La de bringas cumple cien años209
In this, the centenary year of La de Bringas' publication, it is highly appropriate that Cátedra should bring out a new edition of perhaps the best crafted novel by Galdós. The need for a new annotated edition of La de Bringas has been all the greater since Ricardo Gullón's excellent Prentice-Hall edition (mostly for English-speaking students of Spanish) went out of print some years ago. Cátedra has done justice to the artistic merit of the novel by asking critics of the stature of the Blancos to prepare the introduction and the text, and the Blancos have returned the honour by composing a highly stimulating introduction that in its own way compares very favourably with Gullón's seminal study. Moreover, at a time when the editors of Cátedra's Galdós texts have been content to reproduce earlier studies in their introductions, the Blancos offer an original piece of scholarship, although there is a liberal sprinkling of references to their own previous critical work. For those readers familiar with Carlos Blanco's scholarship, it will come as no surprise if I say that this introduction is incisive, highly readable, wonderfully free of empty rhetoric, and laden with insights and pithy syntheses. The only blemish is the occasional repetition of detail in the opening pages. If the principal aim of the study is the examination of the importance of La de Bringas as a reflection of socio-economic changes occurring in Spanish society in 1868 (which is not surprising, given Carlos Blanco's usual critical perspective), attention is also focussed on such other aspects of the novel as the role of the narrator, the Saussurian use of language, the relationship with Tormento, the divisions in Galdós' opus and the historical background. What is noteworthy here is that all of these aspects are firmly and logically treated within the framework of the central argument advanced by the introduction, and not merely appended as digressions or afterthoughts. A selected bibliography of important studies, and one hundred and twenty-eight footnotes (mostly explanations of lexical obscurities or identifications of reappearing characters, historical events and details of literary history) complete the critical apparatus. The Blancos have also chosen to reproduce the original first edition of 1884, but they, have modernized most of the punctuation.
Like Gilman, Montesinos, Gullón and most other critics, the Blancos regard the novels of 1881-1887 as a sort of homogeneous group built around the general theme of the moral uncertainty of the new bourgeois class. They also go a step further, and posit the more precise theme of the —142→ change in female attitudes to money and its acquisition. In pre-1868 Spain, women were totally dependent upon their male partners or relatives for access to money and hence to personal goods. In Restoration Spain, women showed a totally different attitude: they now bypass their male supports in order to achieve a more direct control of the money supply and purchasing power. They are able to take this revolutionary step, because of the greater credit facilities available in Restoration Spain. La de Bringas marks the beginning of this process with its portrayal of Spanish society on the eve of the 1868 Revolution, an important watershed in Spanish political and social history, whilst the other novels of the 1881-87 cycle chronicle the consolidation of this change.
My first criticism of this Marxist-Feminist reading of La de Bringas (which will undoubtedly prove very attractive to some readers) is that Rosalía now becomes more a victim of socio-political changes and less responsible for her own delinquent ways. Secondly, the Blancos ignore the fact that many men (as well as newly-liberated women) in these Galdós novels take full advantage of the greater credit facilities of the Restoration. The evidence of the Torquemada tetralogy and Fortunata y Jacinta, novels which the Blancos often cite, is quite strong on this point. Thirdly, although the Blancos quite rightly state that the liberated female protagonists pay for this bold assertion of economic independence with their bodies, they overlook the fact that, in so doing, these women are still ultimately dependent upon males. Galdós certainly admires his female protagonists' attempts at self-emancipation but he cannot refrain from pointing out (with varying degrees of irony) the ineluctable social reality facing both men and women.
But these are minor quibbles about a study that masterfully succeeds in peeling off yet another layer of the rich texture that is La de Bringas' very essence.
Queen's University Kingston, Ontario
Galdós en 1897210
Although designed for all levels, this book best suits readers with some cultural sophistication; the amount of background material offered in the 502 footnotes is greater than that in most textbook editions, as is the detail of the explanations. And necessarily so: the novel's thick cultural texture requires considerable scrutiny. Luciano García Lorenzo clearly distinguishes which hitherto unexplained items needed commentary as well as those which though annotated in previous editions, needed to be included again to make his the comprehensive aid it is.
