Preferred Citation: Jagoe, Catherine. Ambiguous Angels: Gender in the Novels of Galdós. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1994 1994.


Ambiguous Angels

Gender in the Novels of Galdós

Catherine Jagoe

Berkeley · Los Angeles · Oxford
© 1994 The Regents of the University of California

For June and Robin

Preferred Citation: Jagoe, Catherine. Ambiguous Angels: Gender in the Novels of Galdós. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1994 1994.

For June and Robin



I would like to thank the many people whose intellectual contributions and practical assistance helped me to research and write this book. A number of scholars generously shared their work in progress, critiqued sections and drafts of the manuscript, sent hard-to-locate offprints or texts, and, most important of all, provided support and inspiration over the years. I wish to thank in particular, for their comments and enthusiasm at various points along the way, Alison Sinclair (who supervised the genesis of this work as a doctoral dissertation at Cambridge University), Alda Blanco, Jo Labanyi, Chad Wright, Becca Karoff, Maryellen Bieder, Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Bridget Aldaraca, Beth Bauer, Librada Hernández, Catherine Jaffe, Stephanie Sieburth, Susan Kirkpatrick, Janice Jaffe, and Ellen Sapega.

I also wish to express my gratitude to the institutions that provided travel grants which enabled me to carry out research in Spain at the Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós, the Biblioteca Nacional, the Hemeroteca Municipal, and other Madrid archives. Northern Illinois University Graduate School provided me with summer research and travel support for 1989, and the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Philosophical Society funded a further trip to gather more material in Spain in 1992.

Parts of the manuscript have already appeared in substantially similar form as articles. "The Bird-Angel in Gloria " originally appeared in Crítica Hispánica 13, no. 1 (1991) as "Gloria : A Re-Vision"; "León Roch's Wife" in Romance Quarterly 39, no. 1 (1992) as "Krausism and the Pygmalion Motif in Galdós's La familia de León Roch "; and "The Angel in Mind: Rereading Fortunata y Jacinta " in Anales Galdosianos 24 (1989) as "The Subversive Angel in Fortunata y Jacinta ."

I would like to thank Ned Sibert most of all for his incurable optimism, one of whose many sustaining forms was an unflagging faith that this book would indeed see the light of day.



As a feminist cultural critic writing in North America about a Spanish author, Benito Pérez Galdós, I find myself in an ironic double bind: I am offering a rereading of a body of novels whose reputation does not extend to the English-speaking world. Galdós's works, as well as the century-long tradition of critical interpretations of them, are still largely unknown outside Hispanic culture, despite the existence of a growing number of translations.[1] For some readers of this book, then, a few introductory words about this author may be in order. Benito Pérez Galdós (1843–1920) occupies a leading role in the Spanish literary canon. Between 1867 and his death he produced a prodigious total of seventy-eight novels, in addition to twenty-four plays and a considerable corpus of articles, short stories, and essays. Galdós occupies a place second only to Cervantes in histories of the Spanish novel, which generally cite him as the main proponent of realism in the nineteenth century, one who rivalled or even surpassed his early models, Dickens and Balzac. What these studies usually fail to add is that Galdosian realism is highly complex and ironic, shot through with self-reflexive challenges to the notion of the novel as mirror of society. Galdós experimented with many different genres and produced numerous historical, naturalistic, and dialogic narratives. I have chosen to confine my observations to the most widely studied section of his work, the thirty-two novels that span the period from 1870 to 1915 and are known as the novelas de la primera época (early novels) and the novelas contemporáneas (contemporary novels), in which Galdós set out to provide a broad canvas of life in Spain at the end of the nineteenth century.[2]

The lack of world recognition afforded Galdós rests on a number of factors, including Spain's marginalized position in Europe, the freakishly selective nature of the canonization process, and Galdós's politics. Critical studies of the European novel have tended to focus on a handful of English, French, Russian, and German authors;


Spain, it seems, is only lately coming to be accepted as part of Europe. Until recently, Galdós's work was rarely mentioned by comparatists, with some notable exceptions, such as C. P. Snow.[3] Galdós's left-wing leanings contributed to his being "denied national and international honours that should naturally have fallen to him," for his fiercely anticlerical stance earned him the implacable opposition of the Catholic establishment in Spain.[4] In 1912, for example, conservative lobbyists in the Spanish Royal Academy defeated his nomination for the Nobel prize, and under the Franco régime the majority of his works were relegated to obscurity because of their author's reputation as a "liberal crusader." Although there has been a recent boom in Galdós studies, Galdós scholars continue to labour under disabilities not encountered by other students of canonical nineteenth-century authors. When this introduction was being written, there was still no good edition of Galdós's complete works, no comprehensive annotated edition of his correspondence, and no definitive scholarly biography of his life.

The importance of women in Galdós's novels, as in his life, has become something of a truism. He has acquired a reputation as the creator of more "strong women" characters than perhaps any other author in Peninsular fiction. The feminocentric nature of his contemporary series in particular has long been recognized; Galdós named a large proportion of these novels after women and located the exploration of the relation between subjectivity and society that is so characteristic of his work primarily in feminine rather than in masculine experience. As Susan Kirkpatrick comments, it is "Galdós's female protagonists who embody for him the most poignant contradictions of consciousness and the world."[5] Galdós's novels are undoubtedly important and intriguing material for feminist critics, but they are also much more complex and problematic than has been commonly assumed. Feminist readings of Galdós can no longer continue to be slotted into anthologies and conference panels as the token approach on "images of women" in a still rather conservative area of Hispanism, but are ineluctably redefining the field of enquiry in various ways. The kind of reading undertaken here has far-reaching implications for the way we perceive and write about Galdós's themes, subjects, and characters; the way we envisage the overall shape and stages of his work; the conception of the role of the author in relation to his textual


productions; and the articulation of the relation of his work to "history" and to class issues that have traditionally ruled our critical approaches in Galdós studies.

Since feminist scholarship is such a heterogeneous and rapidly evolving field, I would like to begin by outlining the kind of feminist criticism practised here and discussing some of the terms that will be central to this book, such as gender and ideology . Modern feminist criticism long ago outgrew the process of celebrating strong women characters or decrying the lack of them with which others sometimes reductively equated it. It is part of a broad-based interdisciplinary movement that posits gender as a fundamental category of organization and analysis. The notion of gender itself as a problematic category is one of the major advances in feminist theory.[6] In recent Anglo-American feminist discourse it stands for the "social, cultural, and psychological meanings imposed on biological sexual identity," meanings that have historically been construed to serve the political ends of patriarchy by distributing power asymmetrically.[7] The multiple branches of feminism(s) have very different and in some cases mutually exclusive understandings of how gender is constructed, and therefore of how to transform its operations. Feminist theorists of a primarily poststructuralist and metaphysical orientation tend to ascribe gender to linguistic and psychic determinants. They consider that the crucial arenas of resistance to patriarchy are language and subjectivity: "to deconstruct language is to deconstruct gender."[8] Materialist critics, in contrast—and here I include my own work—see gender as one component in a web of historical processes and social practices where categories such as class, race, sexuality, and nationality all intersect and interact. This form of feminist critique focuses on "the ways that gender ideology is inscribed, represented, and reproduced in a variety of cultural practices, including literature, the mass media, film, and popular culture."[9] This book participates in the project by deciphering some of those ideological inscriptions in Galdós's representations of Restoration society. The readings offered here situate Galdós's novelistic narratives within the context of the multiple narratives of sexual difference seen in the burgeoning print culture of his day, a juxtaposition which highlights his novels' ambiguous and ambivalent relation to bourgeois ideology, and in particular to bourgeois notions of woman, epitomized in the figure of the angel in the house.


I do not mean to suggest that deciphering the operations of ideology in Galdós's novels—or those of any other writer—is a straightforward process. As Fredric Jameson observes, the term "ideology" designates "a problem yet to be solved";[10] the relation between texts, ideology, and social consciousness has still to be satisfactorily articulated. Recent Marxist and poststructuralist work on ideology indicates that, contrary to our commonsense intuition, texts do not unproblematically express or reflect a set of ideas preexisting in the mind of the author or "out there" in society. As practices of representation, they play a vital part in reproducing and shaping ideologies and thus of constructing people as subjects; they function to "transform and mediate the world through the specific codes [they use] and the institutions of which [they are] a part."[11] Ideology , as I shall be using the term, signifies neither false consciousness nor propaganda; it is meant in the Althusserian sense of systems of ideas and representations informing social consciousness, by which and in which we all live. In this book, the cultural role of ideology in (re)producing social institutions and formations is seen as central; at the same time, it is understood as working to cover its own tracks, to present certain conditions as "natural" and "obvious." Ideology must, of necessity, be invisible if it is to perform its function of perpetuating certain power relations in society. Commonsense consensus notions, for example, that people are free, individual subjects, or that women are naturally emotional and nurturing are, from this perspective, instances of ideology at work. Discourses—that is, the multiple ways of speaking and writing a language and of producing meanings in it—are structured by ideology. Any given discourse will inevitably produce certain objects and problems as visible while excluding others from its field of vision. Exploring such lacunae, "the absences, the questions not asked, and the answers not heard in [given] theoretical discourses" is of crucial importance to feminist scholars, who are striving precisely to make gender visible.[12] The lacunae that prompted the writing of this book concern what Jane Tompkins would call the "cultural work" that Galdós's contemporary novels perform.[13]

A central principle of feminist criticism is that no writing is or can be purely objective or apolitical. This principle applies, of course, not only to the texts which we as critics study but also to our own work. Feminist critics are sometimes accused of subjectively imposing their


politics on literary texts; yet, if feminism calls anything into question, as Annette Kolodny puts it, "it must be that dog-eared myth of intellectual neutrality."[14] Feminist criticism has enriched literary scholarship's ability to be self-critical and made it increasingly necessary for responsible scholars to analyze the multiple political agendas that may be concealed in their interpretations, by highlighting the ways in which literary critical discourse has often wittingly or unwittingly functioned to reproduce patriarchal assumptions. Consider, for example, the following extract from an article by a renowned Galdós scholar, Stephen Gilman:

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 . . . [the novel has] depths of intimacy in store for us. . . . In spite of our intimacy with her, we—like many of those who live with her in Galdos'[Galdós'] pages—remain in awe of her mystery. . . . We enter her mind directly; we know all; and the more we reside there, the more marvellous the experience becomes.[15]

The androcentricity of this writing is striking—not only in its appeal to a community of readers who are by implication male ("our wives," "to tell him, as he could tell us"), but more profoundly in figuring the act of reading Galdós's masterpiece novel as a phallic penetration of the text and the mind of the heroine. Although such was probably far from Gilman's intent, the female student or scholar reading this canonical critical text senses that her relation to the novel under discussion is not and cannot be quite the same as that of Gilman's ideal reader. In order to form part of Gilman's imagined community of "impassioned readers of Fortunata y Jacinta ," she must read as if she were a man. Feminist reader-response criticism has begun to develop strategies for contesting what Judith Fetterley terms the "immasculation" of the female reader. Fetterley argues that feminist critics need to be "resisting" rather than assenting readers if we are to avoid absorbing the values in texts, both literary and critical.[16] Adrienne Rich describes the performance of such revisionary rereadings, in a much-quoted statement, as the


"act of looking back, of seeing anew, of entering an old text from a new critical direction."[17]

Perhaps because of the pervasive androcentricity of much Hispanic literary criticism, and its tendency to hagiography, feminist studies of Galdós—in contrast to, say, the many feminist critiques of Dickens or James—have been slow to appear. Some recent studies equate the undeniable centrality of women in Galdós's novels with an undefined "feminism" on the part of Galdós himself, thus making the putative intention of the author the privileged factor in determining how a work should be read.[18] They also share the widely held premise that Galdós's work evolved ideologically according to a linear trajectory, from less to more feminist. Even if one discounts the fact that the appeal to authorial intentionality has been attacked by literary theorists, both New Critics and postmodernists, since the 1940s, this view is, even in a purely textual sense, an oversimplification. Like those of other male realist writers of the nineteenth century, Galdós's texts depend on what Naomi Schor terms the binding of female energy.[19] His novels may explore female sexuality, desires for independence, strength, mobility, and creative urges, but the female protagonists' story still frequently ends with closure in the form of marriage or death (or, in some cases, insanity). Even though Galdós's texts use women as the focus for a liberal humanist anxiety about the power of cultural control, they nevertheless ironically exercise a form of patriarchal narrative control over those same female characters. Although I am not primarily interested in the question of Galdós's personal view of the polemic on women's roles, nevertheless I do not treat his writing as a disembodied écriture . I approach his work as a corpus that was produced by a man and on which the pressures of changing social attitudes and historical developments did leave their mark. As will become evident, the issue for me is how the texts mean despite and not because of authorial intention. Galdós did not have total control over his writing, or our reading of his writing, which is not to say that he had no control whatsoever.

