The consciousness of Fortunata28
For impassioned readers and rereaders of Fortunata y Jacinta Fortunata is the woman who of all women is most profoundly known. We know her from within and we know her at length, from physical and spiritual birth to physical death and spiritual resurrection. That is to say, we know her in a way we can never know women of flesh and blood: our mothers, our sisters, or our wives. Yet it would not be easy to explain to a reader of -say- Madame Bovary what it is that we know about Fortunata, to tell him, as he could tell us about Emma, just what she is like. In so saying, I do not refer to the self-evident difficulties of determining character or of reducing on-going life to static resumé. Far more than others of her fictional peers -an Emma Bovary, a Becky Sharpe, a Gina Sanseverina, or a Celestina- Fortunata's way of being herself seems to evade the categories we habitually reserve for comprehension of the inhabitants of novels. It is not that she is more complex, vague, or contradictory than the other ladies mentioned. Instead in the very naiveté, and passionate forthrightness which we come to know so well there is an element of mystery. Her changes, feelings, preoccupations, and decisions are powerful and direct, yet when we ask the question, «Why?» or «Why at this point?» the answer is never self-evident.
In part this is due to the fact that Galdós, like Dostoievsky, much prefers presentation to explanation. In the manuscript he systematically deletes the rudimentary comments on happening and character which earlier versions had contained. But to an even greater extent it is the result of Galdós' unusual angle of creative vision. He sees Fortunata in a way quite different from the way he sees the characters who surround her. How is she presented? To find out we may follow the urgent instructions of Virginia Woolf to novel readers: «All alone we must climb on the novelist's shoulders and gaze through his eyes until we, too, understand in what order he ranges the large common objects upon which novelists are fated to gaze...»29
Upon so doing, as Montesinos observes, we realize that neither Galdós nor we really see Fortunata at all. As against her rival, Jacinta, whose taste for clothes («el polisón» and the «pardessus color de pasa»,) whose expressively mobile face, and even intimate parts of the body remain well fixed in our memory, Galdós cunningly juxtaposes a Fortunata of whose overpowering beauty we are given no particularized image. On the occasion of her first direct description when she and Juanito Santa Cruz, her seducer and beloved, meet on the stairs, the three adjectives of the sentence, «... juanito vio algo que de pronto le impresionó: una mujer bonita, joven, alta...», are utterly non-committal. The contrast between this succinct introduction and the depths of intimacy which the novel has in store for us could not be greater or more purposeful.
Immediately afterwards a process of verbal metamorphosis sets in which transforms Fortunata's typical manipulation of her «mantón de Manila» into the self-preening and ruffling up of a bird. At the very moment of her novelistic birth, her physical presence which other novelists might well have tried to make us visualize is converted into sheer force, into a primitive exhibition of vitality which captivates us just as it captivates the «señorito» who stands there staring. In fact, it has captivated so many readers that this scene has become a deservedly famous emblem of the novel as a —56→ whole, comparable to Don Quijote and the windmill or Robinson Crusoe and the footprint.
In a different way the same effect is achieved in the next description when Fortunata, at the beginning of Part II, becomes conscious of herself while looking at her own mirror image. She attempts to put the beauty she sees there into words, but at that linguistically underprivileged beginning of her existence she can do little more than exclaim («¡Vaya un pelito que Dios me ha dado!») or take refuge in commonplaces («Tengo los dientes como pedacitos de leche cuajada.»). Again words have been used more to conceal than to reveal; again we are given an impression of a marvellous presence, a presence to be sensed or at best glimpsed briefly (abundant black hair, firm flesh, etc.) but never to be examined closely and possessed in memory.
Why? One answer -and a true one- would be that Galdós here (as he can be observed doing elsewhere) has applied instinctively the narrative practice of Homer as analyzed by Lessing in the Laocoon: «Let us recall the passage where Helen steps into the assembly of the Elders of the Trojan people. The venerable old men looked on her and one said to the other: 'Small blame is it that the Trojans and wellgreaved Achaians should for such a woman long time suffer hardships; Marvellously like is she to the immortal goddesses to look upon.' What can convey a more vivid idea of Beauty than to have frigid age confessing her well worth the war that has cost so much blood and so many tears? What Homer could not describe in its component parts, he makes us feel in its working.»30 So Fortunata too is all the more splendid when seen through the impression she makes on Juanito and on herself.