The seven subdivisions of the «Introducción» cover the main points of interest in Misericordia. Other Galdosian works or biographical matter (as the author himself points out) are not treated. A wise decision, I think in view of the probable superficiality of their treatment in this context and the consequent loss of the patient pace and tone achieved by this more limited object of study. The first section, «Un año importante: 1897», recalls how decisive that year was in Galdós' literary life. On February 7th he read his now famous entry speech to the Real Academia Española de la Lengua, thus celebrating together with his friend Marcelino Menéndez Pelayo their triumph over the hostilities that had prevented his membership earlier. And during 1897 he both wrote and published Misericordia, evaluated by García Lorenzo as:
Seeing the novel as Galdós' pedestal for the pueblo is central to García Lorenzo's discussion. The sections «El Madrid de Misericordia», «Sobre la composición narrativa» and «Realidad y fantasía» are a bit short and somewhat lacking in stylistic continuity as compared with the fifth -and I think best- section, «La sociedad española a través de la novela» (pp. 28-45). Perhaps it was inevitable, given the intention of gathering pertinent statements on each aspect. Scholarly opinions are included in section 5 too, but in lesser proportion, permitting a firmer linking of the critic's own thoughts. His assessments of Doña Paca and Frasquito Ponte, emphasizing narrative naming, are good; equally good, his description of don Romualdo, which relates him to other figures in Galdós' clerical typology, showing that—144→
The significance of Almudena, one of Galdós' most problematic creatures according to Robert Ricard, is judged through that critic's words together with those of Denah Lida on Almudena's tricultural mixture as observable in his language. Finally, of course, there is Benina. José María Jover's sociological view of this character (whose presence in the novel's middle class atmosphere allows the reader to witness the interaction of social classes of the period) is evoked in a generous quotation of Jover on Galdós' demofilia, a consequence of both his ideology and his literary naturalism.
In «El simbolismo religioso», Galdós' artistic use of his sociological material is discussed, and Benina's virtues are seen as the spur out of naturalism into spiritualism. In the last section, «El texto de la novela», it is confirmed that the Nelson edition (Paris, 1913) does not differ from the first edition (Tello, 1897), except for the addition of two prologues. The later Hernando editions (1932 on) are censored for their typographical changes and numerous errors -some minor, but some less minor, like putting Benina's name in italics. As García Lorenzo writes, «El nombre correcto de Benina es, claro está, Benigna, pero esta forma, llamémosla culta, resulta desconocida e irrelevante en el uso lingüístico de la novela» (p. 49). The various textual modalities encountered by the editor in his research are neatly summarized, thus assisting today's reader.
Due to the frequent irregularities in most of the characters' speech, certain linguistic phenomena are pointed out. These include «asimilación o disimilación, simplificación de diptongos, sinéresis, sinalefas e hiatos» and «pérdida de las oclusivas sonoras, junto con el correspondiente proceso de relajación del punto de tensión y sonorización de las correspondientes sordas» (p. 52), etcetera. Such classification would have been more useful if it had been accompanied by further examples, but enlarging this rather arid, technical sub-section might have threatened the readability of the rest of the introduction.
«Nuestra edición» (pp. 53-54) states that the first edition was the model followed. Also, the criteria for the footnotes are specified: a) exclusively lexical notes are aimed at a multi-level audience; b) matters relating to the novel's historical and social background are treated in detail because they seemed essential; and c) geographical descriptions are given only of the places in Madrid related directly to the novel's action, and Pedro de Répide's Las calles de Madrid (1981) was the chief source of information.
All in all, a careful, helpful, scholarly edition of one of Galdós' most exhilarating novels.
Galdós y los masones211
Galdós' interest in freemasonry and its role in Spain's political life during the nineteenth century is evident in his Episodios nacionales (1873-1912), in which the theme runs, with varying degrees of emphasis, throughout the five series. José A. Ferrer Benimeli's examination of this subject is therefore a welcome addition to the growing number of critical studies on this major part of Galdós' work, particularly in view of the significant contribution he has already made to the history of freemasonry.