"The nineteenth century," writes Lou Charnon-Deutsch in her illuminating study Gender and Representation: Women in Spanish Realist Fiction , "is one of the favored test periods feminism uses to confront patriarchal values because the ideologies of gender are so heavily inscribed in its discourses."[20] It is a vital and fascinating period for feminism because many of the debates about gender, power, and the


family which engross us now were at the forefront of social attention a century ago, albeit in some crucially different ways. The years of Galdós's major novelistic production, 1870 to 1900, also span a tumultuous time in Spanish history. According to the traditional histories of the period, women as a group had no significant part to play in the major events of the period—the liberal revolution of 1868, the ill-fated First Republic of 1873–1874, the Restoration of 1875, and its attendant disillusionment as a bourgeois oligarchy made a mockery of the electoral process, the growing workers' and anarchists' movements of the 1890s, and the Cuban separatist war. This view is currently being amended by feminist scholars, who are recuperating women's role in nineteenth-century history. One crucial link concerns the relation of textuality to cultural and political history. The vast proliferation of representations of gender relations in a wide array of written discourses that took place in the late nineteenth century has become a major area of study. We now recognize that the nature and role of women had become a crucial arena of ideological struggle and contention in nineteenth-century Spanish society, and that these issues cannot be relegated to "women's history" but must lead us to revise our notions of the development of culture and the novel too.

Nancy Armstrong, contesting Ian Watt's theory of the rise of the novel, argues that it was primarily via the written word that gender roles were transformed after the Enlightenment. By the time Galdós wrote his first novels, what Jameson calls the "cultural revolution"—halting and uncertain though it was in Spain—was well under way. The middle classes had succeeded in discrediting the aristocratic paradigm of personal conduct and replacing it with a middle-class ideal that was both the vehicle and then, later, the emblem of bourgeois hegemony in Spain. The ancient model of gender difference was revised in part through the agency of a barrage of literature on conduct that produced "a theory that could not even be recognized as such because its power derived from sheer repetition."[21] In this literature, woman was no longer constructed as an inferior homologue of man but as man's complementary antithesis, his binary opposite. At the same time, the home was separated from material production and redefined as a refuge from the competitive workplace of the capitalist world. This idealized vision of home was enormously influential in generating a new construction of


femininity. Since midcentury, an ideal of womanhood which constitutes one of the central hallmarks of nineteenth-century western culture had risen to unquestionable prominence in Spain. The middle-class woman was revered as the sacramental figure of the ángel del hogar (or, as she was known in English-speaking countries, the "angel in the house"). This sentimentalized image of woman as hija, esposa, y madre (daughter, wife, and mother) became a veritable cult. For the first time in western history, woman as a sex was constructed as morally superior to man. The price, however, was the renunciation of female desire. This new construction of womanhood served to create middle-class solidarity in the troubled political atmosphere of the second half of the nineteenth century.

With the notable exception of the pioneering work of Alicia Andreu and Bridget Aldaraca, there are remarkably few studies of this aspect of nineteenth-century Spanish culture, even though there is every indication that it was equally crucial to our understanding of the period as it was to Victorian England, France, and North America, where it has been extensively studied.[22] The multitude of texts that produced the angel in the house in the psychic life of the nation over the course of the century have crucial repercussions for the study of the realist novel. According to Nancy Armstrong, the novel served to establish bourgeois cultural hegemony, for by focusing on "a struggle to say what made women desirable," novels functioned as part of the drive to create a political unconscious, a state of affairs in which gender, not class, would mark the most important differences among individuals.[23] The representation of women in the realist novel, the plots, themes, and endings, are all inevitably mediated by the dominant theories of gender of the bourgeoisie. One of the premises of this study is that our analysis of the ways Galdós explores issues such as freedom, sexuality, power, and creativity within his female characters must refer to one of the central cultural constructions of the age, the figure of the selfless and domesticated angel. It is striking how often Galdós's works explicitly and repeatedly refer to angels, allusions that are opaque to the modern reader because we inhabit a different set of ideologies of gender. The set of expectations and imperatives that constituted the nineteenth-century feminine ideal provides a vital intertext for Galdós's representation of women, one which we must equip ourselves to read if we are to grasp the ideological implications of his novels in the society for which they were written.


The critical perspective I have brought to bear on Galdós's writing is largely the product of the Anglo-American feminist tradition, which has produced a generation of distinguished literary criticism and scholarship on western European and North American women's history, running from Kate Millett's Sexual Politics in 1970 through the work of Nina Auerbach, Elaine Showalter, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, Catharine Stimpson, Annette Kolodny, Michelle Barrett, Tania Modleski, Cora Kaplan, Teresa de Lauretis, Mary Poovey, Jane Tompkins, and Nancy K. Miller, to name but a few. The discoveries and aims of this body of scholarship inform this book so pervasively that I have not always cited individual authors. The tactics I have used for interpreting the texts under discussion are also indebted, to a lesser extent, to certain facets of modern Marxist work on ideology, particularly that of Pierre Macherey and Catherine Belsey, and to Bakhtin's work on language, particularly his notion of heteroglossia. These have been particularly suggestive for me in indicating a type of critical practice that seeks out "not the unity of the work, but the multiplicity and diversity of its possible meanings, its incompleteness, the omissions which it displays but cannot describe, and above all its contradictions. In its absences, and in the collisions between its divergent meanings, the text implicitly criticizes its own ideology; it contains within itself the critique of its own values."[24] The formalist approach to Galdós tended to promote a notion of the completeness and coherence of the author's works as evidence of his genius. However, what made his texts interesting for me, as I read and reread them, was precisely the contradictions and paradoxes in them. Envisioning ideology, in Toril Moi's formulation, not as a seamless and unified edifice but as a "contradictory construct, marked by gaps, slides and inconsistencies," working precisely to suppress the recognition of its own contradictions, allows us, by struggling to foreground those inconsistencies, "to take an active part in transforming [ideology] by producing new meanings."[25]

This type of approach provides some useful and highly needed tools for describing the often bafflingly contradictory, double-voiced nature of Galdós's texts themselves, which are traversed by ideological struggle. The texts studied here position the reader both inside and outside the dominant ideology of gender and thus can be seen as containing—in both senses—the feminist impulse they simultaneously display. The novels can be said to have a feminist impulse at all not because they have "strong" women characters, as


has been adduced almost ad nauseam, but to the extent that they contribute to the denaturalizing of the culture's feminine ideal. I shall be charting the writer's dialectical relation with the nineteenth century's models of gender, both within individual novels and, on a larger scale, over the course of his career.

Chapter 1 of this book describes how the concept of the angel in the house was constructed in nineteenth-century Spain and also points to the many contradictions inherent in this apparently monolithic discourse, while chapter 2 charts the ideological implications of Galdós's nonfictional writings on women. Chapters 3 to 6 examine the inscription of and resistance to bourgeois ideology in a number of Galdós's novels written at various points between 1870 and 1915. Galdós's work evolved through various phases, which are often seen as fundamentally different from one another. Yet, as I illustrate, there are certain fundamental similarities between such apparently discrete tropes as the suffering woman, the spiritual woman, and the new woman—which became hallmarks of different periods in his writing—and the popular image of woman as guardian angel of the domestic sanctuary.

Given the size of Galdós's oeuvre, an exhaustive survey of gender in his work would occupy many volumes. I have chosen to work within only two of Galdós's six series of novels, reserving examination of Galdós's forty-six historical novels known as the episodios nacionales (national episodes) and his drama for future study. My decision to do in-depth readings of a limited number of what are, for me, key texts among the series selected, rather than touch on a wide number of novels, has inevitably involved a degree of selectivity. Some major works, such as La desheredada, Tormento, La de Bringas and Lo prohibido , receive relatively little attention here, in part because Alicia Andreu and Bridget Aldaraca have already undertaken insightful ideological analyses of their representation of women in ground-breaking books, Galdós y la literatura popular and El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain . Yet certain novels that have traditionally been considered "minor" or "flawed" hold a great deal of interest from my critical perspective and therefore take the foreground here. The time-honoured method by which we have presented Galdós's work to generations of students splits the author's work into four discrete phases: the "thesis novels" of the 1870s, dealing purely with religious and political issues; the mature work, be-


ginning in 1881; the "spiritual" novels of the 1890s, and the allegorical work of the contemporary novels produced in the twentieth century. While I too follow a chronological approach, the act of placing gender at the centre of the focus of enquiry highlights some of the limitations of the traditional method of periodization.

The textual readings of the various novels undertaken here point to the overarching importance of gender to them all, and to a recurring pattern of novels that say one thing and then do another. In many Galdós novels we find an oscillation between the idealizing, utopic vision of bourgeois patriarchy which posits woman as domestic angel, and a feminist vision of woman as caged bird. Typically, in the novels studied here, the dominant discourse changes place half way through; a feminist discourse that contests the ideology of domesticity as mutilating and confining yields the helm of the narrative to a patriarchal discourse that becomes the interpretive key through which we are invited to make sense of the fiction.

In this sense Galdós's narratives, may be seen in Bakhtin's terms as polyphonic, reproducing the conflicting sexual politics of the day. The late nineteenth century, as Nancy Cott reminds us, was, perhaps more than any other except our own, an "era of contention" over the nature of woman.[26] The ideology of domesticity was the dominant discourse but it existed in dialogue and competition with other contestatory discourses, such as those of the Fourierists, the romantic women writers, and those nineteenth-century protofeminists who sought to expand women's domestic mission to include teaching and social work. Even those who explicitly supported the domestic ideal showed themselves at times aware of the problems which it posed, and doubtful about its validity. The middle-class society for which Galdós saw himself as a spokesperson produced the contrasting voices of the progressive social reformer Concepción Arenal and the neo-Catholic Father Claret. Although the notion of woman as household icon was uppermost amongst the competing discourses of gender by the 1870s, its proponents continued to fight a rearguard action against older views as well as field a set of new critiques as the century drew to a close. It is that crucial and peculiarly nineteenth-century tension, and the ways it is inscribed in Galdós's narrative fiction, which constitute the subject of this book.