But there is more to it than this. Between these two moments of transformed and transient description, Fortunata -as Sherman Eoff notes- disappears in a way which suggests the deeper intention of Galdós' reluctance to paint her portrait.31 As we learn in passing later on, after the death of Juanito's child, she sinks into a sexual underworld where she undergoes the sordid adventures which Naturalists naturally reserve for innocent lower class girls who have been seduced and abandoned. But unlike her precursor, Isidora Rufete in La desheredada, these experiences do not touch her or affect her. This topical part of her biography is tangential both to the story as a whole and to the integrity of her existence. What does matter is that in spite of her physical disappearance in Part I, she nevertheless maintains her post of honor at the center of the novel. As the protagonist she continues to be present in the remorseful and lascivious memory of Juanito and in the apprehensive and curious imagination of Jacinta, his new young bourgeois wife. Fortunata is not only the underlying subject of their cloying honeymoon dialogue (no matter what they pretend to be talking about) but, even more, she is the stranded incorporeal inhabitant, the uninvited guest, of their consciousness of each other. In this sense she constitutes, precisely because she is not described from without, the real reality of Part I.
If this sounds paradoxical in such a documentary narrative it is because Galdós meant it to. The long Naturalistic beginning of Fortunata y Jacinta may seem to certain readers (particularly foreign students to whom it has been assigned in class) out of proportion. The endless «pormenores», the world of clothes and food and shelter, the background of urban scenery, types, and historical events are «constructed» (as my late teacher, Augusto Centeno, used to term it) with infinitely patient expertise. «Con elementos que había reunido de antemano me puse a escribir...» -Galdós —57→ tells us in his Memorias32- and he did not intend to abbreviate them. But we should not be fooled; all this external realism is not there just because Madrid was like that. Instead it functions as a solid external point of departure for the basic inward movement of the novel. And even at the very moment of its display, in the very midst of all the picturesque particularities of urban life we find performing -as if on a classical stage- a figure of the mind which is larger and more real than «realism».
The point I am trying to make is simple and probably self-evident to the present audience. Galdós, following an experimental path that began with El amigo Manso (in apparent reaction against the Naturalism he had played with in La desheredada) has now decided to undertake what might be called a major Cervantine offensive against Emile Zola. Heredity and urban environment are no longer to be allowed to determine individual lives and to distort or shrink their consciousness. Rather, there is to be a return to don Quijote's open ended quest for values. Which is why Fortunata is virtually invisible; she is not just a conscious protagonist but a paladin of consciousness itself at war with «race, milieu, et moment» and, in ultimate victory, the assessor of their impotence.
The innovation was so great and the use of such a standard Naturalistic victim as Fortunata as the vessel of redemption so startling, that Galdós prepared the way with all possible caution. On the one hand, he built a verbal Madrid as solid as Balzac's Paris, and, on the other, he separeted his heroine from her wretched biography and amplified her as a creature of the consciousness of the newly married couple. The unsuspecting reader at the end of Part I is now ready to know her in terms of her extraordinary attraction for and presence in a whole gallery of other minds: Maxi, doña Lupe, Mauricia, Feijoo, Segismundo Ballester. The return to a novel of consciousness from a novel of forces and things could only be attempted slowly and indirectly.
The physical reappearance of Fortunata at the beginning of Part II, thus, constitutes a continuation and amplification of the dialectic of consciousness and world which began in Part I. Galdós now uses multiple juxtaposition of individual consciousnesses: the Fortunata who exists for those who know her and, at the same time, they as they reside in her mind. From these contrasts there emerges a Cervantinc novel of interlaced perspectives, that is to say, a novel of mutually involved consciousnesses, some narrowed by vice or social constraint, others exalted and on fire with idealism, and still others twisted by reason or insanity and all grouped around that of Fortunata. She is the magnetic pole for them all, precisely because of her freedom, of her potentiality for either damnation and salvation. She is the epic heroine of the faculty -not reason, but self-awareness- which makes us different from other living creatures.
