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The Novel Histories of Galdos

The Novel Histories of Galdos

Diane Faye Urey
Copyright Date: 1989
Pages: 277
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  • Book Info
    The Novel Histories of Galdos
    Book Description:

    Benito Prez Galdos (1843-1920) occupies a position in Spanish literature surpassed only by Cervantes, and, like him, made a major contribution to the European novel that is now becoming widely recognized. In a semiological approach to the second period of Episodios Nacionales, Diane Urey demonstrates the relevance of these twenty-six novels, the least studied of Galdos's works, to fundamental issues such as the relationship between history and fiction, and between mimesis and creation. Her findings of ambiguity, irony, and allegory in this writer's highly self-conscious historical novels will revise our views of Galds's place in European letters while offering new insights into a general theory of historical fiction.

    Diane Urey offers an alternative to referential or ideological interpretations of the Episodios by stressing the indeterminate textuality of historical incidents and the fictionality of historical discourse. Drawing on Derrida, De Man, Foucault, and Hayden White, she applies a wide range of narrative theory to these texts and concludes that novel and history are interchangeable modes of discourse because they rely necessarily on the same narrative strategies.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6000-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    Novelists and historians alike inevitably confront fundamental problems when they endeavor to describe real life in words. These problems have occupied writers since Aristotle, but our sensitivity to them has become especially acute in modern times because objectivity and realism have been, for at least a century and a half, normative modes of historical and literary writing. Contemporary attempts to supersede literary realism symbolically or surrealistically and plans to define more precisely the objective or subjective methods of historical inquiry are all symptoms of the pervasive concern with the exact relationship between reality and the language that describes it.


  5. ONE The Search for Meaning in the Third Series
    (pp. 16-100)

    Historical truth, romantic idealism, the journey—these are some of the diverse concerns of the third series of Galdós’sEpisodios nacionales.Written between 1898 and 1900, these ten historical novels examine the literary, social, economic, and political transformations in Spain from 1834 to 1846. These years see the zenith of romanticism, the first Carlist war over the heir to the throne (Fernando VII’s infant daughter Isabel or his reactionary brother don Carlos), the regencies of Maria Cristina and Espartero, and the beginning of Isabel II’s reign. TheEpisodios’treatment of these times and events can be viewed as a temporal...

  6. TWO Women and Writing in the Fourth Series
    (pp. 101-146)

    Almost every critic who has written about the fourth series of Galdós’sEpisodios nacionalesnotes the differences in novelistic procedure that appear to set it apart from the preceding series. The fourth series, written between 1902 and 1907, seems to lack the cohesive artistic unity of plot development that characterizes, for the most part, the first three series. These ten novels display a marked decrease in the number of historical references, and a distinct change of tone.¹ Most notably, the series lacks a protagonist whose activities serve as the focus of the plot extended through most of the novels, in...

  7. THREE Strategies of Reading in the Fifth Series
    (pp. 147-227)

    The fifth and last series ofEpisodios nacionales, addressing the period of 1869 to 1882, has always presented problems to readers of Galdós. This is partly because most scholars consider the series to be unfinished; there are only six volumes instead of the usual ten. Also, many critics see a rather dramatic change in tone from the first four series, since these lastEpisodiosare more fantastic than the generally realistic modes of the earlier volumes. There are formal distinctions within the fifth series as well: the last four volumes,Amadeo I, La primera República, De Cartago a Sagunto, and...

  8. Conclusion
    (pp. 228-236)

    Benito Pérez Galdós was an astute reader of his own literary signs. His novels demonstrate this repeatedly as each one seems to reread and reinterpret the ones written before. Montesinos observed in 1968 that “Galdós va aprendiendo de su misma experiencia . . . y, por ello entre sus fuentes hay que contar sus propias obras” (86). According to Gilman, this is “the most important critical statement that has been made about the art of Galdós” (Art,34). Not only did Galdós learn to write from Cervantes and other Spanish Golden Age authors, the romantics, and numerous European novelists, but...

  9. Notes
    (pp. 237-254)
  10. Bibliography
    (pp. 255-260)
  11. Index
    (pp. 261-267)