Woman's Mission As Domestic Angel

La suave y dulce condición de la mujer . . . [es] haber nacido para set el ángel del hogar doméstico.
([It is] the mild and sweet nature of woman . . . to have been born to be the angel of the domestic hearth.)
—María del Pilar Sinués de Marco

Bourgeois Gender Ideology and the Angel Del Hogar

One of the salient characteristics of western print culture in the nineteenth century is what Nancy Miller terms a "collective 'obsessing' about an idea called woman."[1] The Spanish reading public of Galdós's formative and mature writing years was deluged with an enormous quantity of material defining the so-called nature of woman and prescribing her role in society. In 1877, Sofía Tartilán wrote that it was impossible not to be aware of "las inumerables discusiones entabladas y sostenidas acerca de esta importante entidad social llamada mujer" (the innumerable ongoing discussions generated about this important social entity known as woman).[2] The roots of this phenomenon can be traced to the new epistemology forged during the Enlightenment, for eighteenth-century writers' preoccupation with the problems of knowledge, human psychology, and the influence of the environment led to an explosion of interest in the differences between the sexes, with the result that the "position of women in western Europe was analyzed in new terms: it was to be justified by reference to what was natural to their sex, rather than divinely ordained."[3] Around 1850, the competition between discourses of womanhood slackened as the isolated attempts that had been made in post-Enlightenment Spain to extend the revolutionary concepts of liberty, equality, and individual autonomy to women waned with the demise of romanticism. From then until the 1890s, writing about women revolved around the concept of the ángel del hogar


(angel in the house), a set of desiderata that was advertised as the essence of natural womanhood. The ideal of feminine domesticity was exhaustively discussed and prescribed in western Europe and the United States, reaching its height in Spain in the late nineteenth century. Directly or indirectly, it informed a wide variety of different discourses—ladies' journals, feminine conduct manuals, the costumbrista anthologies with their vignettes of local customs, serialized novels, poetry, medical texts, pedagogical treatises, legislation, essays, and public speeches.

A recent line of scholarship argues that the appearance of the angel in the house is no isolated phenomenon but the symptom of a wider process, that of the creation of a new bourgeois ideology of gender roles, which substantially revised earlier definitions of femininity and masculinity. Feminist scholars have argued that this process was not a marginal side effect of political history but one of the definitive projects of nineteenth-century western societies. The debates over woman's nature and function that commanded such public attention and interest in the last century had profound although now long neglected political, social, and literary consequences. As Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar put it, our understanding of the period has been "skewed because critics and scholars, whether consciously or not, have massively repressed the centrality of 'the woman question' in this period."[4]

In Spain, as elsewhere in the west, the woman question was as important as the more widely studied social question and intimately linked to it. The new discourse on woman was remarkably successful in transcending national, religious, economic, and class differences, appearing at slightly different points in the century in Victorian Britain, France, the United States, and Spain. The new mythology lent itself particularly well to transposition. A discourse that claimed to have discovered the essence of the eternal feminine regardless of race, class, and geographic location, it was characterized by nebulous highflown generalizations about woman that rarely acknowledged historical or local circumstances. Two classic midcentury elaborations of the bourgeois feminine ideal appeared within a few years of each other in English and Spanish: Coventry Patmore's narrative poem The Angel in the House (1854–1856), and María del Pilar Sinués de Marco's domestic novel-conduct manual El ángel del hogar (1859). Both works were runaway best-sellers; Pat-


more's had sold a quarter of a million copies by his death in 1896, while Sinués de Marco's work had run to seven reeditions by the early 1890s. Despite the undeniable disparities between the material position of women in British and continental societies in the mid-nineteenth century, the striking fact is that what middle-class writers in Spain had to say about their notion of woman in the abstract is frequently interchangeable with the arguments of authors from England, France, or North America. In this respect at least, the Francoist slogan that Spain is different is not valid. Thus, in discussing this discourse, I follow Michel Foucault and others in using the term Victorian in a broad sense to refer to a bourgeois mode of thought that was international and not specific to England alone.[5] Spain's discursive construction of womanhood is manifestly part of a larger cultural formation: the novelist Pilar Sinués de Marco, the intellectual Fernando de Castro, and the reactionary Father Claret are all participants in an ongoing and much publicized transatlantic discussion of woman, alongside many other notables such as Sarah Stickney Ellis and John Ruskin in Britain, and French historian and social thinker Jules Michelet. Thus it is not as extraordinary as it seems that Galdós had an English-language edition of Ellis's works in his library. The reliance on translations in nineteenth-century Spain ensured that new notions about women published in other western European countries were relayed relatively rapidly to those who could not read foreign languages.

One of the most pervasive changes in nineteenth-century cultural and psychic life occurred in western perceptions of social space, which underwent a division into two distinct, engendered, and sharply differentiated spheres, public and private; attitudes to the workplace and the home evolved to reflect this new dichotomy. Until then, in Mary Nash's summary, home for all but the wealthiest was also the workplace, a site both of reproduction and production, with extensive participation by women in the latter.[6] The redefinition of the categories of public and private in western thought occurred in tandem with the development of bourgeois liberal democracies and led to a corresponding reinterpretation and polarization of gender identities: the ontological and functional differences between the sexes became an international theme of the century. Women were now excluded as a class, for the first time in modern western history, from such categories as "public opinion," "the Spanish," or "citizens."[7] A


new ideology of gender was produced that canonized the woman who accepted her role in the private sphere. The notion of home was discursively constructed as an exclusively female, private, noncommercial space in opposition to an external, male, public world of work for wages.[8] As Bridget Aldaraca points out, the very name of the new feminine ideal, the ángel del hogar , defined her first and foremost "by the space she occupies," since hogar means "hearth" and metonymically, "home."[9] The idea of woman as angel was inseparable from the notion that women's proper place was in the domestic sphere.

This idea may not, at first glance, seem novel in the Spanish context, since Juan Luis Vives's Instrucción de la mujer cristiana of 1524 and Fray Luis de León's Counter-Reformation treatise La perfecta casada (the perfect wife) of 1583 had prescribed feminine domesticity, fidelity, and frugality in forceful terms, and indeed under the Hapsburgs and well into the eighteenth century Spanish women of means were reputed to live in quasi-Oriental seclusion in the patriarchal home.[10] Yet, voiced by nineteenth-century middle-class writers, the prescription of feminine domesticity represented in some crucial aspects a departure, a repackaging of cultural information, because it rested on a new conception: that of fundamental sexual difference. Though women had been exhorted to stay at home and to watch their honour in the Golden Age tradition, the injunctions stemmed from a belief in their lustful nature, as morally weaker vessels. As Aldaraca shows, Fray Luis advocated women's confinement because he feared that they would contaminate men if they moved about freely in society. Women were seen as fundamentally sinful, and likely to dishonour their husbands if not kept under strict supervision. By the nineteenth century, however, men had come to be seen as fallen creatures, while women had become equated with superior morality. A woman was no longer described as a possession but as an equal if different being, while the family, "as an institution, [took] the place of the physical fortress, the house."[11] Woman's new role as presiding spirit of the family, rather than wayward child whose fidelity could only be guaranteed by physical constraints, can be seen in Sofía Tartilán's paradigmatic pronouncement that "la mujer [está] destinada . . . a ser en la sociedad el ángel del hogar doméstico, la guardadora del sagrado fuego del amor conyugal . . . la base segura y fundamental de la fa-


milia" (woman is destined . . . to be in society the angel of the domestic hearth, the guardian of the sacred flame of conjugal love . . . the stable and deep foundation of the family).[12]

As can be seen from the tone of such declarations, so foreign to the acerbic line taken by Fray Luis de León, the new gender ideology allotted women unprecedented spiritual authority in the private sphere. Spanish domestic ideology shared with its English Evangelist cousin a belief in the home as the primary site for religious endeavour. Woman, uncorrupted by any taint with commerce or politics, was eulogized as being closer to the divine than her more carnally inclined male counterpart. The wife's moral superiority was a favourite theme of middle-class writers. According to the politician Antonio Cánovas del Castillo, "alcanza sobre nosotros una superioridad moral inconmensurable . . . ninguno de nuestros varoniles méritos llega, si bien se mira, al de la perfecta mujer" (she achieves an immeasurable moral superiority over us men . . . none of our masculine merits compares, if one thinks about it, to that of the perfect wife).[13] As Aldaraca notes, there is a paradox in the discursive construction of the family, since while it was normally represented as the mirror opposite of the state, the walls of the private sphere were also acknowledged to be porous, and the love selflessly generated by the angel in the home was supposed to permeate the public sphere with beneficent effect.[14] Thus, while women as a class had been specifically excluded from the bourgeois liberal democracy, they were credited with some degree of indirect power over public opinion and the affairs of the state. Pilar Sinués de Marco (1835–1893) expressed the general view when she wrote that "nadie, cual la mujer, puede moralizar la sociedad y hacer brotar en ella semillas de virtud" (no one can improve society and make the seeds of virtue sprout in it as well as a woman).[15] A contemporary of Sinués de Marco, Juan Criado y Domínguez, stated that woman should discreetly seek to improve the world outside her province, by endeavouring "por los múltiples medios indirectos que tiene a su alcance, que, imitando el régimen doméstico, procuren los hombres reflejar en el social a hermosa organización que, basada en el amor y la verdad, la virtud y el desinterés, ven allí de continuo practicada" (by the many indirect means she has at her disposal, to make men imitate the domestic regime and reflect in society the beautiful organization, based on love and truth, virtue and altruism, that they see continually practised there).[16]


The appearance of the new feminine icon is normally attributed to the shift from an agrarian society to an industrialized one, a theory which must be qualified when applied to Spain, where the bulk of the country remained relatively underindustrialized for most of the century, but which nevertheless presents the same textual construction of woman and home as other more developed nations.[17] The midcentury years of rule under the Moderado party saw the tentative beginnings of a modern industrialized society in Spain: the first banks were opened, railroads were built, the Civil Guard—a rural constabulary—was created, the streets of Madrid were lit by gas, and water was piped to the city. Yet full-scale industrialism was clearly not, in the case of Spain, a prerequisite for the spread of domestic ideology, since the nascent bourgeoisie's ideology of gender attained hegemonic status during this same period. The reasons for this apparent historical anomaly are obscure, since there are no studies that examine the minutiae of Spanish bourgeois private life and the effect of the new ideology on real women's behaviour in the Peninsula. Nancy Armstrong and Catherine Hall both argue that the construction of separate, engendered public and private spheres was one of the central factors in the constitution of the middle classes in nineteenth-century England. In Armstrong's view, the bourgeoisie, in order to facilitate and legitimate its own emergence as an entity, needed to efface noble birth as the primary criterion of social worth. This goal was achieved, she argues, by transferring social attention to gender rather than social class as the primary distinguishing feature of a person; in the process, sexual difference was obsessively raised in order to create a political unconscious.[18]

Armstrong's thesis that the engendering of domesticity was in fact central to the creation of the bourgeoisie suggests that the process might have preceded or accompanied industrialization rather than springing from it; it is therefore helpful when we consider why Spain in the 1850s should have embraced domestic ideology so thoroughly, despite not being a full-fledged capitalist society. The country was developed enough to boast a flourishing publishing industry by the 1840s, a decade which saw the rise of ladies' journals and serialized romantic novels, followed by the female-authored domestic novels of the 1850s. These textual media helped ensure that the notion of woman as spiritualized helpmate rather than morally weaker sex became enshrined in the national imagination as synonymous with


woman's true "nature." Some contemporaries equated this notion with a return to Spanish women's traditional virtue, which they supposed had been corrupted by the type of conduct associated with the afrancesados (Francophiles) in the capital city and the scandals of Charles IV's court, and in particular with aristocratic women's lax morals and spendthrift ways. The notion of men and women as radically different was attractive to those who saw aristocratic life as tending towards a dangerous blurring of gender lines, as the fashionable court ladies became more brazen and the petimetres (eighteenth-century dandies) more effete and feminized, absorbed by dress and gossip.[19] The discourse of separate spheres must have held great appeal to certain segments of a nation that still harked back to the traditional segregation of the sexes in upper-class homes in the Peninsula, which had only recently slackened in the latter half of the eighteenth century.[20] Furthermore, as we shall see, the notion of woman as asexual and redemptive struck a powerful resonance with the Catholic cult of the Virgin Mary.