It is for this reason, I think, that Galdós chooses not to paint Fortunata's enchanting portrait in words and why, in spite of our intimacy with her, we -like many of those who live with her in Galdós' pages- remain in awe of her mystery. Other novelists present their characters in much the same way that we meet people in life: as a more or less fixed initial image which we gradually get to know by an habitual process of continuing observation and deduction. But in the case of Fortunata we are disconcerted to find the familiar technique turned inside out. We enter her mind directly; we know all; and the more we reside there, the more marvellous the experience becomes. Fortunata is nothing less than what we might be, if we were true (today the word would be «authentic») -not distorted, self-serving, overtrained, —58→ cowardly, and generally desensitized. Or to say it more conventionally, Fortunata transcends the dichotomies of flesh and spirit («naturalismo espiritual»), of intellect and life, which we have been taught to accept and even to defend as if our very existence depended on them- when they actually cut it in two. As a result she has a characterlessness, a dangerous naiveté, a seemingly limitless freedom to grow larger, a transparency of experimental intake and a capacity for passion which make her into a kind of ultimate novelistic heroine. Her relationship to the Spanish people is not as a representative (the whole comprehensible in the part) like earlier Galdosian personages, but rather that of Huck Finn to the American people. By that I mean that the sort of interpretation which would explain the novel as an allegory of the salvation of decadent Restoration Spain by the uncorrupted «pueblo» in the person of Fortunata if not untrue, is grievously foreshortened. Fortunata, like Huck, more importantly is a touchstone, a living particular consciousness which reveals to the reader what he has become and perhaps what he still could aspire to be.
Until this point what I have done is to elaborate upon Sherman Eoff's notion of the «Deification of Conscious Process» with differing emphases. What remains is to examine further how Galdós as an artist of the novel, as a ceaseless experimenter with structure and style, provides a new literary organism for his changed intention. Another method would have been to go outside the novel and to examine the concepts of consciousness available to Galdós: that of the psychology of the time («mecánica espiritual») and above all that of the Krausistas who believed that the reform of consciousness would bring Utopia, a kind of «greening» of Spain that was gently mocked by Galdós in the figure of Maximo Manso. However, I am unprepared for such an intellectual venture, almost as unprepared as the Spanish word, «conciencia», which combines without distinction ethical conscience and self-consciousness, alongside awareness and awareness of being aware. On the other hand, Galdós, himself, in his voyage inwards into Fortunata's «conciencia» does not attempt (or want) to disentangle such alien distinctions. «La idea blanca», the host which speaks to Fortunata in her own language and gives her good advice, clearly corresponds to the scriptural sense of conscience first used by Saint Paul, a feeling of consciousness shared (con-scientia) with some external moral entity, whether society or God. Self-consciousness, too, appears in her constant preoccupation with how she will appear to Jacinta: «... le asaltaba la idea de que su lenguaje no sería bastante fino». As for awareness and awareness of being aware the most rudimentary of those moments when Fortunata watches herself in the act of experiencing has just been mentioned. She looks at herself in the mirror and takes the first step in her long climb upwards from initial unawareness, a climb which is at the same time a gradual inner self-enlargement.
The two metaphors for the development of consciousness just employed -climb and enlargement, the one primarily temporal and the other primarily spatial- will help us comprehend the form and style of the novel. If we speak, as we have spoken, about consciousness as inside and the world as outside, we naturally think of the former as if it were an inner space, the boundless inner space of Hamlet's nutshell: «Una idea pasaba por su cerebro como pasa un pájaro fugaz por la inmensidad del cielo.» It is because of this that our memory of the personages of Galdós' later novels like those of Dostoievsky, Joyce, and Virginia Woolf seem so much larger than life. Fortunata begins with a tiny bubble of consciousness which rises from the mirror image of herself, but soon -by the time she leaves Las Micaelas (the religious institution devoted to the reform of errant young women where she is sequestered by —59→ the relatives of her future husband, Maxi)- it has been blown up to a metaphorical «size» larger than that achieved by most of us. The change -Galdós makes clear- is not due to an avid sensibility of the sort possessed by Rousseau's alter egos or even to an abnormally keen intelligence but rather to transparency. To educate her is a task of the greatest difficulty for Maxi, and, as far as we can tell, even at the end she still doesn't care who Columbus was or to spell correctly. What has happened is something very different from learning from experience or «Bildung». As the earlier comparison with Huck Finn suggested, all that she has met has become a part of her without distortion, honestly, as it was, without over-estimation or under-estimation. It is in this that Fortunata excells.