A wide-ranging discussion in the introduction about the Episodios as a source of historical information on masonry, is followed by five separate sections dealing in detail with each of the five series and supported by ample quotation from the text. After the conclusion, notes are provided, which include a bibliography, brief descriptions of some of the historical and fictional characters mentioned in the Episodios, and clarification of some obscure masonic terminology. An index would have been a useful addition.
In the «Introduction», emphasis is placed on a strictly historical approach: the consideration of Galdós as «una posible fuente de información histórica» (p. 8). In the author's view, the Episodios nacionales, because of the attention paid in them to masonry and the knowledge about this that Galdós displays, are a potentially valuable indirect source which may throw light on the unclear picture of Spanish masonry during the nineteenth century. He raises a problem which, for him, does not affect the three final series to the same extent, that is, whether the lengthy time lapse between the writing of the first two series of Episodios and the events they describe invalidates them as a source of historical information. He does not seem to think this is the case, and in support refers to Sáinz de Robles' affirmation that no historian has yet been able to accuse Galdós of misrepresentation of the truth, and that he always carefully discriminates between history and fiction in the Episodios. The author considers that this also applies to Galdós' treatment of masonry, in which it is easy to distinguish between fiction and historical remembrance. He queries whether Galdós' own experiences and impressions of politics and masonry in Spain when he was writing in the seventies were reflected in his picture of masonry during the two first series, but does not go into this interesting and important question. Although he points out that Galdós' sources are at issue here, he merely refers to some of the more obvious ones, such as Mesonero Romanos, the Conde de Toreno, Alcalá Galiano, etc., as well as periodicals —146→ of the time, concluding that it is likely that past and present sources «se aglutinaran en una simbiosis armónica» (p. 11).
Ferrer Benimeli's aim in what he describes as a mere «ensayo de lectura histórica de los Episodios» (p. 6), is to examine how Galdós, through his characters, observed, judged and criticized masonry. Special attention is therefore paid to the points of view expressed, first, by the principal masonic characters, secondly, by those who are members of the public, including the clergy, and thirdly, by Galdós himself, in authorial comments. Among the many important points high-lighted in this three-fold analysis, he stresses the distinction made by Galdós between Spanish masonry, with its political aims, and the philanthropically oriented, non-political masonry of other countries. Galdós considered that masonry was of no consequence in Spain until the French formally established it there in 1809, and that by 1876 it was virtually moribund. The importance of the first and second series in Galdós' description of the growing significance of masonry in Spain's political life, especially during the reign of Ferdinand VII, is carefully demonstrated. References to masonry in the third series are less frequent, reflecting, in the author's opinion, a diminution in the incidence of masonry in the political and social life of Spain between 1834 and 1847. In the two last series, the theme receives decreasing attention. Ferrer Benimeli notes that in the fifth and final series this may not mean that Galdós gave little importance to it, but that he adopted this attitude because the events were relatively close to his time. The positive and negative views expressed about masonry are clearly identified. Masons, viewed positively, were seen as philosophers, liberals, or would-be reformers of social injustice, who would not hesitate to resort to plot of revolution to reform the government. In the preponderantly negative view, they were held to be sorcerers, rogues, liars, libertines, «afrancesados», devils, heretics, and so on. The author indicates that the divergent views expressed by Galdós' characters are not just historical but contemporary: «encajan perfectamente en la polémica popular del desconocimiento que en España ha habido tradicionalmente acerca del sugestivo tema de las sociedades secretas y en particular de la masonería» (p. 14), and confirms that Galdós had a considerable knowledge about masonry, noting the novelist's use of masonic terminology and detailed description of masonic ritual and organization. He detects some errors in Galdós' interpretation of masonic symbols. Galdós's treatment in the Episodios of eminent people, mainly Spaniards, whose names have been linked with masonry in the nineteenth century, is discussed in detail, and the author illustrates Galdós' independence of judgment and desire for historical veracity in dealing with these very controversial matters.