The new gender ideology played a crucial role in Spain's long and troubled cultural revolution, since the allegiance to a notion of true womanhood served to unite very disparate groups of people in opposition to the aristocratic values of the ancien régime. In a period of continual political instability—there were thirty-five pronunciamientos in Spain between 1814 and 1873—during which the bourgeois were often in danger of losing control of the democratic changes they were trying to initiate, writers of the middle classes were moved to embrace the new notions of what Lawrence Stone terms the "companionate marriage" and the loving, close-knit family; they portrayed home as synonymous with an enclave of peace and happiness distinct from the working world.[21] While they strove to present their vision as descriptive, its prescriptive aspect is clear. As the authors of Victorian Women remark, the obsession with surveillance and regulation characterized not only the activities of the state but entered into private life in the proliferation of advice manuals that sought to create perfect mothers and homemakers.[22]

All the emotional and moral values that were widely felt to be lacking in the public male sphere came to be projected onto the private circle of the wife and family. Home, sweet home was idealized as a sanctuary, a womblike enclosure in which no conflict existed. Whatever the realities may have been (historians remain "confused


as to the extent to which such advice was ever taken, ever practicable"),[23] the angel wife-mother, in the new pan-European discourse, was the timeless and universal source of peace, order, morality, and contentment. Whereas marital relations in aristocratic circles in eighteenth-century Spain appear to have been distant and formal—and were moreover falling into disrepute as it became customary for the wives of the well-to-do in Madrid to have a cortejo (male admirer and confidant)[24] who accompanied her everywhere—the middle-class writers of the mid-nineteenth century began to offer their readers a very different, utopic vision of a close, loving bond between wife and husband, which nothing could profane. One of the classic texts of the new gender ideology, Ruskin's essay "Of Queen's Gardens," first published in 1864, argued, furthermore, that only the wife could make home what it should be: "the place of peace; the shelter, not only from all injury, but from all terror, doubt, and division . . . a sacred place, a vestal temple."[25] A Spanish writer took up the refrain, identifying the public working world as a turbulent vortex, into which woman ventured at her peril:

La [mujer] es, por esencia, el ángel del hogar. Y ¡ay! de la Humanidad, y ¡ay! de la mujer, si un día el ángel deja abrasar sus ténues alas en el fuego destructor de la soberbia y abandona el oculto y amoroso albergue donde siempre viviera, para lanzarse locamente en el raudo torbellino de esa vida pública en medio de la cual el hombre tiene que reñir las más violentas y terribles batallas.

(Woman is by nature the angel of the home. And alas for Humanity and alas for woman, if one day the angel should allow her slender wings to be scorched in the consuming flame of pride and abandon the secret and loving refuge she has always inhabited, to hurl herself madly into the impetuous whirlwind of public life, in the midst of which man has to fight the most violent and terrible battles.)[26]

Women's special privilege and function was to create and sustain the psychic space of the home and the emotional closeness that was now being marketed as the sign of the ideal marriage and family. Wives, according to a popular nineteenth-century Spanish marriage manual, performed a vital duty by providing daily doses of love and comfort for their mates, exposed to the pressures of incipient capitalism: "el uno vuelve siempre en medio de los suyos con la frente encorvada por las preocupaciones del día, abrumado por los azares de la vida pública; la otra desempeña el sacerdocio sublime del san-


tuario doméstico y prepara allí al hombre horas de alegría y de consuelo" (he always comes back to his loved ones weighted down with the worries of the day, exhausted by the vicissitudes of public life; she performs her sublime ministry in the domestic sanctuary, where she prepares hours of cheerfulness and consolation for her man).[27]

Feminine domesticity was clearly an ideal which marked off the middle classes both from the aristocracy and from the working classes, although writers presented it as woman's essential nature regardless of class lines. The constant admonitions to lead a demure and secluded existence signalled a preoccupation to differentiate the model woman from the image of the aristocratic lady who, in the eighteenth century, had begun entertaining on a lavish scale in her home and behaving with less public restraint than had traditionally been demanded of her. Carmen Martín Gaite shows in Usos amorosos del dieciocho how upper-class women in the eighteenth century were replacing the traditional concept of recato (feminine modesty) with a more forward manner, known as el despejo . At the same time, wealthy women began to socialize more, giving evening entertainments, tertulias and saraos , in the home, where guests engaged in gossip, gambling, and dancing. The eighteenth-century custom of the cortejo , originally a Platonic relationship, was coming suspiciously close to adultery towards the beginning of the nineteenth century. Around this time also, women began the practice of daily visiting and attending public entertainments such as the theatre and the opera, all of which gave the bourgeoisie an impression of licentious freedom on the part of the great ladies of Spain.[28]

The bourgeois angel was counterpoised not only to the aristocrat but to women of lower social rank, for her exclusion from all productive labour was a way of signifying her family's rise out of the working class, most of whose women were employed in agriculture, industry, or service. This strategy was analyzed by the nineteenth-century sociologist and economist Thorstein Veblen, who argued in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899) that a special semiotic role had recently devolved upon middle-class women. Middle-class men, who were richer than the working classes but who could not afford to stop working themselves, allotted the formerly aristocratic privilege of leisure to their women. Thus, it was thought essential that women confine their activities to the place which had become the antithesis of the public, working world: the home.


Enlightenment revisions of biology were enlisted in the reinterpretation of gender roles. As Thomas Laqueur shows, around the end of the eighteenth century the ancient one-sex model of sexual isomorphism, in which woman is figured as an imperfect homology of man, was challenged.[29] There arose a notion of radical sexual dimorphism that gradually displaced the hierarchical concept of gender, rooted in classical learning, which had prevailed for millennia. In a further important shift, biology became the new epistemic foundation for prescriptive claims about the social order. "Natural" anatomical, physical, and mental differences between the sexes were now stressed by medical textbooks and social theorists as the basis for determining men's and women's respective roles.[30] It was now argued that women's difference from men—their mental and muscular fragility as well as their emotional sensitivity and the primacy of their reproductive system, designed them for the private sphere, domesticity, and childbearing. Female and male were figured as in-commensurably different and complementary. Galdós's contemporaries Juan Valera and Leopoldo Alas both subscribed to the new orthodoxy that woman "radicalmente, no sólo en su forma corpórea, sino en su esencia y en su espíritu, difiere del hombre" (is fundamentally different from man, not only in bodily form but in essence and mind) and that women were therefore unfit for intellectual endeavour, which, like politics, was the province of the masculine.[31]

The notion of separate spheres dovetailed with the separation and gendering of attributes of the human soma and psyche. The anatomical, physiological, and mental differences between the sexes, which scientists were busy cataloguing in ever more detailed ways, were adduced as proof that nature had intended separate functions and activities for men and women. "El hombre es reflexivo, analizador; la mujer, imaginativa. En el primero obra principalmente la. razón, la conciencia, en la segunda, el sentimiento, el afecto. El primero es excepcionalmente apto para la vida pública, para la vida de relación, para el comercio social; la segunda es, por esencia, el ángel del hogar" (Man is contemplative, analytical; woman, imaginative. In the former, reason and conscience are the principal agents; in the latter, feelings and affections. The former is exceptionally fitted for public life, for dealing with people, for social intercourse; the latter is, by nature, the angel of the home).[32] Women's subjectivity, as Kirkpatrick points out, was believed to have great intensity but little range.[33] Physically


fragile and lacking in intellectual stamina, woman was ascribed a corresponding wealth and strength of sentiment. Emotion, manifested principally as self-abnegating love of family and home, was laid down as the angel's raison d'être. One popular novelist's description of woman reduced her simply to this capacity for love: "para ella el hermoso poema de la vida se reduce a estas sencillas palabras: amar y ser amada" (for her the beautiful poem of life comes down to these few simple words: to love and be loved).[34]

Fernando de Castro, a famous Madrid university professor, followed Rousseau's Emile in seeing reproduction as the all-consuming focus of a woman's existence: "Su destino en la vida y su vocación, es ser madre" (Her destiny and vocation in life is to be a mother).[35] While nineteenth-century scientific discourse synecdochically reduced woman to a womb, the proponents of the cult of domesticity reduced her to an emotional being, the source of all the better feelings at large in the human heart and, ultimately, in society. Eulogies to motherhood such as the following, by Emilio Castelar, one-time academic colleague of de Castro's and president of the short-lived First Republic, now seem impossibly saccharine but were clearly deeply serious and meaningful at the time, and indeed almost de rigueur in any commentary on women's place in society:

siempre que una gran idea se eleva en la mente, siempre que resuena en el corazón algún sentimiento generoso, siempre que la compasión por el infortunio, y la caridad, y el amor verdadero nos abrasan el alma, si subimos con el pensamiento á buscar su fuente misteriosa, su origen, encontraremos la eterna luz de la fantasía, la estrella que guía nuestros primeros pasos, el ángel custodio que cubrió con sus alas nuestra cuna, el amor, sí, el amor sublime de una madre.

(whenever a great idea rises in our minds, whenever a generous sentiment resonates in our hearts, whenever compassion for the afflicted, and charity, and true love, burn in our souls, if we set our minds to seek out their mysterious source, we shall find the eternal lamp of fantasy, the star that guides our first steps, the guardian angel who covered our crib with her wings, the love, yes, the sublime love of a mother.)[36]

The increased emphasis on women's maternal instincts did not, however, correspond to a heightened emphasis on female libido. In fact, the radical departure central to the nineteenth century was the type of thinking behind Dr. Acton's celebrated pronouncement in 1857 that "the majority of women . . . are not very much troubled by


sexual feelings of any kind."[37] Laqueur argues that at the end of the eighteenth century, female orgasm—for millennia regarded as normal and necessary for conception—came to be regarded as irrelevant to generation. The resulting notion of essential female passionlessness overturned the ancient western tradition which saw women as at least as highly sexed as men. Whereas in Aristotle the male principle is the spirit and the female the body, reflecting a long association of men with friendship and women with fleshliness, in the discourse of domesticity this canon is reversed. Woman is seen as more spiritual, man more carnal. The analogy between women and angels rested on the belief in the sexlessness, and therefore virtue, perceived as common to both. Purity, defined as lack or control of sexual passion, was the prime quality of the angel of the house. The middle-class angel wife was supposed to love her husband with a mild, unselfish, maternal friendship unsullied by sexual passion; female sexuality was relegated to the lower classes or, if it presented itself in the bourgeoise, pathologized.[38] In the widely read anthology Las mujeres españolas , the politician Cánovas del Castillo admonished the public that true conjugal love was not to be equated with wild passion. A contributor to the Madrid journal La Guirnalda wrote that "la mujer puede, debe amar tiernamente a su marido; pero hay límites de que no debe nunca pasar. Su título de esposa, de madre, su dignidad personal, la necesidad de hacerse respetar no deben nunca abandonarla" (woman can and should love her husband tenderly; but there are limits which she should not overstep. Her condition as wife and mother, her personal dignity, the dictates of respectability should never abandon her).[39] Physicality was effaced from representations of the ideal woman, who was defined by her angelic transcendence of all corporeal desires.

A particular kind of language evolved to describe domesticity, a style of thought and speech characterized by exalted religious rhetoric and euphemism. Women's enclosure, in Fraser Harrison's view, "was ensured by investing it with all the majesty of a divine appointment."[40] The image of the domestic woman was turned into a verbal and visual icon. Home in this discourse became a "temple" or "sanctuary," and woman its guardian angel, vestal virgin, or priestess. "Haz . . . de tu casa," Sinués de Marco told her readers, "un santuario donde no penetren las borrascas de la vida" (Make . . . your home a sanctuary where the storms of life cannot reach).[41] The lady of the


house came to be invested with quasi-sacred significance, and her daily routine was defined not as a duty, as in the Counter-Reformation, but as a sacred honour, in phrases with strong religious overtones, such as "sublime mission," "cult of the family." El sacerdocio de la mujer (woman's ministry) was actually the title of a women's magazine which appeared in 1886. Its aim was the inculcation of new emotional attitudes to women's tripartite role in the family, indicated by the adjectives in its rubric: "ver a la mujer respetuosa hija, digna esposa y cariñosa madre" (to see woman be a respectful daughter, a worthy wife, and a loving mother). Woman's mission was now understood as more than the supervision of the household and bearing of children and maintenance of conjugal fidelity. The many treatises on the subject stressed the psychological and spiritual dimensions of the wife and paid remarkably little attention to practical, material instructions. Her emotional mission is to "endulzar con un cariño fiel e inextinguible la existencia de su compañero" (sweeten with a faithful and inextinguishable love the existence of her mate) and to educate her children's morals and sensibility. As the newly designated purveyors of love in the modern world, women were hyperbolically praised as the apostles of peace, love, and happiness, as can be seen in Blanca de Gassó y Ortiz's paradigmatic article in La Guirnalda in 1878, reprinted in Appendix 2.