The contrast between Fortunata as novelistic heroine and Maxi as novelistic hero is in this sense both striking and intentional. The latter who has an exalted sense of the interior space of his consciousness seems to us ever more diminished as we go on reading. He has been cut off from the world as it is by his wretched body -«una cucaracha», «una ave flaca»- and by the end he has shrunken to autonomous and purely intellectual self-sufficiency. His very lucidity as well as his earlier paranoia are the conditions of experiential incapacity. Thus, Galdós' constant and unrelentingly cruel description of him from without- as against his treatment of his wife.
These remarks should not be taken to mean that Galdós in his movement inward abandons the techniques of Naturalistic and, at the end, melodramatic external story telling. It is obvious that he does not. What happens is that as the characters press ever more closely in upon an ever more «incited» Fortunata (to use Castro's word for Don Quijote) and their mutual presence in each other's minds becomes more and more intense, the more we become aware that all that is meaningful in the novel is what is going on in her consciousness. Hence the sense of a size not limited by the feet and inches of a physique.
At the same time, Madrid, which loomed so large and so powerful at the beginning, is gradually reduced both by a process of acceleration (its inhabitants move in and out of the pages faster and faster) and by caricature. For example, the technique used in La desheredada of comparing groups of human beings to animal collectivities (the Pez family of politicians and bureaucrats) is further developed. Oysters, molluscs, rats, and above all birds are utilized. Like the chickens in the «tienda de aves» at the beginning and doña Desdémona's aviary at the end (the framing images), the population of Madrid is seen as a flock of caged birds, twittering away incessantly through their «picos de oro» giving birth to «canarios de alcoba», and storing up deposits of «guano» meaning money. As Fortunata expands from within, Madrid diminishes from without, a city best described by the verse from Calderón, appropriately cited by Segismundo Ballester: «La inquieta república de las aves».
From time to time, of course, Galdós returns to his initial comparison of Fortunata to a wild and errant bird (in intentional contrast to all the others), but, as those who witness her death observe unanimously, she ends as a creature still winged but by definition transcending outwardness and size itself: an angel. As such she is a creature of pure spirit (or consciousness) and of absolute meaning. Or to say the same thing in a more general way, the theme of Fortunata y Jacinta is the theme of all great novels ever since the Quijote: the creation of significance out of insignificance, or, as Lukacs tells us, a search for values which in apparent failure nevertheless suceeds. Hence, Fortunata's carnal death and angelic resurrection in the consciousnesscs of —60→ those she leaves behind. Inside her, they -and we- find a place of redemption for all the stale topics, anecdotes, miseries, deceptions, perversions, and debased values of society. Hence too, an inner structure conceived of as continuing dialectic of inwardness and outwardness, expansion and contraction. There are, of course, many other valid ways of conceiving of and presenting the structure of the novel -successive triangles of human relationship, the antitheses of plot, spheres of activity, etc.- but this I think is the innermost structural core in that it expresses the deepest theme of significance in victorious war with gigantic insignificance, meaning ranged against the national bent for pompous triviality, inflated mediocrity, and empty show which led Galdós to refer to the «Restauración» as «los años bobos».
However, the spatial image of consciousness is manifestly incomplete; inner time must also be accounted for. In so doing, I must confess that I have found it both unrewarding and misleading to try to bind Fortunata's temporal development to a rigid scheme of the sort proposed by mystics and philosophers. Eoff is correct when he points out that there is evidence of an Hegelian sequence (the last part of the Phenomenology of the Mind) to Fortunata's «climb» from initial unconsciousness. But, after years of thinking about the problem, I have come to the conclusion that specific parallels are alluded to ironically by Galdós, in order to illustrate or underline certain marked steps upwards. One example of several occurs at the end of the chapter entitled «Naturalismo espiritual». As we remember, Fortunata senses that «la simpatía misteriosa que la había inspirado Mauricia se pasaba a Guillermina», after which there occurs a synthesis in her mind of the two antithetical beings. This is expressed in words by her confusion of their names, «Doña Mauricia, digo Guillermina la dura». It is I think licit and suggestive to interpret this as an intentional reference to transition from the subjective to the objective spirit. This means -stated with startling over-simplification- that from now on Fortunata, instead of being concerned with her own impulses and passion, will be, in Hegelian terms, concerned to create an autonomous outer «institution», the new family (based not on social mores but on life) of «la pícara idea». When she announces her idea, «Esposa que no tiene hijos no es tal esposa», Galdós again expresses tacitly her synthesis of Mauricia, the subjective anarchist, and Guillermina, the apostle of ready-made society. «Es idea mía, prosiguió con la inspiración de un apóstol y la audacia criminal de un anarquista». Out of passion is to come a new authentic self-willed society. Nevertheless, this novelistic play with the concepts of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis should not be understood with allegorical rigidity. Instead Hegel, mentioned only once slyly (p. 307), is used the way Cervantes uses Cide Hamete; as a means of allusion and evasion -not as a solution to the mysteries of consciousness. Galdós seems to have realized that given changes in Fortunata may be susceptible to Hegelian interpretation and he enjoys playing with it. Yet he does not pattern her pilgrim's progress in terms of a philosophical system. After all it is not Fortunata but Maxi who -in a final flourish of Galdosian irony -ends up living «en la pura idea». The point is that Hegelian consciousness is ultimately intellectual while Fortunata's is axiological -a vessel not of ideas but of undistorted perception and value judgement.
