Most critics would rank Benito Perez Galdos second only to Cervantes among the great novelists of Spain. However, in spite of the esteem in which he is generally held, Galdos has been the subject of relatively few scholarly studies. Professor Pattison, by an analysis of two of Galdos’ novels, attempts to reconstruct the creative processes that were involved in the writing of these novels. This is the first time that such a critical approach has been used in the field of Spanish fiction and the resulting study is significant not only to Spanish scholars but to all students of literature seeking further insights into the fascinating and still elusive creative process. Professor Pattison analyzes the novels Gloria, published in 1877, and Marianela, which was published the following year. Both are stories of contemporary life, the former having as its theme the conflict between noble religion and the fanaticism of individual religious sects, and the latter presenting a story of tragic love interwoven with the social problem of the responsibilities of the rich toward the poor. In tracking down the sources of ideas, characters, plots, and viewpoints that emerge in these novels, Professor Pattison worked first-hand in Galdos’ personal library in Madrid. From the notes and markings in the books and from other intimate observations, the scholar-detective put his finger on many of the original sources that contributed to Galdos’ artistic creations and identified the prototypes for fictional characters among persons Galdos knew.
Subjects: Language & Literature
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