The angel was envisaged as a paragon of altruism and abnegation and was always defined in relation to members of the family. In the cliché of the age, reminiscent of the tripartite German formula "Kinder, Kirche, Küche," the Spanish angel was figured as a feminine version of the holy trinity: "santa y dulce trilogía. Madre, esposa e hija, la mujer es siempre nuestro ángel de la guarda" (sweet and holy trilogy. Mother, wife, and daughter, woman is always our guardian angel).[42] The very idea that a woman might wish to live by or for herself was anathema to the bourgeois ideologues. Woman's selfless investment of her desires in the family was supposed to counteract the ruling principle of bourgeois society: self-interest. As Barbara Taylor points out, women became the repositories of the moral conscience of the bourgeoisie, for, "having confined all those virtues inappropriate within the stockmarket or the boardroom to the hearts of their womenfolk, middleclass men were then left free to indulge in all those unfortunate vices necessary for bourgeois enterprise."[43]


Sweet submission was another of the angel's important characteristics: in the Victorian Sarah Ellis's memorable phrase, it was woman's highest duty to "suffer and be still." Passivity was constantly enjoined on women in the conduct literature: "El valor del hombre es activo, el de la mujer pasivo" (Man's valence is active, woman's passive).[44] The related concepts of passivity, patience, and suffering became identified and focused on the feminine ideal, for the angel was constructed as patient in the sense of being both endurer and sufferer: "el hombre trabaja y la mujer padece" (man works and woman suffers).[45] Mrs. Ellis's masochistic fascination with the concept of the ideal woman as passive and suffering is echoed in the numerous works of Sinués de Marco. For this novelist, woman's destiny, whatever her station, was that of martyr: "hija, esposa o madre, su destino y su misión en la tierra es siempre sufrir y resignarse" (daughter, wife, or mother, her destiny and her mission on earth is always to suffer and resign herself).[46]

Part of the puritanical aspect of domestic ideology, which shows its humble social origins, was the emphasis placed on work and frugality. Thrift, understated elegance, and simplicity were constantly prescribed in the conduct manuals, in opposition to the vice of el lujo , the gaudy display of luxury, a bugbear of Spanish writers throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. As the home became less and less the physical fortress it had been for upper-class women in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the stress on developing the necessary inner fortitude to resist the temptation to sin grew correspondingly insistent. A commonplace in the conduct manuals was the theme that virtue lay in constant activity, which was, of course, no recent invention. The angel of the nineteenth century was constantly employed in supervising household tasks, not so much because she had to set an example to the servants, as Aldaraca argues is the case for the perfect wife of the Counter-Reformation,[47] but because she truly loved her role. She rose early, in opposition to the aristocratic habit of sleeping late. She was expected to be clean, frugal, hardworking, cheerful, and contented: "hormiguita de la casa, es limpia como la plata, cantadora como los ruiseñores, madrugadora como el gorrión" (she is a little household ant who shines with cleanliness, sings like a nightingale, and rises with the sparrow).[48] Yet the angel's constant busyness involved management and not labour, since the middle-class household "by definition included at least one servant";[49] the lady of the house was officially employed in regulat-


ing the work of others—servants, nursemaids, cooks—and in sociability rather than in actual work.

The traditional accoutrements of domestic labour, the needle and the distaff, became the emblem of the ángel del hogar . These now symbolized the private, nonprofessional, domestic role that middle-class women were called upon to fulfil. Before her reader indulged in such intellectual luxuries as learning foreign languages, Sinués de Marco said, she should be able to "zurcir y tejer bien un par de medias, y bordar con gracia una flor, y que no deje de saber esto por aprender el inglés y el alemán" (darn and knit a good pair of stockings, and embroider a graceful flower, and not miss learning these things because she is taking English and German lessons).[50] Augusto de Cueto used the spindle image to universalize woman by linking her to the Romans. In the process he disembodied her entirely:

[la mujer de su casa] no resplandece . . . en el cielo ostentoso de la literatura y del arte. Es menos visible y luminosa, pero no menos grande. . . . Es el domi mansit, lanam fecit (guarda la casa, hila la lana) de los romanos. . . . Es sencillamente una mujer, en la significación mas bella que tiene esta palabra. Pura, recogida y serena como la lámpara de su oratorio, toma la vida, humilde y resignada, tal como la Providencia se la presenta.

([the lady of the house] doesn't shine . . . in the ostentatious heavens of literature and art. She is less visible and luminous, but no less great. . . . She is the domi mansit, lanam fecit (she who keeps house and spins wool) of the Romans. . . . She is simply a woman, in the most beautiful meaning of the word. Pure, modest, and serene like the lamp in her oratory, she is humble and resigned and takes life as Providence dictates.)[51]

As the preceding commentary shows, the power for good exercised by the angel was supposed to work in silent, oblique, invisible ways. The angel was passive, obedient, humble, silent, and submissive, never rebellious or strident. The sentimentalized rhetoric of the time frequently compared her to nonhuman essences—typically to light or scent, a sunbeam, a rainbow, or the perfume of a flower. For Leopoldo Martínez Reguera, the angel in the house was synonymous with silence, an invisible presence guiding the world.[52] As is evident in the article by Blanca de Gassó y Ortiz reprinted in the appendix, the angel was supposed to dedicate her life silently to others; the proof of her sanctity was that she never demanded any recognition and indeed preferred to function in obscurity. This idealization of female invisibility was reflected in the custom of the middle-class


woman's adopting her husband's name preceded by the genitive of possession, a practice which became widespread during the first half of the nineteenth century.

The injunction to women to be asexual angels in the house, magically redeeming corrupt society through their purity and abnegation, coincided with the midcentury wave of Catholic evangelism and the increased power granted to the Spanish church by the papal concordat of 1851 and reinforced by the Restoration of 1875. The ideology of separate spheres also drew on and perhaps contributed to a resurgence of the Marian cult, for it enlisted the Virgin Mary in the service of the new gender ideology. As Mary Perry observes, representations of the Virgin had evolved historically to meet social constructions of ideal femininity and had been moving in the direction of purity, innocence, and nonphysicality for some time.[53] In nineteenth-century verbal and visual representations Mary epitomized the chastity, humility, and passivity central to the angel in the house. Catholic women were constantly directed to the Virgin as the supreme example of the ángel del hogar ; Father Antonio Claret, leader of the midcentury Catholic revival and author of several conduct works for women, wrote in 1862 that Mary was the "modelo de buenas mujeres en todos estados de soltera, casada y viuda" (model of good women in all states: single, married, and widowed).[54] The doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, which stipulated Mary's own miraculously sinless birth, was proclaimed dogma by the pope in 1854 after a theological battle that had lasted for centuries. The belief in woman's special role as redeemer of society also enjoyed growing popularity, to the extent that, in 1895, Pope Leo XIII finally brought official dogma into line with devotional belief by announcing Mary Co-Redemptrix of humanity, Jesus' collaborator in the salvation of the human race. The reasons for this promotion were rooted in the feminine virtues peculiar to the period: Mary's obedient acquiescence to divine purpose in the use of her body to carry the male saviour, and her miraculous virginity. During the revolutionary period, a Spanish essayist enumerated the qualities which women should emulate in Mary: "prudencia, pureza, fidelidad, sabiduría, abnegación y piedad" (prudence, purity, fidelity, wisdom, abnegation, and piety).[55]

The rapid rise to dominance of the angelic ideal stemmed in part from its adaptability to a wide range of political agendas, for women


as well as for men. It figured in the writings of radical liberal intellectuals such as Fernando de Castro in the revolutionary period, as well as conservative liberals such as Cánovas del Castillo, the political engineer of the Restoration, and the female novelists of the midcentury generation. It was also attractive to antidemocratic writers, who represented feminine purity and piety as bastions against a rising tide of immorality in the masculine public sphere. The following description, from an anthology of articles published during the revolutionary period, illustrates the way in which the angel woman could be enlisted to serve the interests of the forces of reaction:

En esta epoca de grosero descreimiento son, por desgracia, pocos los jóvenes que se libran del contagio de impiedad con que odiosas libertades han envenenado la enseñanza y las costumbres públicas; pero he aquí que la mujer murciana, piadosamente educada por su madre en los principios santos y eternos de la religión verdadera, detiene en toda esta parte de España los estragos que la enseñanza impía y los libros impíos y los periódicos impíos hacen en la inteligencia frágil de la juventud que frecuenta las universidades ó que se pasa la vida en los casinos. . . . La primera influencia que la mujer murciana ejerce sobre su marido, es la influencia religiosa.

(In this time of gross irreligiosity there are unfortunately few young people free from the infection of impiety with which certain hateful liberties have poisoned the educational system and public mores; but the woman of Murcia, piously brought up by her mother in the sacred and eternal principles of the true religion, holds back in this whole region of Spain the destruction which an atheistic education and atheistic books and an atheistic press have wrought in the fragile intelligence of the youth of today, who go to the universities or spend their lives in the casinos. . . . The primary area of influence that the Murcian woman has over her husband is religious.)[56]

Here we see the ángel del hogar as a remedy against the threat of democratic social change, represented as a godless poisoning of the minds of Spanish youth. As the century drew on, belief in the timeless and preordained differences between individuals of different classes, races, and sexes hardened into dogma, reinforced by science, in response to the gathering restiveness among women, the working classes, and the colonies. Many writers invoked the angel as a counter to the threat of socialism and feminism. Proponents of the ideology of domesticity consciously counterpoised the image of the angel in virtuous opposition to the emancipated female. Appeals


for reform in the social and political position of women had begun to surface sporadically in Spain in the 1840s, with the appearance of small groups of Fourierists, Saint Simonians, and suffragists. These early demands disappeared in the 1850s as the vision of woman posited by domestic ideology came to dominate mainstream thought. Even though no official feminist organizations existed in nineteenth-century Spain, as they did in North America and Europe, we nevertheless find that in the 1850s male and female writers alike began to present feminism as a pressing social threat.[57] Sinués de Marco ended her famous work El ángel del hogar with the declaration that "creo haber demostrado con ejemplos vivos y enérgicos que no es posible la emancipación de la mujer, la cual necesita para todo del amparo del hombre" (I believe I have demonstrated with vivid and forceful examples that woman's emancipation is not possible, since she needs man's protection for everything).[58] The message recurred, with more urgency, at the end of the century in the work of another woman writer, who remonstrated that Spaniards should unite "para que el feminismo no traspase nuestras fronteras, que tales extravagancias no trastornen las cabezas de nuestras jóvenes, para que cumplan sus deberes como buenas hijas y más tarde como esposas y como madres, pues solamente en el hogar doméstico encontrarán su dicha" (so that feminism never crosses our borders, so that such outlandish ideas do not turn the heads of our young women, so that they fulfill their duties as good daughters and later as wives and mothers, since only in the domestic home will they find happiness).[59]

The ángel del hogar , as portrayed with varying degrees of moral and social panic by such writers, was home loving, asexual, pious, selfless, and submissive. She symbolized a life-style which they believed was the only natural source of contentment for their readers. The ideologues of domesticity succeeded in displacing all the traditional Christian virtues of chastity, humility, abnegation, obedience, patience, love, and piety onto the figure of the domestic woman, who fulfilled her natural instincts and desires in the home and for the family.[60] The new discourse represented the ideal woman as an idealized, mythical figure with transcendental powers. These qualities were presented as woman's "nature," but there was nevertheless a tacit recognition of the importance of nurture in the concurrent stress on good upbringing and the perusal of the conduct manuals.