Fortunata's climb, which is really what Castro would term the irregular fluttering upward of «incitación» and Madariaga, a sequence of repressions and explosions, can only be known ex post facto by the reader or by her companions. As far as she is concerned, the temporality of her consciousness operates within the immediacies of instant, hour, and day. As such it makes itself manifest not in structure but in —61→ narrative style. On several occasions I have had cited one of those remarks of my teacher, Américo Castro, which plunge to the heart of problems to which others merely lay siege. It has to do with time and the novel: «The novel does not consist in telling what happens to a person, but instead of how that person feels himself existing in a happening».33 That is to say, great novelistic characters are not just swept along from adventure to adventure (each temporally isolated from the next according to Simmel and Ortega)34 but instead feel a communion of their inner «durée» (how it feels to exist) in external time (the happening), the time that passes in rivers, orbits, tides, and clocks. Unlike the spatial image based on dichotomy, temporal consciousness unites what is inside and what is outside. The river scenes in Huck Finn or the ride through the forest of Fontainebleau in L'Education sentimentale are well known examples.
The first instance of such experiential communion in Fortunata y Jacinta occurs when the socially incarcerated Fortunata observes the view of the Guadarrama from «Las Micaelas por dentro» gradually becoming «englouti» as the wall of a church under construction rises day after day. Her own sense of vital repression, the institutional damming up of her flow of internal time, becomes one with the temporality of the scene: the fleeting clouds, the implacable growth of the wall, etc. As we read and supplement her experience with our imagination we come to know exactly how it felt to exist within the happening. However, since I have commented elsewhere on this passage,35 let me read instead one of the last records of a similar experience- again based on a tacit use of water imagery. Like Don Quijote, Fortunata has come full circle and has returned to a room above the Plaza Mayor to wait for the birth of her second child. She is gazing out of the window:
Una mañana al levantarse, vio que había caído durante la noche una gran nevada. El espectáculo que ofrecía la plaza era precioso: los techos enteramente blancos; todas las líneas horizontales de la arquitectura y el herraje de los balcones, perfilados con durísimas líneas de nieve; los árboles ostentando cuajarones que parecían de algodón, y el rey Felipe III, con pelliza de armiño y gorro de dormir. Después de arreglarse volvió a mirar la plaza, entretenida en ver como se deshacía el mágico encanto de la nieve, como se abrían surcos en la blancura de los techos, como se sacudían los pinos de su desusada vestimenta, como, en fin, en el cuerpo del rey y en el del caballo se desleían los copos y chorreaba la humedad por el bronce abajo. El suelo, a la mañana tan duro y albo, era ya al mediodía charca cenagosa, en la cual chapoteaban los barrenderos y mangueros municipales, disolviendo la nieve con los chorros de agua y revolviéndola con el fango para echarlo todo a la alcantarilla. Divertido era este espectáculo sobre todo cuando restallaban los airosos surtidores de las mangas de riego y los chicos se lanzaban a la faena armados con tremendas escobas. Miraba esto Fortunata cuando de repente...36
As we read we become increasingly aware of the rapprochement of exterior with interior time. Fortunata's view of the metamorphosis worked by the snowstorm (a sight which she probably had never seen before) and of its gradual disappearance at the hands of the sun and of the street cleaners is combined both to the candor of her idle amusement and to an underlying melancholy. Instead of a damming up (as from the window of Las Micaelas) there is here a draining away, an inevitable dissolving of beauty. The whole tone of the final phase of her life is represented with a clarity that is at once visual and emotional.—62→
In such scenes Fortunata is the antithesis of her precursor, Isidora Rufete. It is not just that the former, Fortunata, is not determined and not ruined by her initial ignominy but, what is far more important, that she demonstrates a quality of sheer aliveness, of wide open «durée», that is utterly lacking in the latter. Isidora, revealed through Naturalistic «erlebte Rede» that at times approaches the autonomy of a solitary stream of consciousness, could never have achieved a merger of self and scene into full temporal experience. She is not free to do so. Her self-awareness is determined and enclosed, and her inner time is an anguished succession of unrelated instants, frustrated whims, and fleeting images. As incited as Fortunata, she is nevertheless imprisoned and so cut off. In the above passage, on the other hand, «erlebte Rede» (in French «dialogue indirecte libre», meaning the invasion of narrative by the character's private language and preoccupied point of view) gives way to a description of experience as it was and is, complete unto itself.
