the Obras completas (cited above). In this quotation that edition gives «Culpa más bien a su carácter», which I have corrected according to the first edition.
In a discussion of the possible role which students might play in the revolution, Trotsky made a comment that I find particularly applicable to Ángel Guerra:
«The fact it that very often radicalism is a sickness of youth among what are actually petty-bourgeois students... You find this radicalism among youth in every country. The young person always feels dissatisfied with the society he lives in-he always thinks he can do things better than his elders did... Here we have the real psychological motor force. The young feel shut out; the old take up all the space, and the young can't find any outlet for their abilities. They are dissatisfied quite simply because they themselves are not sitting in the driver's seat. But as soon as they are sitting there, it's all over with their radicalism» («Trotsky's Views on the Role of Students, Intellectuals», Intercontinental Press, 13 November 1972, p. 25).
The reference here is, of course, to that chapter in Fortunata y Jacinta which describes the visit of Guillermina Pacheco and Jacinta to the home of José Ido. In his use of the lower classes for the fulfillment of personal, psychological needs, Ángel is quite similar to Guillermina.
«The insect is not simply another irritant, a negligible element in the episode. Dulce's pursuit of the little pest is described partly as if drawn from a military history and partly as if exploits recited in ballads. The exaggerated diction reserved for this minor happening betrays the author's intention to mock the vain heroics of Guerra, at the same time that he details his suffering» (Monroe Z. Hafter, «Bálsamo contra Bálsamo» in Ángel Guerra, AG, 4 , 39-48, p. 39).
Sherman Eoff (The Novels of Pérez Galdós [St Louis: Washington University, 1954]) notes that Ángel «finds in the strong-willed and orderly Leré what he did not find in Dulcenombre: a substitute for his mother; and he transfers to her both his ingrained submissiveness and his longing for sympathy and understanding» (p. 76).
Here his reversion to his «old self» is particularly noteworthy since Leré's first commandment to him was «que no se enfade nunca» (1284).
Even Casado understands this constancy in Ángel's character: «Por mucho que se modifique externamente, entusiasmándose con el simbolismo católico y volviéndose tarumba con la poesía cristiana, detrás de todos estos fililíes está el temperamento de siempre, el hombre único, siempre igual a sí mismo» (1515).
Hafter, p. 41.
This defense is particularly apt since it comes just at the close of Ángel's «revolutionary» phase during which he had decried the unequal distribution of the wealth.