The bourgeois feminine ideal was so successful in permeating the national psyche that it came to seem the only natural and univer-


sal mode of existence for women. As María Victoria López-Cordon Cortezo shows, when the feminist novelist and critic Emilia Pardo Bazán sought to describe the ancien régime in an article on Spanish women originally commissioned for the prestigious Fortnightly Review in 1889, she did so by means of an image of woman striking for its assumption that the female condition was a "homogeneous universal" (an assumption, Aldaraca points out, which is "a sharp departure from the practice of writers prior to the nineteenth century," who did not elide class lines in this way):[61] "no salía más que a Misa muy temprano. . . . Ocupaba esta mujer las horas en labores manuales, reposando, calcetando, aplanchando, bordando al bastidor o haciendo dulce de conserva. . . . no conocía más libros que el de Misa, el Año Cristiano y el Catecismo, que enseñaba a sus hijos" (she would go out only in order to go to mass very early in the morning. . . . This woman spent her time in fine handiwork, resting, doing crochet, ironing, embroidering her frame, or making jams. . . . she knew no other books save the mass, the Christian Year , and the catechism, which she taught her children).[62]

Even in an essay which departed from common nineteenth-century practice by specifically devoting different sections to the women of different social classes, Pardo Bazán's discourse was affected by the unitary premise of her own title, "La mujer española," so that she generalized and transposed onto the past an image of domestic womanhood which was nineteenth-century and bourgeois, showing the power of the ideal even over those who consciously resisted its lure. While she attacked this model of femininity as a "mujer emparedada" (walled-up woman), Pardo simultaneously evinced a certain nostalgia for what she referred to variously as the embodiment of "genuine," castiza (truly Spanish) female virtue, which, intriguingly, she portrayed as something lost, belonging to the past, which modern society would do well to recuperate.

Women Writers and the Domestic Ideal

Women writers occupied a contested and intriguing role in relation to the domestic ideal. Since nineteenth-century theories of artistic creation envisioned it as a function of the male libido, there was logically no possibility of the asexual angel woman being an artist. This exclusion was reinforced by the typecasting of women as helpmates.


The "proper lady," Mary Poovey tells us, merely aided masculine processes of creation either by serving as a source of inspiration to a man or by helping and nurturing the creator.[63] The pen overwhelmingly figured as a masculine implement, while the needle was the badge of virtuous femininity. The "fetishism of the needle," still prevalent enough to be denounced by the feminist writer Martínez Sierra early in the twentieth century, was backed up by a whole series of nineteenth-century Spanish school curricula for girls in which far more attention was given to sewing than writing, with the result that in 1887, almost 77 percent of Spanish women remained illiterate. As Virginia Woolf complained, the angel in the house was not supposed to be a writer.[64] Yet bourgeois gender ideology, precisely by allotting women a crucial area of authority over the conscience and the emotions, created a space which women used to become writers. Despite the prohibition on intellectual activity, women wrote more during the nineteenth century than in any preceding one.

For the generation of women writers who came of age or were beginning their careers during the 1850s, paying tribute to domestic womanhood became the avowed reason for publishing.[65] The majority of them compensated for the transgressive combination of being women in the public sphere by making advertisement of the feminine ideal their ostensible theme. The explicit message they directed to their female readers was the necessity of being submissive and subservient domestic angels, totally identified with home and family, although the ironic fact that the authors were themselves highly visible professional women and entrepreneurs cannot have escaped their readers. Alda Blanco shows how the female proponents of domesticity used their works to argue that education and literacy were essential to the training of young girls as domestic angels and would not, as had always been inferred, lead to sexual misconduct: "The ever-present argument in favor of educating the angel in the house found in Sinués and most of her female contemporaries positions women writers in a conflictual relationship to their society. Seemingly constructing an image of womanhood which neatly and unproblematically fit the needs of a bourgeois society—the passive sacrificial woman—they also inscribe within it an oppositional element . . . , the need for literacy."[66]

Journals written for women (and increasingly by them) played a vital part in the development and dissemination of the cult of the án -


gel del hogar . Recent studies of the Spanish periodical press in the nineteenth century show a rapid expansion of the number of feminine periodicals in the second half of the century.[67] Advice on how properly to fulfil woman's angelic mission, in the form of articles and serialized novels or conduct manuals, formed one of the principal themes of this new and flourishing journalistic industry.

The women who wrote the nineteenth-century manuals of conduct and domestic fiction, though suppressed from literary histories much more completely than popular male writers such as Manuel Fernández] y González and Wenceslas Ayguals de Izco, were at the time widely known, successful, and respected literary figures. Merely by right of his position as a literary man, Galdós cannot have been unfamiliar with their work. Alicia Andreu states that these women published novels, poetry, drama, essays, and conduct manuals which were enormously popular and were awarded prestigious literary prizes.[68] They also contributed to, directed, and founded journals for women, and were actively involved in a range of literary and political journals in the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s.

Among the women authors who most assiduously promoted the cult of domesticity was Sinués de Marco, author of the best-seller El ángel del hogar (first published in 1859) and over one hundred other didactic and fictional works advocating feminine domesticity.[69] These included such revealing titles as Narraciones del hogar (1862), Hija, esposa y madre: Cartas dedicadas a la mujer acerca de sus deberes para con la familia y la sociedad (1863), Un libro para las madres (1877), La mujer en nuestros días: Obra dedicada a las madres y a las hijas de familia (1878), La misión de la mujer (1886), and Los ángeles de la tierra (1891). Sinués de Marco founded her own journal, El Angel del Hogar: Páginas de la Familia (Madrid, 1864–1869), and became a contributor to La Ilustración de Madrid in 1870 and 1871, in the august company of the Bécquer brothers, who directed the publication's literary and artistic sections. In 1883 and 1884 she also directed Flores y Perlas , which described itself as a "literary, recreational, and moral journal dedicated to the fair sex."

Almost exactly contemporaneous with Sinués de Marco was the somewhat more liberal Faustina Sáez de Melgar (1834–1895), novelist, journalist, and, just after the September revolution, founder of an academy entitled the Ateneo de Señoras (ladies' athenaeum), designed to remedy the lack of educational opportunities for middle-class women. She was editor of La Violeta from 1862–1865, La Mujer in


1871, La Canastilla de la Infancia (1882–1895), and Paris Charmant (1884–1895). Sáez de Melgar was also active as a contributor on a number of political and literary journals such as La Antorcha, La Iberia, El Occidente, La Discusión, La Epoca , and many journals specifically concerned with the domestic ideal. These included Ellas, El Vergel de Andalucía, El Mensajero de las Modas, La Guirnalda, El Correo de la Moda, El Album de las Familias, Los Niños, La Niñez , and La Ilustración Católica . She also edited a weighty anthology of articles on women entitled Las mujeres españolas, americanas y lusitanas pintadas por sí mismas (Spanish, Latin American, and Portuguese women painted by themselves). In the introduction to this work Sáez de Melgar defined women's mission, with consummate if apparently unconscious irony, as domestic rather than professional: "la mujer no ha nacido más que para set mujer; es decir, para ser la compañera del hombre, su amiga, su hermana, su madre, su esposa, su hija, su consejera desinteresada, su ángel de caridad en sus tribulaciones y la estrella de su esperanza en sus momentos de desaliento" (woman was not born to be anything other than a woman; that is to say, man's companion, his friend, his sister, his mother, his wife, his daughter, his disinterested counselor, his angel of charity in tribulation, and his star of hope in moments of depression).[70] Sáez de Melgar incarnates the paradox—as all these writers do—that these women simultaneously made a great success in the public sphere by telling woman that their place was in the private sphere.

Angela Grassi (1823–1883) was well known as a romantic poet at a very early age. In the 1860s she added to her reputation by becoming a successful novelist and conduct manual writer. She received prizes from the Real Academia española and other institutions, and was frequently mentioned in La Epoca , a conservative Madrid daily paper, and in El Imparcial . She became the director of the women's magazine El Correo de la Moda in 1867, a post she held until her death in 1883.[71] This magazine published her own and others' novels and articles on women. Patrocinio de Biedma (1848–?) was a poet and writer of such novels as Recuerdos de un ángel (1874). She founded a weekly journal, Cádiz , and contributed to La Moda, La Moda Elegante, El Bazar, La Niñez, Buena Nueva, Revista Popular Católica , and Revista de España .

These female promoters of the angel image in Spain did not publish in women's magazines alone. They also wrote about women's role for political and literary journals aimed at a primarily masculine


readership. Thus we find their articles in the journals to which Galdós contributed and which he presumably read. Sinués de Marco, for example, wrote for El Imparcial , as she and Sáez de Melgar did for La Epoca , and Patrocinio de Biedma for the Revista de España .

Problems and Paradoxes

"La mujer en su origen y organización es más perfecta que el hombre" (Woman in her origin and organization is more perfect than man), reads the bombastic title of a typical Restoration tract on woman. Yet on the dedicatory page the author, one Leopoldo Martínez Reguera, characterized his thesis as paradoxical. The angel in the house, constructed entirely in opposition to man, embodied even for nineteenth-century observers a series of aporia. As we have seen, she was both an absence—invisible, silent—and a ubiquitous spiritual presence. A tension between woman's ascribed power and powerlessness is variously inscribed in bourgeois domestic ideology. Reverence for the angel was stimulated by comparison to figures of authority, both social and spiritual, including the priestess, saint, Madonna, and queen. A commonplace of domestic ideology was that, as angelic mother, and wife, woman was entitled to wield power, provided she did so only in the private sphere: "la familia es el verdadero reino de la mujer, y únicamente en el hogar doméstico es donde reside su trono" (the family is woman's true kingdom, and her throne is to be found only in the home).[72] Yet this vision of queenly majesty clashed with the notion of woman's role as invisible servant. An old strain of misogyny seems to have coexisted quite comfortably with lip service to the new chivalric attitude to women, to judge by the popularity in Spain of Balzac's dictum that "woman is a slave that one has to know how to put on a throne."[73]

The "daughter, wife, and mother" formula for the angel neatly expressed this other side of the ideal: the notion of woman as "relative creature," devotedly serving the emotional and moral needs of the family.[74] The angel existed to serve, soothe, nurture, and comfort others.[75] She was portrayed as a source of inspiration, of order, of happiness, always content to fulfil a contingent, supportive role, to live vicariously through and for others. Blanca de Gassó y Ortiz wrote that it was a woman's job to "sembrar la dicha por donde quiera que pase y derramar el bien en sus semejantes . . . sin ruido,


sin ostentación alguna" (sow happiness wherever she goes and lavish her goodness on her companions . . . silently, without any ostentatiousness) (see Appendix 2). For one English writer, maids epitomized the feminine destiny, for they "are attached to others and are connected with other existences, which they embellish, facilitate, and serve. In a word, they fulfil both essentials of a woman's being: they are supported by, and minister to, men."[76] Obedience, humility, and submissiveness were important aspects of the angel's prescribed negation of self in loving service to the family. Sinués de Marco and Sáez de Melgar constantly reminded their female readers that "la mujer ha nacido para obedecer al hombre" (woman was born to obey man), a commonplace that contrasts oddly with their belief in female empowerment.[77]

The attempt to dissociate women from material power emerges in the rhetoric of the time. While it was frequently claimed that bourgeois Christian society had improved women's lot, there were concerted attempts to redefine as "influence" the domestic power attributed to them as angels of the house. Influence was covert power, which was supposed to act discreetly, obliquely; that is, its status as power was ambiguous. The angel could suggest or contrive but never demand. Fernando de Castro told his female listeners in a famous lecture in 1869 that "vuestro destino es influir, de ninguna manera imperar" (your destiny is to influence, by no means to command).[78] Writers carefully proscribed their celebration of women's "influence" to the proper boundaries: the running of the household, the care of children, and the supervision of servants.