Let me try to explain in different terms: unlike the insomniac, Isidora, whose consciousness is invaded by the ticking of the clock and the striking of the hours, Fortunata is not subject to the succession of instants, to the relentless movement forward of the homogeneous time that is out there. Instead of submission to a stream of consciousness, a duration of consciousness takes over, joins the morning, and author and character, rather than impinging on each other, merge in the words of description. And so may we, if we know how to accept the priceless gift we have been given. The melting of the snow in the Plaza Mayor is like nothing so much as the thunderstorm over Jackson's Island: the sheer immediate truth of conscious life. By way of necessary qualification I should add that, of course, there are examples of Fortunata's «erlebte Rede» invading the narrative -but, contrasted to those of Isidora, they are decelerated by a «tiempo interior» which, according to Ricardo Gullón, is «excepcionalmente lento».37 Also Galdós' failure, noted by Montesinos, to give Fortunata a way of speaking that is markedly personal (probably for the same reason he fails to describe her) may be a factor in his deemphasis of this technique.
At this point, let us leave Fortunata's consciousness, as such, in predefined temporal and spatial isolation, and instead try to see (in the words of Luis Vives) «how it works» in relation to what it is not: the consciousnesses of others and the unconsciousness which lies beneath it. To begin at the beginning, I think it is her incomparable vitality, openness, and purity of consciousness, the absolute lack of distortion of her mental mirror or «tabula rasa», that makes her so attractive to the other inhabitants of the novel. A Juanito Santa Cruz, who loved Fortunata least of all, might have been temporarily enchanted with the beauty Galdós hides from us and with what he considers to be the captivatingly primitive vitality of her actions and reactions. But the others, Maxi, Feijoo, doña Lupe, think of her as conscious raw material, the sheer potentiality of freshly quarried stone from «la cantera del pueblo», which each proposes to shape in his own image. However, both interpretations, both the primitive Fortunata and the potential Fortunata, are inadequate. They correspond to the warped vision of interpreters who cannot bring themselves to admit her possession of qualities which they themselves lack: truth and freedom. Which is to say simply, the ability her consciousness shares with those of Stendhal's infinitely more sophisticated heroes: the ability to look, to see what is there, and to react spontaneously. The others may think they want to shape, educate, and assist Fortunata, but we come to sense an underlying desire to destroy her. Angels in their midst are at once irresistible and intolerable.—63→
Luckily Fortunata is impossible to educate. But not because she is as unintelligent as Montesinos makes her out to be. Rather it is because of strong inner directedness, her built -in «incitación», which keeps her from paying attention to things that don't matter to her. Her consciousness is not the passive marble which the others imagine it to be; it is made of metaphorical steel and its powerful magnetic properties are beyond their comprehension. That is to say, in addition to being an inner space and an open duration, in relation to others it generates uncontrollable forces of «simpatía» and «antipatía». Primary among these are the love for Juanito, the repugnance felt for Maxi, and the powerful ambivalence of feeling for Jacinta. But even more interesting is the apparently inexplicable attraction to Mauricia la Dura which -as we saw earlier- is just as inexplicably transferred to Guillermina.
