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«The Grotesque», in Attitudes Toward History, 2nd ed. (Los Altos, Cal.: Hermes Publications, 1959), pp. 59-69. To agree with Burke, one need only recall the turns of phrase in the opening description of Misericordia: «lindo mamarracho», «fealdad risueña».



Nimetz (pp. 135-36), pointing to the Spanish tradition from the Arcipreste de Hita to Buñuel, suggests that the Spaniard, steeped in the medieval-baroque cultural heritage, not only confronts but savors deformity.



References to Galdós are from the Obras completas (Madrid: Aguilar), IV, 6th ed. (1966); V, 4th ed. (1965); VI, 4th ed. (1961).



Gustavo Correa, El simbolismo religioso en las novelas de Pérez Galdós (Madrid: Gredos, 1962), pp. 64-68, observes that social criticism in La familia de León Roch is projected through an esthetic dimension of caricaturesque disfigurement.



Joaquín Gimeno Casalduero, «La caracterización plástica del personaje en la obra de Pérez Galdós: del tipo al individuo», Anales Galdosianos, 7 (1972), 19-25.



Past Masters and Other Papers, trans. H. T. Lowe-Porter (Freeport, N.Y.: Books for Libraries Press, 1968), pp. 240-41, William Van O'Connor picks up this idea in The Grotesque: An American Genre and Other Essays (Carbondale: Southern Illinois Univ. Press, 1962), pp. 3-19, and restates it thus: «Modern literature has heightened and stylized the antipoetic and the ugly. The grotesque, as a genre or a form of modern literature, simultaneously confronts the antipoetic and the ugly and presents them, when viewed out of the side of the eye, as the closest we can come to the sublime» (p. 19).



Since in a discussion of the grotesque one is always straddling opposites, it is well to consider that insofar as Galdós relegates the monstrous to an ornamental plane, he situates the truly demonic within man himself.



Another critic is even more forceful in this opinion: «A definition of the grotesque that omits its unmotivated playfulness is likely to be defective» (Roger Fowler, ed., A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms [London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973], p. 85).



Michael Nimetz, too, is left wondering and never explains why the narrator indulges in this comically denigrating campaign. He notices that the scene describing the acquisition of the new wet nurse «is unusual in its contrast between sordid content and flippant narrative tone» (p. 47), but his conclusion that this is a traditional «cuadro de costumbres» does not square with his own observation. The very clash between narrative tone and content is a component of the grotesqueness of this sequence.



Vida y obra de Galdós (Madrid, 1955), pág. 20. Citaremos siempre por esta edición, aunque aludiremos a la de Buenos Aires de 1943.