In the conclusion, issues discussed elsewhere in the study are reviewed, such as the speculation about whether Galdós was himself a mason, as has been affirmed, in view of his great interest in the subject. The author points out that Galdós denied the allegation, and is able to confirm that his name does not appear in existing masonic archives as belonging to any lodge at any time. He also reiterates two questions fundamental to his work, first, whether the Episodios can serve as a documentary source in regard to Spanish masonry during the nineteenth century, and second, whether Galdós adopts —147→ in them any definite posture in regard to masonry. His answer to the first question is not clearly in the affirmative. The ambiguity of his reply is illustrated by his statement that one of the most important features of Galdós' work is his ability to have captured and reflected with real mastery the anti-masonic feeling that was so deeply entrenched in Spanish society. This may not be the result of historical accuracy on the part of Galdós, but rather of his imagination and sensitivity as a great novelist. In regard to the second question, the author indicates that, apart from Galdós' authorial comments, it is difficult to know if and when the novelist shared the opinions of his characters. He suggests that though some of the expressions of ridicule and irony about masonry might reflect his own views, the use of irony might also indicate some sympathy, at least understanding, on the part of Galdós for the masons, who were linked in the uninformed and fanatical public opinion with liberal, democratic and republican causes he personally valued. He stresses, however, that Galdós had no illusions about the real nature of the politically motivated Spanish masonry. For the author, one of the most valuable aspects of Galdós' approach to the subject, both in the Episodios and in his early historical novels, and one he considers still relevant today, is the novelist's use of irony and ridicule in his treatment of the ignorance and superstition that surrounded the topic of masonry then, and which has not yet been overcome.
While there can be no doubt that Galdós sought to base his Episodios on a framework of actual historical events, and that he accumulated a great deal of historical data, perhaps too much emphasis is placed in this study on the possible value of the Episodios as a documentary source on masonry. It would seem, also, that if they are to be regarded as such, even in the broadest sense, much more attention would need to be paid to Galdós' sources and their influence on his work and perception of masonry. Indeed, it is significant that in Ferrer Benimeli's discussion of the episodio, El Grande Oriente, in the second series, he states that the influence of Alcalá Galiano may have been responsible for Galdós' erroneously linking a certain historical personage with masonry, and he comments: «Este hecho, indirectamente, nos puede cuestionar la validez documental historiográfica de la versión galdosiana de la época, fuertemente marcada por la obra de Alcalá Galiano» (p. 82).
Apart from this question concerning historical value, which, in the absence of any additional evidence, is likely to remain unresolved, the author's analysis of Galdós' treatment of masonry in the Episodios is very informative, as might be expected, and it throws light on many interesting aspects of the theme which might otherwise remain unnoticed. The paper-back edition is well edited, the type a delight to read, and there are only a minimum of misprints.
Galdós y el matrimonio212
Robert Kirsner latest book wisely focuses attention on the central and crucial theme of marriage in Galdós narration, announced as early as his «Observaciones sobre la novela contemporánea en España» or 1870. Professor Kirsner examines the Novelas de la primera época and the Novelas españolas contemporáneas through Fortunata y Jacinta. As Kirsner says, Galdós chose to write about matrimony because the characters are «actor y público a la vez» (p. 10). Moreover, as he shows in his fine discussion of La familia de León Roch, the family serves as microcosm of Spanish society: «Inevitable es que estalle la guerra, y que dentro del combate se perciba el matrimonio como un microcosmos vivo» (p. 88). By focusing on