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ArribaThe first annotated, illustrated edition of Fortunata y Jacinta211

Vernon A. Chamberlin

In commemorating the 150th anniversary of its founding, the Editorial Hernando of Madrid has made a great contribution to Galdós studies by publishing the first-ever annotated and illustrated edition of Galdós' masterpiece, Fortunata y Jacinta. It is an elegant, 81/2" x 113/4", two-volume edition with nearly one hundred pages of introductory commentary, maps, charts, and lists, plus a post-text section that includes 500 notes and a commentary on each of the many illustrations used to illuminate and enhance the Galdosian text. And the best part is that all the above has been prepared by Pedro Ortiz Armengol (formerly Counselor at the Spanish Embassy in Washington and now Minister-Counselor at his country's embassy in London), a dedicated established scholar with a great love not only for Fortunata y Jacinta but also for every aspect of the antiquarian Madrid of Galdós' day.

Ortiz Armengol begins his forty-four page «Introducción» with an evaluation of Fortunata y Jacinta vis-à-vis the great novels of the Western world, then he goes on to discuss its relationship to Leopoldo Alas' La Regenta (1884). Next he points out that Fortunata y Jacinta was created at about midpoint in Galdós career and that, at age forty-three Galdós could now command the stamina and power of concentration that would enable him to write his only four-volume novel. Moreover, by this time Galdós had acquired not only sufficient experience in the craft of writing but also, through «su rica experiencia amorosa», enough insight into the feminine psyche to allow him to create the fully realized women of his great novel, whose subtitle is Dos historias de casadas. In addition, it is important to note that this was the time of Galdós' close association with Emilia Pardo Bazán and that the countess may therefore have had more influence on the creation of Fortunata y Jacinta than we have previously suspected. We now know, for example, that she accompanied Don Benito on his walks through the barrios bajos as he gathered costumbrista data and there is also the possibility that she may have summarized plots and mentioned scenes, characters, and techniques as she communicated to Galdós her enthusiasm for works which he may never actually have read but which, nevertheless, seem to be reflected in Fortunata y Jacinta. An example in point would be Fedor Dostoevski's Crime and Punishment, which apparently Galdós did not read but which also gives prime importance to the redemptive quality of love.

Ortiz Armengol speaks at considerable length of the main characters in the novel, examiningnot only the dynamics of their interrelationships, but   —134→   also their relationships to the author himself. For example, Galdós seeks in the very first paragraph of Fortunata y Jacinta to distance himself from Juanito Santa Cruz in order that the reader may not suspect autobiographical echoes. Nevertheless, Ortiz Armengol notes, his intimate friend Concha-Ruth Morell, who certainly knew well the donjuanesque side of Galdós, definitely recognized strong elements of Galdós in Juanito Santa Cruz (p. 16). Concerning the interrelationships between the characters, Ortiz Armengol reviews the well-known phenomenon of the changing amorous triangles and then goes on to speak of the ironic mirrorings of one character in another. Thus José Ido del Sagrario is not only an «esperpento» parody of Galdós himself, but also a reflecting foil for Maxi Rubin. Moreno Isla reflects similarities and aspects of Juanito; and Aurora recalls facets of Fortunata, while at the same time serving as an antagonistic contrast to her. Thus nearly every major character contributes to some degree to Galdós' great «red de parodias y de antagonistas, de exageraciones y de contrastes» (p. 37).

From analysis of the characters (including new opinions concerning how the more important ones reflect well-known personages of Greek mythology), Ortiz Armengol moves into an extensive discussion of the «fondo que hace Galdós en esta novela de tiempo y lugar» (p. 37). The temporal framework of the novel is the very rich and turbulent period from December of 1869 to April of 1876, with about 80 percent of the novelistic action occurring between February of 1873 and April of 1876. The «lugar» is, of course, old Madrid, with the Plaza Mayor being the most important nucleus.

The «Introducción» itself is followed by three «adiciones» (pp. 54-94) which are a successful blend of lists, charts, genealogical, tables, and old maps interspersed with interesting, lively commentary. «Adición I», entitled «Personajes de la ficción y de la realidad de la novela», contains a list of and commentary concerning the 314 named characters in Fortunata y Jacinta. In addition there is a list of the 221 names appearing in Galdós' novel which come from «la realidad histórica». All this is followed by three pages of detailed genealogical charts concerning the major family groupings in the novel.·«Adición II» is entitled «Cronología» and it contains a recapitulation, in chronological order, of the main events as they occur throughout the fictional time of the novel. Further, Ortiz Armengol has actually obtained and studied the calendars for the years covered by the novel and is able to compare actual days and dates with fictional events in Fortunata y Jacinta. Thus when Galdós says that something happened so many days after a certain religious holiday or historical event, we can now pinpoint for this fictional happening the exact day of the week month. Sometimes this process reveals a previously unsuspected artistic acierto by Galdós, for such a day may, without Don Benito's telling us so, coincide with another historical event or religious holiday which enhances the appropriateness and/or the irony of the event described. At other times, however, Galdós was obviously writing «sin calendario a la vista» (p. 72), so that, occasionally, we have Galdosian errors and, as well, the problem of not knowing whether the forgetfulness or lack of knowledge of a particular personaje is an intentional part of his characterization or whether it is due to «descuido» o «un pequeño pecado cronológico» on the part of the author.