What are we to make of these determining forces at the very center of freedom? The most illuminating answer is to be found in the literary tradition behind Galdós. Centuries before, another great artist of consciousness called Fernando de Rojas had meditated creatively on the inner magnetism which impelled his speakers into an unrelenting search for each other's company. «Amistad», «solaz», «deleyte», and most prized and intimate of all, «gozo», are the only antidotes to the solitude of the human condition, the isolation of one consciousness from another. In so creating, Rojas went on to discover something else upon which Galdós was to elaborate on to a far greater extent. He discovered that Sempronie who despised Calisto had nonetheless taken into himself the latter's image: «Aquí está -he says to his beloved Elicia- quien me causó algún tiempo andar hecho otro Calisto dando alboradas, saltando paredes..., etcétera». This is true to such an extent that Sempronio is even infected by his master's passion for Melibea. As Celestina shrewdly observes: «Calla bobo! Altérasete la complexión. Yo lo veo en ti que querrías más estar al sabor que al olor de este negocio». Rojas was thus the first to comprehend the phenomenon of consciousness that today is called «projection» by followers of Freud.
After Rojas, Cervantes, both in the literary emulation of Amadis by Don Quijote and in the human «Quijotismo» of Sancho, continued the tradition and presented Galdós with a fully developed novel of consciousness in this as in other aspects. And Galdós, just as much -or as little- a precursor of 20th century psychology as either of his two predecessors, centers his study of Fortunata on her «projection» of all three women, Mauricia, Guillermina, and, most important of all, Jacinta. From the moment of their first encounter in the Micaelas (as Galdós remarks, «se le quedó aquella simpática imagen vivamente estampada en la memoria») until Fortunata's last comprehensible words («yo también mona del cielo») Jacinta exists within her as a part of her consciousness in a fashion which transcends our usual notions of jealousy and imitation. As for Guillermina, Galdós is even more explicit: «Sentíala dentro como si la hubiera tragado, cual si la hubiera tomado en comunión». This is the only form of determinism which really interests Galdós. Instead of being a gross impingement on consciousness by society, history, or heredity, it is an operation from within.
Having dared to mention Galdós' contemporary, Freud, I realize that I cannot bring these fragmentary remarks to their conclusion without referring briefly to the recurrent encounter of Fortunata's consciousness (and Jacinta's too for that matter) with that other region of the self which looms so large today: the unconsciousness. In this his technique resembles that of his treatment of spoken language. Galdós was a —64→ master creator of a universe of speech, precisely because he knew how to keep his readers aware of the frontiers of that universe: silence, noise, defective foreign, infantile, and ignorant pronunciations, passion with its cries and growls, drunkenness with its mumbling. And so too in the same way, as has often been noticed, he keeps us aware of his programmatic attention to consciousness by probing in dreams and moments of symbolic recognition what is going on beneath the surface -on the other side of the frontier.
Many of these may seem elementary to the latter-day amateur psychoanalysts which Freud has made of us all, but for that very reason we may admire all the more Galdós' extraordinary prescience in exploring what was at that time -at least in Spain- a virtually intact nether kingdom. The first example I have noted occurs during the honeymoon when Jacinta is suddenly and inexplicably reminded of her rival by a fish monger: «Fue cosa repentina, provocada por no sé qué, por esas misteriosas iniciativas de la memoria que no sabemos de donde salen. Se acuerda uno de las cosas contra toda lógica, y a veces el encadenamiento de las ideas es una extravagancia y una ridiculez. ¿Quién creería que Jacinta se acordó de Fortunata al oír pregonar las bocas de la Isla?» Then, skipping perforce Jacinta's dream of motherhood after being put to sleep by Wagner, we find a similar instantaneous revelation of the unconsciousness of Fortunata. She and Maxi are seated contentedly at the dining table of their first apartment when suddenly her mood changes: «De estos cambiazos había sentido ella muchos; pero ninguno como el de aquel momento, el momento en que metió la cuchara dentro del arroz para servir a su futuro esposo. No sabría ella decir cómo fue ni cómo vino aquel sentimiento a su alma ocupándola toda; no supo más sino que le miró y sintió una antipatía tan horrible hacia el pobre muchacho, que hubo de violentarse para disimularla».38
In contrast to novels of our own times dealing with the same problems, Fortunata y Jacinta is chastely reticent about what is really going on. Even by the standards of the 1880's Galdós is surprisingly reserved. I do not refer now to his failure to depict or even to refer indirectly to sexual intercourse (which would have been out of the question) but rather to the absence of the sensual recollections and libidinal longings which fill the pages of La Regenta. In a sense, I think, this self-imposed restraint operates in the same way alexandrine rhythm does on the passion of Racinian characters. It augments -particularly when accompanied and accentuated by such unexplained and apparently inexplicable references as the one just read- the force of the drives with which these consciousnesses must cope.