the family, Galdós can treat characters as types and as unique individuals at the same time. As Tolstoy's dictum about happy families and unhappy families in the opening of Anna Karenina implies, novels need conflict which unhappy families provide. According to Kirsner Galdós used matrimony in a like manner: «El matrimonio, fértil terreno para novelar, encierra la posibilidad de constituirse en un martirio incesante» (p. 236). Kirsner also shows that in many of the novels marriage provides the perfect setting for irony such as the distance between dream and reality in the case of Amparo and Agustín in Tormento and the difference between words and deeds in Lo prohibido and Fortunata y Jacinta. It is the thesis of Kirsner's study that the early novels treat matrimony as a destructive force but that in later novels it is seen sympathetically:
Kirsner's book is not without defects. He fails to analyze the psychological and sociological aspects of the few happy families in Galdós' novels such as the Buenaventura Lantiguas in Gloria and Constantino and Camila in Lo prohibido. Since El audaz, La Fontana de Oro, and Doña Perfecta have little to do with his topic, Kirsner should not have devoted so much space to their study and should instead have included works which are fundamental to any consideration of Galdós' portrayal of marriage such as the novels of the Torquemada series. One can only hope that Professor Kirsner will now turn his attention to those novels and include them in a —150→ revised edition of his work. Any revision should also include a more up-to-date bibliography. One wonders why his historical reference work would be Charles E. Chapman's History of Spain and not, for example, Raymond Carr's. He excludes reference to important recent studies by Gilman and Pattison, to name only a few. He fails to cite recent dissertations on the family in the Galdosian novel. Since a great deal of his discussion deals with humor and irony rather than matrimony, one would expect him to cite works by Michael Nimetz and Diane Urey. Professor Urey's study appeared in 1982 and perhaps coincided with the period when Kirsner's work was at press; however, the book suffers from a general lack of knowledge or concern with recent Galdós scholarship.
Galdós y la política213
Galdós' interest in politics was life-long, hardly surprising in one whose literary apprenticeship was coetaneous with the upheavals of 1868. Before the age of thirty, Galdós was editor of El Debate and political correspondent for the influential Revista de España. His combative anticlericalism found expression in such works as Doña Perfecta, Un voluntario realista, Electra, and the later episodios nacionales. In 1907, Galdós' anticlericalism inspired his conversion to Republicanism. As Republican deputy for Madrid, he joined the more radical Republicans in their attempted obstruction of Maura's legislation, spearheaded the campaign of 1908 against the proposed ley del terrorismo, headed the Conjunción-republicano-socialista from 1909 to its collapse in 1913, and in 1913 -by now a member of Melquíades Álvarez' Partido Reformista- accompanied leading Republican moderates in their rapprochement with the monarchy.
Until recently, the only more than passing account of Galdós' Republicanism has been that of Berkowitz, who portrays the Republican Galdós as a senile fool, a pawn manipulated, to the dismay of friends, by unscrupulous politicians. For those few scholars who have ventured to study Galdós' later political career, however, Berkowitz' characterization is a bizarre fantasy, a perversion of fact and of common sense. Indeed, Galdós' anticlerical friends Morote and Soriano served as go-betweens in his conversion to Republicanism; Galdós negotiated from a position of strength, insisting on nominating his fellow-candidates for the Madrid slate of deputies; Galdós, timid and repressed for most of his life, obviously enjoyed the central position which his role as Republican leader offered, traveling all over Spain to participate in political meetings and playing a leading part in organizing alliances of the various Republican groupings; Galdós' political evolution (from ally of Sol y Ortega to adherent of Melquíades Álvarez) reveals not senility but rather a sensible adaptation to changing circumstances.