«Adición III», entitled «Geografía y escenarios», contains a map of Spain showing all the place names mentioned in Fortunata y Jacinta, as wen as a similar map of the world. In addition, there is a two-page reproduction of an 1876 map of Madrid. The major and most delightful part of Ortiz Armengol's accompanying commentaries is his discussion of specific houses and buildings mentioned by Galdós. By carefully comparing the Galdosian text with antiquarian maps, guidebooks, memoirs, and even old photographs, Ortiz Armengol has been able to pinpoint convincingly the exact houses (including street and number) where leading characters lived and/or important events took place. Because many of these buildings are still standing today, it is possible to actually go and see where, according to Galdós, Don Baldomero and Doña Barbarita lived and had their store, where Guillermina Pacheco lived, where Aurora had her obrador and was attacked by Fortunata, and where Maxi worked in the Samaniego pharmacy.

However, we now learn also that a few other houses described by Galdós are pure invention and that they never existed at the place described in Fortunata y Jacinta. An example in point is the large tenement house, with many interior patios, at 12 Mira el Río Alta Street. Extant documentation proves that there never was a large house there: «Hacia 1830 existían en ese punto dos o tres minúsculas casillas y en 1874 -según el espléndido plano de Ibero- un edificio relativamente pequeño, de tres plantas, con pequeño patio interior. Galdós, pues, inventa en aquel lugar el escenario de las magníficas páginas de la colmena donde habita el 'cuarto estado'. Allí se efectúa la adquisición del supuesto hijo de Juan Santa Cruz y allí ocurrirá tiempo después la muerte de Mauricia 'la Dura.' El lugar lo ocupa actualmente una casa bastante posterior, de hacia 1900» (pp. 83-84).

Even in the buildings that do exist, the fictional structure does not always correspond precisely to objective reality. For example, if you have yet to make the sentimental climb up the old, hard stone steps used by Galdós' characters to reach their living quarters overlooking the Plaza Mayor, you may be interested to know that by entering the building from the Plaza Mayor, there is a saving of only 27 and not, as Galdós says, 30 steps. Moreover, if you enter from the Cava de San Miguel, «los escalones hasta el piso de Estupiñá son desde la calle 109 y no 120 como dice el texto» (p. 94).

The text of Fortunata y Jacinta itself occupies 829 pages, with generous margins and very readable print. There has been no attempt to arrive at a definitive MS text; rather, the intent is to give the reader a slightly modernized version of the first, 1887, edition, «no tanto como lo escribió el autor sino como lo leyó [en pruebas] el propio autor por primera vez después de escrito en la forma que iba a llegar al lector» (pp. 94-95). (The preparation of an MS edition should now, of course, be the next challenge for galdosistas.)

The text is followed by 500 annotations, in which Ortiz Armengol's great enthusiasm for Galdós' great novel again shines through on page after page. Fortunata y Jacinta is indeed a «pequeña enciclopedia de la época» (p. 48) and the 500 notes serve to elucidate, enrich, and expand that encyclopedia. Consequently, the notes are of a very diverse nature, and some are nearly three pages in length. Among the most helpful are those relating to historical events and personages, as well as those concerning Madrilenian institutions, buildings,   —136→   and popular speech. Moreover, there is a wealth of information about the characters of Fortunata y Jacinta with, when appropriate, references to their appearance in other Galdosian novels and Episodios. Again the bare bones of fact are fleshed out and invigorated by Ortiz Armengol's deep love of his subject, as he glosses for us his own personal opinions and emotional reactions -both positive and, occasionally, negative- to Galdós' text. His wide-ranging control of the critical bibliography manifests itself in acute assessments of the work of leading Galdós scholars and in his willingness to risk new hypotheses on some of the unexplored frontiers of our knowledge concerning Fortunata y Jacinta. (One important point, however, will need rectification in future editions: the opinion that «hay poco Quijote en esta novela» [note 450, p. 1053; also note 334, p. 1028]. We must remember, however, that William H. Shoemaker's The Novelistic Art of Galdós [Valencia: Albatros-Hispanofila, 1980] had not, of course, appeared in print when Ortiz Armengol finished his notes in 1977).

The final section of the book (entitled «Puntualización final») contains an appropriate commentary concerning each of the edition's many pictures and pen-and-ink sketches. (The later will be recognized by friends of Ortiz Armengol's as the very same which formed a part of his annual multipaged «Christmas card» commentary on passages from Fortunata y Jacinta). These sketches are quite important because some of them preserve for us «lugares... que ya han pasado a la historia y algunos otros quizá se vean amenazados por la más o menos inevitable transformación de los paisajes urbanos, por muy respetables que sean» (p. 1069).

This edition is, in sum, a remarkable contribution, far surpassing anything done previously for any nineteenth-century Spanish novel and setting a new high standard for other publishing houses and other scholars. Those teaching Fortunata y Jacinta and those involved in research concerning it will wonder how we ever got along without this edition. We can only hope that Pedro Ortiz Armengol will continue the good work and turn his attention now to preparing similar editions of other important Galdosian novels.

University of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas

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