The maximum example of juxtaposition of underlying erotic compulsion to conscious decision is the dream which results in «la pícara idea». As is typical of climactic moments in the biographies of Galdosian protagonists, the stuff of the dream is a walk through the streets of Madrid. But unlike the representational and implicitly allegorical «paseos» of Isidora at the end of part I of La desheredada or of Clara in La Fontana, its symbols are wholly oniric and would have delighted Freud. All of you will remember the «tubos» («llaves de bronce, grifos, y multitud de cosas para llevar y traer agua») which come back to her mind when she once again rejoins Juanito: «Soñé que te vi... la tienda de tubos, muchos tubos». In addition, there is a street vendor who sells «los lápices más fuertes del mundo (como que da con ellos tremendos picotazos en la madera (sin que se les rompa el puto)» and the sensation she shares with Saint Teresa that she is transfixed by a dart. Even the «id» itself -probably —65→ this is farfetched- appears as an «enano, un monstruo vestido con balandrán rojo y turbante, alimaña de transición que se ha quedado a la mitad del camino darwinista por donde los orangutanes vinieron a ser hombres».39
This ambulatory dream is placed in structural counterpoint to the daylight but still dream-like descent of Jacinta in Part I into the social Hell of the fourth estate. Fortunata's Hell, on the other hand, is that of the unconscious, a Hell which she, like all the rest of us, as we now know, carries within herself. If Jacinta encounters a lie, the false «Pituso», Fortunata encounters again the underlying truth of her own passion and emerges with a consciousness at once purged and enlarged. She is now capable of founding her new institution, «la pícara idea».
It is natural to wonder to what extent Galdós, himself, was aware of the sexual significance of these symbols. My own answer, based on his use of emphasis and repetition, would be that he knew exactly what he was about. Unlike Montalvo when he described the green sword of Amadis and the flowery hoop of Oriana, Galdós is ostensibly concerned with the workings of the unconsciousness. At the same time, however, given the lack of an evident literary tradition, we can only assume that these dreams and recognitions were copied. As we know, Galdós had at his disposal an immense amount of observed human raw material -so that it is probable that the above dream is a revision of a real one that had been told to him, perhaps by the mysterious model for Fortunata to whom Berkowitz alludes.40 Fortunata's consciousness is a great artistic creation, but her unconsciousness must have been taken from life. Otherwise we should have to claim not just that he was a precursor of Freud but that he invented independently major portions of contemporary psychoanalytical theory.
In hasty conclusion let us now return to the earlier comparison of Fortunata with Isidora Rufete. The latter -we suggested- is a precursor of the former, just as her seducer, Joaquinito Pez, is a precursor of Juanito Santa Cruz. Nevertheless, in spite of their parallel Naturalistic lives, they are antithetical to each other. Isidora's consciousness is chronically ill, a consciousness that could only have been cured if it had been caught early enough by those «verdaderos médicos» called «maestros de escuela». In Fortunata's case, however, Galdós set out to explore a completely healthy consciousness, impervious to education, immune to society, without ambition, resistant to history -a consciousness which, in spite of passionate excess and gross errors of judgement, grows, flourishes, exercises freedom, creates values, and radiates truth. Placed against it in well calculated counterpoint is another consciousness, that of Maximiliano Rubin, condemned to the isolation first of clinical insanity and afterwards to the affirmation of self-sufficient reason which is the greatest sickness of all. It is licit to interpret this latter-day «loco-cuerdo» as Galdós' final attack on Quijotismo -before going over to the other side- as Casalduero, has shown us. But we should not for that reason force Fortunata into the role of a triumphant Sancho. She is anything but a figure of good sense, humor, or practicality. She too is a creature of unreason, mission, and incitation, but, unlike her husband, she has been blessed and saved with a consciousness which integrates truth with life, vitality with significance.