A further danger for those who study Galdós' Republicanism is that of taking isolated gestures (his occasional pessimism, his declarations of support for Pablo Iglesias) for more than what they are: mere boutades, responses to specific situations. Admittedly, to place Galdós' activities in context is no easy task. Republicans formed no single, cohesive party; their policies reflected as much the personal animosities of their bickering leaders as ideological postures. Furthermore, in so far as Galdós is concerned, much information has probably been lost for ever. Thus, Galdós' letters to other politicians —152→ have apparently not survived. The political correspondence addressed to Galdós and conserved in the Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós shows obvious signs of a depuración -there are, given Galdós' leading position, relatively few political letters; there are no letters from, for example, Sol and Soriano, with whom Galdós for a while closely collaborated. In any case, given governmental control of the mails, Republican politicians committed little of importance to writing. Thus, Tomás Romero, in his letters to Galdós of August and September 1909, establishes cover addresses for Galdós replies and refers to police inspection and interruption of correspondence; nevertheless, Romero's letters tantalizingly suggest the collaboration of Romero, Llorente, Sol, and Galdós during the crisis months. Later, in September 1911, Félix De la Torre also refers to the advisability of not committing political projects to paper. Indeed, certain plans suggest the dubious nature of Republican morality. Thus, in a letter of October 15, 1911, De la Torre proposes, for Galdós' approval, that the Conjunción obtain a loan from French bankers, this as a precondition to the Republican-socialist Madrid municipality's raising a large loan from the same banking house. (Cf. the ethical posturing of leading members of the Conjunción in December 1910, when Alejandro Lerroux and the Radical Republicans were expelled, following revelations of corruption in the Barcelona municipality.) The most intriguing suggestion of the concealed underside of Republican politics has come from Maximiano García Venero, who claimed that Galdós, together with Azcárate, Melquíades Álvarez, Soriano, and Iglesias, was party to a Republican revolutionary conspiracy, headed by the progresista Esquerdo. Regrettably, García Venero, at the time of publication of his rather startling accusation, considered it too premature to reveal the source of his information (Maximiano García Venero, Melquíades Álvarez, historia de un liberal, Madrid, Editorial Alhambra, 1954, pp. 211-13).
In the present volume, Víctor Fuentes concerns himself with Galdós' public political expression between 1907 and 1913, gathering forty-seven documents of difficult access to galdosistas. (By way of contrast, Benito Madariaga in 1979 published only nine of Galdós' political pronouncements.) Fuentes prints three of Galdós' manifestoes and speeches from 1907, nine from 1908, eight from 1909, six for each of the years 1910 and 1911, and three each year for 1912 and 1913. In addition, he gives nine documents of the Executive Committee of the Conjunción, in the composition of which Galdós played a major role. (My own research suggests the existence of some dozen more speeches and semi-official communications for the period; these are, however, unlikely to change our assessment of Galdós.) The speeches, as Fuentes perceptively observes, frequently revolve around a simple dualism (past and present wretchedness as opposed to a shining democratic future, Thanatos and Eros); their themes are patriotism (self-proclaimed), the social question, a marked hostility to what Galdós regarded as oligarchic and theocratic rule, and a Utopian vision of the harmonious combination of Art, Capital, and Labor. The speeches are, one might observe, long on inspiration and short on information; they lack the intellectual —153→ content of the contemporary speeches of Gumersindo de Azcárate or Melquíades Álvarez.
The value of Fuentes' work lies above all in the publication of the speeches. Nevertheless, in the brief prologue, José Carlos Mainer engagingly embarks on the impossible task of summarizing Galdosian criticism of the last sixty years and of placing Galdós in the context of nineteenth-century Spanish literature, all in the space of ten pages. Almost as briefly, in the twenty-seven page introduction, Fuentes resumes Galdós' political career between 1907 and 1913. Rejecting strongly Berkowitz' and Hinterhäuser's dismissal of Galdós' later political activities, Fuentes affirms that Galdós' entry into Republican politics was «un acto de rejuvenecimiento y la consecuente culminación de una obra», a commitment revealing political responsibility, not senility. Fuentes' summary, although lamentably brief and based on the external facets of Galdós' career, is on the whole clearly presented (although the discussion of the events of 1913 before those of 1911 will confuse the neophyte) and his judgments (of Galdós' political enthusiasm, of the warm reception given to his speeches, of his optimism) are sound. Fuentes' compilation is a most useful work, which every galdosista should possess.
University of Kentucky
Whiston's presentation of the two preliminary drafts of the Lo prohibido manuscript offers the student of Galdós valuable insights into the novelist's creative process, in spite of the technical flaws of the transcription.
Let us consider first these not unimportant technicalities. The first sentence of the «Prefatory Note» reads: «On the few occasions in the transcription of Galdós's MS when I have included words crossed out by the author, I have followed J. Weber [...]». What criterion or criteria are followed in deciding which crossed out words are transcribed or not, we are not told. It would seem important, at any rate, to include all legible crossed out words, a rich source for stylistic measure215.