As the new conception of women's different nature came to be the norm, it was extrapolated to determine her social function, which was then prescriptively inscribed into the legal practices of the nineteenth century. The chivalrous rhetoric about the angel's moral superiority and queenly power found in the nineteenth-century texts we have been discussing did not lead to progressive improvement in women's legal rights; in fact, the liberal legislation of the nineteenth century, where it did not limit itself to restating women's traditional legal subordination to men, actually eroded what few rights women had over property and codified the new double standard of morality, a process which culminated in the Restoration Civil Code of 1889, modelled on the Napoleonic Code's postrevolutionary retrenchment on women's rights. Wives who disobeyed their husbands could receive civil reprimands (Penal Code of 1822,


art. 369) or arrest and a fine (Penal Code of 1848, arts. 569–72). Women's invisibility in the public sphere was made concrete by laws which abrogated married women's rights to own and dispose of property (Civil Code Draft Proposal of 1855, and Civil Code of 1889), to engage in business, or to discharge official functions. They could prosecute for rape only if great violence had accompanied the act (Penal Code of 1848, arts. 354, 361, 362). In 1848 adultery became for the first time a civil offence (as opposed to a domestic one punished by the husband), punishable by a jail sentence. However, the new legal definition considered only women capable of committing adultery (Penal Code, art. 353).[79]

The fact that women were increasingly subordinated and not glorified in legal discourse is balanced by the growing misogyny of scientific discourse over the century, which drew parallels between women and children and also between women and the so-called savage races. Anatomists believed that women's skeletons were more childlike than men's. Phrenologists and craniologists stressed women's lesser intelligence by measuring their smaller brains. In the wake of Darwin's theory of evolution, women came to be seen as the more primitive examples of the species. In the words of a contributor to the Anthropological Review in 1868, women shared the prognathous jaw—"the most palpable mark of an inferior organisation"—with "the lowest races of man."[80] The new discipline of psychology, in a move that contradicted the contemporaneous discourse of domesticity, defined women as morally deficient: weak-willed and impulsive. Scientific discourse of the late nineteenth century is marked by a struggle between the models of incommensurable sexual difference and veneration of the female seen in bourgeois ideology and the older one of patriarchal hierarchy (woman as an inferior copy of man). While overtly stressing the polar oppositions between male and female organisms, scientists frequently lapsed into the language of hierarchy: "physically, mentally, and morally, woman is a kind of adult child. . . . The highest examples of physical, mental, and moral excellence are found in man."[81]

The contradictory nature of the new feminine ideal is highlighted by the very metaphor it borrowed from religious iconography: that of the angel. The distinguishing sign of the angel in visual representation is the possession of wings like a bird's, denoting the power to fly. Although in theory angels had neither body nor sex, Christian artists from the fourth century on began to represent


them as noble, warlike youths with wings.[82] Both their male, martial aspect and their wings symbolized their superhuman power, freedom, and mobility. They were associated with upward spiritual movement—redemption and resurrection—and with victory, for they were typically portrayed flanking God on high or escorting souls heavenwards. In traditional western iconography, the angel's wings signified spirituality, participation in the divine, speed, power, and dazzling mobility. They had ultimate powers to transcend distance and material boundaries.

However, when the gender of the angel was displaced by the bourgeois discourse of the nineteenth century onto woman, a central change took place. The new feminine angel was not mobile or martial but was imaginatively immobilized in the bourgeois home. Her virtue did not enable her to transcend boundaries but instead found its definition in her observance of them. The ángel del hogar might be winged, but she never flew. In fact, she was constituted precisely by her joyful acceptance of enclosure. Florence Nightingale's essay Cassandra (1852), in which the author bitterly denounces the cult of domesticity, envisages contemporary Victorian womanhood as being "like the Archangel Michael as he stands upon Saint Angelo at Rome. She has an immense provision of wings, which seem as if they would bear her over earth and heaven; but when she tries to use them, she is petrified into stone, her feet are grown into the earth, chained to the bronze pedestal."[83]

Even though women were now credited with spiritual powers, confinement, rather than free flight, remained the central paradigm of middle-class female experience in the nineteenth century. Martínez Sierra would comment contemptuously in 1932 that nothing more than masculine fantasy was behind the tradition of representing women as winged creatures.[84] The culture's habit of defining ideal womanhood by the parallel and contradictory notions of woman as winged being and woman as necessarily confined gave rise to an image which recurs with striking frequency in nineteenth-century writing: that of woman as caged bird, the winged prisoner. It was an image frequently used by both of Spain's most noted feminists in the late nineteenth century. Emilia Pardo Bazán wrote that the social construction of gender "encierra a la mitad del género humano en el círculo de hierro de la inmovilidad" (encloses half the human species in the steel hoop of immobility). She contrasted the traditional mobile


male angel to its female counterpart in her short story "La aventura del ángel." Similarly, Concepción Arenal's central theme in La mujer de su casa (1881) was the confinement and stasis attending the domestic woman, "la estrecha esfera en que vive" (the narrow sphere she lives in), the "círculo reducido" (limited circle), and the "inmovilidad" (immobility) imposed upon her.[85] As we shall see, this theme is also very much in evidence in the novels of Galdós.

Women's exclusion from what Jürgen Habermas terms the public sphere did not, of course, mean that they were not visible in public. And indeed this fact created a curious paradox. The boundaries of the middle-and upper-class home became more porous than ever before for Spanish women during the last thirty years of the century, as entertaining, shopping, theatre-going, promenading, riding in open carriages, and home visiting became increasingly the norm in high society, even though during those same years domesticity and invisibility were glorified as never before. Yet by this point, the notion of decorum had been naturalized. Any deviation from feminine modesty would now be an aberration from nature, not just from duty.

One manifestation of the curious contradictions inscribed on the feminine during this period lies in the clothing worn by middle-class women in the mid-nineteenth century, which, instead of evolving towards a more comfortable style in line with women's apparent new freedoms, became rather, according to Kathryn Weibel, "the most garish and least comfortable in recent history." This development signalled once again the century's preoccupation with differentiating women from men, whose clothing had become the "standardized, tailored, and reasonably comfortable uniform it has remained ever since."[86] Female fashions of the 1860s physically inhibited the wearer to such an extent that they "precluded physical labor and displayed her managerial status."[87] Women's apparel became so cumbersome and confining that it was reminiscent of late Golden Age Spain, when women of means were rigidly secluded and surveilled. Female fashions shed the simplicity of the turn-of-the-century Napoleonic styles, as the corsets and crinolines of the 1850s and 1860s and the narrow skirts, bustles, and trains of the 1870s and 1880s turned the middle-class woman into the "bell-shaped angel" discussed by Duncan Crow, an angel whose dress expressed the paradigm of demure restraint in an inescapably palpable way. "No one but a woman," commented Mrs. Oliphant in her book Dress (ca. 1879), "knows how her


dress . . . arrests her locomotive powers." The farthingale, so memorable in Velázquez's portraits of the stiff, doll-like females of the Spanish court in the 1660s, was resuscitated two hundred years later as the crinoline. It was made popular in Europe by the Spanish wife of Napoleon III, Empress Eugénie, around 1855, and thereafter skirts reached such an enormous width and elaborateness that one commentator describes the period as a "second baroque era."[88] The crinoline of the 1860s was in fact known as the "cage." Helene Roberts writes that "the crinoline and its complicated paraphernalia . . . literally transformed women into caged birds surrounded by hoops of steel." The narrow skirts which succeeded the crinoline were contrived "expressly to confine . . . movements."[89]

Yet, despite the cramping restrictions that must have attended the real lives of nineteenth-century women, the angel in the house is paradoxically a happy prisoner. Contentment with one's lot in life is one of the conduct manuals' particular themes: the angel must never seem miserable or discontented, let alone rebellious. Her job is to keep people happy, comfortable, and entertained by always seeming to be so herself. Promoters of the cult of domesticity never posed the problem of a woman dissatisfied or discontented with her role in the home, except as an example of "unnatural" or "unwomanly" behaviour.

The contradictions of Victorian gender ideology can be seen also in the notions of class on which it rested, for although its promoters adopted a language which posited woman and the eternal feminine as a universal, timeless, classless entity, they attributed the fundamental quality of the angel, namely her asexual purity, only to the middle class. The same discourse which desexualized the women of the middle class hypersexualized working-class women, marking them as "naturally" promiscuous, unrestrainedly passionate, and therefore sinful—a position which Galdós explores at length in Fortunata y Jacinta . Prostitution of women of the lower classes was considered a necessary evil, because it ensured the continued purity of well-to-do women, who might otherwise become the targets of male lust. The pure middle-class angel depends on her sullied lower class counterpart, who was simultaneously used and abused. Fraser Harrison, discussing the contradictions in nineteenth-century sexual mores, writes that "the class from whom prostitutes were recruited was credited by the class that kept them in business with a fundamentally sinful nature. . . . By the same token, the exploiting class be-


stowed on its own women a fundamental innocence. . . . The 'better classes' preserved intact their privilege of simultaneously purchasing wholesale sex from the lower classes and condemning them for their promiscuity."[90]

The high-flown and sentimental language used to construct the ideal of the angel in the house created a figure who was supposedly powerful yet materially powerless; imaginatively invested with wings yet imprisoned; supposedly busy yet enforcedly idle; supposedly sexless yet at the same time devoted wife and mother; always content even though a prisoner; supposedly frugal yet in reality expected to purchase and display finery; at once the accessory to male creation and intellect and yet herself the author of a reformed society. The nineteenth-century construction of femininity was thoroughly and fundamentally contradictory.

The discourse of woman as angel reveals so many contradictions in part because of the hidden agendas of the people who subscribed to it. While male writers, reacting to the spectre of feminism unleashed by the French Revolution, used it to justify women's exclusion from public life, women writers used it to stress women's different nature and special provinces of authority. As Mrs. Ellis wrote, "women's politics must be the politics of morality"; they were specially equipped to confront issues "such as extinction of slavery, the abolition of war in general, cruelty to animals, the punishment of death, temperance, and many more."[91]

Thus, the final paradox associated with the ideal of the angel is an historical one: even though it was designed to segregate bourgeois women in the private world of the family, it eventually became the means of their encroachment on the public sphere. The contradictions inherent in the ideal of the angel in the house allowed women to question and deconstruct that ideal. In the 1860s certain middle-class women began to exercise the supposedly angelic feminine qualities of love, emotional understanding, moral purity, and humanitarian service in a wider sphere than the home by undertaking philanthropical work in charitable organizations and antislavery leagues or by becoming teachers, writers, social reformers, and, by the turn of the century, gynaecologists and pediatricians.[92] The province of the angel's social mission and function could not ultimately expand in this way without beginning to deconstruct the bases of the ideal itself: the separate spheres and qualities of the sexes.[93]


Galdós and the Woman Question

Galdós's Affiliations with the Prensa Femenina

Galdós was dedicated to narrating the concerns of a class that was supremely self-reflexive and self-critical, given to analyzing its own motivations and ideals in print. He used the realist novel to explore, among other contradictions, the tension between the conflicting imperatives that constituted the bourgeoisie's ideal of womanhood. Galdós's fiction constantly engages with the figure of the angel in the house and, in many of his novels, subverts it. Yet we have no reason to believe that Galdós did not subscribe to the reigning feminine ideal. Indeed, such evidence as we have about the writer's conscious ideological orientation points in a very different direction.