At the end of the first paragraph we are informed that «accentuation has been modernised». If so, how to explain such transcription as this: «No hablaré de lo anterior á mí [...]» (p. 31). Not only is the a accentuated, as it is frequently in this transcription, but the last i is not.
In the second paragraph we read: «Attention has not usually been drawn to errors of accentuation and punctuation, nor to errors in other orthographic signs such as exclamation, quotation and question marks or to mistakes in the capitalising of letters. Neither have I drawn attention to the transposition of 'b' and 'v', 'g' and 'j', 's' and 'j', and 'x' and 's'».
If I interpret correctly the rather vague phrase, «attention has not usually been drawn to», to mean that the stipulated irregularities have been transcribed -usually- within the current Spanish standard, then, what to make of transcriptions such as: «la vista de personas extrañas me escitaba más [...]» (p. 31); or «En el verano, al volver de un viage que hizo [...]» (p. 46)? In general, then, one would wish for greater clarity in the exposition of the conventions to be followed, and for adherence to the same.
These flaws notwithstanding, there is much to be gleaned from Whiston's patient work. Let us examine some aspects of the narrator of Lo prohibido and of the other characters, which the publication of the first two drafts and Whiston's commentary permit us to observe.
Whiston's comparison of the first and final drafts make evident Galdós' effort to interpose the interesting opaqueness of José María's perspective in front of the plot line he narrates. The changes in Bueno de Guzmán's description of Eloísa shows that Galdós «took account of the fact that José María would be looking back on his early passion for Eloísa and on his later disillusionment with her» (p. 21). Whiston again points at the increased —156→ importance of the narrator's point of view in the final draft, to the detriment of exterior action. «The narrator's simple idea in 2M [the second draft] of marrying Camila becomes, in the PM [final manuscript] draft, a complex of memories, assertions, true and false perceptions, leaving the reader with a web of truth and falsehood to disentangle» (p. 72) -that is, leaving the reader with José María's conscience and consciousness.
Intimately tied to the protagonism of José María's perspective, is the ennobling of his antagonists, the two husbands Carrillo and Medina. As Whiston points out, «in the final version of the novel, the husbands of Eloísa and María Juana are men of impeccable sexual morality, a fact that lends more complexity to the characterization of José María, because the implication is that Carrillo and Medina are of more upright character than the narrator» (p. 74).
The dubious morality of the narrator, which, as Whiston shows us, was the result of a process of elaboration on the part of Galdós, is of high interest, in view of José María's avowal.
Siento desengañar a los que quisieran ver en mí algo que me diferencie de la multitud. Aunque me duela el confesarlo, no soy más que uno de tantos, un cualquiera.216 [...] las situaciones [...] me dominan a mí. Por esto, tal vez, muchos que buscan lo extraordinario y dramático no hallen interesantes estas memorias mías. ¡Pero cómo va a ser! La antigua literatura novelesca y, sobre todo, la literatura dramática, han dado vida a [...] los llamados héroes [...] que justifican su gallarda existencia realizando actos morales de grandísimo poder y eficacia, inspirados en una lógica de encargo: la lógica del mecanismo teatral en la Comedia, la lógica del mecanismo narrativo en la Novela. Nada de esto reza conmigo. Yo no soy personaje esencialmente activo.
In other words, we see in Whiston's book some key steps in the creation of this anti-hero, whose passivity in deeds is as acute as his activity of remembrance and confession.
Whiston has a keen commentary to make on the change of dialogue in the scene between José María and Camila in chapter I of the second part. While Camila's words are enlivened and made more natural, José María's speech retains its bookishness. «The quasi stage direction cogiendo mi sombrero -observes Whiston- is also repeated and firmly points the finger at José María's melodramatic and stilted language, in other words, the language of insincerity» (p. 63). In another comparison, Whiston shows us how Camila's personification is made more congruent with her fundamental role of honest strength, due to the elimination of a scene which shows her weeping «lágrimas de ahogada pena» (p. 75).
Whiston's book is a good example of the usefulness of transcribing Galdós' manuscripts, and of the need for technical rigor and the standardization of guidelines, a job which might be done within the framework of a congress.