As a young writer and journalist, Galdós espoused a brand of conservative liberalism that provides an important area of convergence between him and some of the major proponents of domestic ideology. He published articles and novels in two women's magazines which were specifically devoted to promoting the cult of the angel wife-mother: La Guirnalda , a bimonthly journal "dedicated to the fair sex," published in Madrid (1867–1883) and La Madre y el Niño , a monthly journal published in Madrid from 1883 to 1884. Galdós had a close and long-standing connection with La Guirnalda . He started publishing with the magazine in January 1873, with an article entitled "Biografías de damas célebres españolas." This was at a point when the magazine was under the direction of Jerónimo Morán, a strong antifeminist who urged women readers not to heed the siren call of emancipation:

Se ha hecho moda en estos últimos tiempos hablar de lo que se llama la emancipación de la mujer, como si el hombre hubiera alguna vez dejado de ser vuestro esclavo . . . no creais por Dios a esos alucinados utopistas que, titulándose abogados de vuestros derechos, son más


bien destruidores de lo que constituye vuestra mayor fuerza, vuestro mayor encanto.

(It has become fashionable recently to talk of what is called women's emancipation, as if man had ever ceased to be your slave . . . don't, for Heaven's sake, believe those demented utopians who claim to be defending your rights but are in fact destroying all that constitutes your greatest strength and charm.)[1]

Sáez de Melgar and Sinués de Marco were frequent contributors to La Guirnalda , which was at the time heavily invested in promoting the domestic ideal. Representative titles included "Verdadera misión de la mujer," "El libro de una madre," and "Receta para que una esposa consiga labrar la felicidad del marido" (recipe for achieving your husband's happiness). In 1875, Galdós's novels began to appear in La Guirnalda in serialized form. Many of his Novelas contemporáneas were also published as separate volumes by the Imprenta de la Guirnalda.

La Madre y el Niño was directed by a personal friend of Galdós, Manuel de Tolosa Latour. As its title suggests, it idealized maternity and the notion of separate spheres. Intellectually, it was a relatively progressive journal but was nevertheless careful to present a social agenda that was moderate to conservative. Although it reprinted works by Pardo Bazán and Concepción Arenal, it carefully selected parts of their writing that were not feminist. Sections from Galdós's works La familia de León Roch and El doctor Centeno were serialized by this journal. In the 1883 volume, which featured an emotional depiction of motherhood from La familia de León Roch , we find another article exalting woman's mission which contains the familiar disclaimer: "No pido para la mujer libertad exajerada; no soy de opinión que a la mujer se la considere igual que al hombre; que tenga voto, que hable en las Cortes; que pretenda ser ministro ¡lejos de mi mente tan absurdas pretensiones!" (I don't ask for excessive liberties for woman; I am no subscriber to the opinion that woman should be considered equal to man; that she should have the vote or speak in Parliament; that she should aspire to the legislature. Such absurd claims could not have been further from my mind!)[2]

Galdós was editor of the liberal bimonthly Revista de España from February, 1872 to November 1873.[3] Under his direction, the paper produced a series of articles by the antifeminist Urbano González Serrano in which the latter argued the widely held belief that women


were entitled only to a specialized education designed to make them better mothers and to emphasize gender differences: "la educación verdadera consiste . . . en procurar que la mujer sea cada vez más mujer y el varón más hombre" (true education consists . . . in making woman ever more womanly and man more manly). Subscribing to the notion that women's reproductive function barred them from intellectual work, the author asserted that "no produce la mujer ideas. . . . Debiera tenerse siempre presente la frase de Michelet: la mujer desde que es mujer está enferma y por tanto no puede dedicarse a las especulaciones que los estudios serios requieren" (woman doesn't produce ideas. . . . One should always bear in mind Michelet's phrase: from the time she attains womanhood, a woman is constantly sick and thus she cannot devote herself to the deep thinking required for serious study). Finally, in case there should be any doubt about his position, Serrano stigmatized feminists as promiscuous: "Las huecas palabras de igualdad de los sexos y emancipación de la mujer [están] unidas a pretensiones tan exageradas como ridículas . . . son una y misma cosa la emancipación y la prostitución de la mujer. Si ésta ha de ser educada, preciso es que se conozca su cualidad . . . y que se renuncie de una vez para siempre a la empresa utópica e impía de deshacer las leyes naturales" (The empty words of equality of the sexes and woman's emancipation are linked to claims as extreme as they are absurd . . . woman's emancipation and prostitution are one and the same thing. If she must be educated, she must know her condition . . . and renounce once and for all the utopian and unchristian enterprise of unmaking the laws of nature).[4] Galdós's soon-to-be-published Trafalgar was excerpted in the same volume as the last part of this lengthy article.

In 1872, the famous domestic novelist Sinués de Marco wrote to Galdós in his capacity as editor of the prestigious Revista de España . She introduced herself, praising Galdós's recently published El audaz , and asking if she might write an introduction to it for the second edition.[5] The archives in Las Palmas contain no evidence of whether Galdós replied. His opinion of Sinués was not likely to have been favourable, to judge from his comments on women writers in an article that had appeared four years previously, in 1868. In it, Galdós describes his indignation on learning that Queen Victoria of England had written a book, and his subsequent relief on discovering that it was merely an autobiographical volume describing her married life rather than a creative work. Galdós's comments are


marked by a curious contradiction. While eulogizing his own projection of Victoria's work as a model of decorous female virtue, "senzillo y modesto, respirando el suave aroma de la generosidad y de la virtud, patético y . . . tiernísimo" (simple and modest, exuding the sweet aroma of generosity and virtue, full of pathos and . . . the greatest tenderness), he also attacks female authors as harmless if hopeless literary amateurs whose writing is inescapably marred by bland femininity: "Si hay instrumento que no corte, no pnnce [sic ], ni raje, ni envenene es esa pluma de marfil con que ellas zurcen, pespuntan y bordan sus artículos, sus sonetos, sus novelas y sus párrafos de moral culinaria, de costura poética" (If there is an implement incapable of cutting, stabbing, slashing, or poisoning, it is the marble pen with which those women darn, stitch, and embroider their articles, sonnets, novels, and paragraphs of culinary morality, of poetic needlework). Galdós's semihumorous tone dismisses women who write and waves a paternalistically satirical hand in favour of women's emancipation, within certain limits: "Queremos que [la mujer] lea, y aprenda, y estudie, y hasta que escriba; pero no versos" (We want women to read, and learn, and study, and even write; but not poetry).[6]

Galdosian Reflections on Woman's Place

For a man who wrote so much and whose work is so associated with women, Galdós largely avoids the woman question in his nonfictional works. It is the so-called social question which figures more prominently on his personal horizon, the fragility of bourgeois order in the face of the growth of working class militancy; he states in 1895 that he feels society to be on the edge of a volcano.[7] His comments about women's situation in articles and essays tend to be fragmentary though telling, made in passing while discussing some other topic. He gives the impression of inhabiting an all-male world, rarely mentioning feminine figures. These massive omissions are themselves significant, in light of the ferment of discussion going on at the time. One contemporary feminist, Concepción Sáiz, was later to entitle her work on women's education Un episodio nacional que no escribió Galdós (an episode in the nation's life that Galdós left out).[8]

Yet one early article by Galdós, published in the progressive paper La Nación in 1866, provides some valuable indications of his


thinking. Entitled "La rosa y la camelia," it is an allegory of two types of woman: the rose, standing for the bourgeois virtuous woman, and the camellia, standing for the courtesan in the tradition of Dumas's famous work La Dame aux camélias (1848). Rather as Pardo Bazán did in the commentary we analyzed in chapter 1, Galdós here equates the domesticated, maternal values of the middle-class woman with the true, eternal type of Spanish womanhood. He reworks a motif common to nineteenth-century bourgeois writers in his attack on the women of the upper class as living a life of lax morals and frenetic sociability; he bends history to his argument by suggesting that society women who took lovers were the artificial and unhealthy innovation of the nineteenth century. The rose, in contrast, is healthy, warm, open to the approach of its natural partner in reproduction, the bee, and maternally prolific:

Sencilla, pero siempre bella, nace y abre al sol su corazon y permite a la abela penetrar en su seno . . . agasaja con cariño la familia de pequeños capullos que crecen a su lado; envejece poco a poco, mas sin perder su belleza, y espira al final dejando la vida a los tiernos embriones que la rodean. No hay duda de que la rosa es la flor mas bella de la creacion.

(Simple, but always beautiful, she is born and opens her heart to the sun and allows the bee to penetrate into her bosom . . . she tenderly nurtures the family of little buds who grow at her side; she ages gradually, but without losing her beauty, and eventually expires leaving life to the tender shoots around her. The rose is without a doubt the most beautiful flower in creation.)[9]

In contrast, the camellia, which the narrator terms "the aristocratic flower," and "the prostituted flower, the shameless flower; the flower without a family" (302–3) is overeroticized, dangerously beautiful, languid, consumptive: "despiértase soñolienta a una hora avanzada, y no se recoge hasta muy alta la noche" (she wakes up languidly very late and doesn't retire until very late at night [301]). He taxes the society flower with pride, arrogance, and habits of self-display.

The contest between the merits of the two flowers that the narrator invites us to witness is a transparent opportunity for him to glorify the virtues of mothers of modest households and to revile their vitiated antitheses, associated with the mores of high society. The rose has thorns to protect her virtue, while the camellia, who lacks such protection and was raised in a hothouse, is easily picked by anyone. The camellia, as an artificial creation, is sterile: "no sabe criar [a


los hijos], o no ha nacido para tenerlos" (she doesn't know how to raise children or was not born to have them), whereas the rose has maternal qualities. Crucially, the camellia, for all its superior beauty, has no perfume, whereas the rose has the sweet odour of sanctity: "manantial inagotable de perfume que en el hombre se llama virtud y en la flor aroma" (she is an inexhaustible fountain of that perfume we call virtue in mankind and scent in a flower [302]). Galdós in this article mobilizes all the most powerful arguments of his culture in favour of the ideology of domesticity.

The powerful hold of the puritanical strain of bourgeois gender ideology over the young Galdós's imagination is attested in a review he wrote of a play entitled El suplicio de una mujer , staged in Madrid in 1865. Galdós protests with moralistic fervour against the play's depiction of an adulteress, showing himself completely in agreement with the punitive code espoused by the writers of popular fiction, in whose works such characters inevitably came to a terrible end. He describes the heroine:

es la abominación de su sexo; es artísticamente considerada el tipo mas prosáico y mas anti-estético que pudiera concebir una imaginacion. . . . Llevado este tipo al teatro por un esplotador de la grosera realidad, puede set muy pernicioso a la joven de su sexo. . . . El suplicio de una mujer es la negación de la familia. Parece que el ilustre periodista francés se ha complacido en atacar la institucion mas santa. Prostituyendo así a la madre y a la esposa, Girardin ha matado a la familia en la mujer y a esta en sus mas altas atribuciones.

(she is an abomination in her sex; artistically speaking, she is the most mundane and antiaesthetic type the mind can conceive. . . . This type, which has been brought to the stage by a writer who exploits the ugliness of reality, could be very harmful to young women. . . . A Woman's Torture is anti-family. It appears that the famous French journalist enjoys attacking the holiest of institutions. By prostituting the mother and wife, Girardin has destroyed the family through her and the noblest attributes of woman herself.)[10]

Galdós protests that the sinful wife needs to be didactically counterbalanced by an angelic counterpart, "que consolara con su virtud los tormentos de un público sujeto a la prolongada agonía en que le pone espectáculo tan repugnante" (who will console by her virtue the sufferings of an audience subjected to the prolonged agony of such a repugnant spectacle [229]). This early insistence that representations of


women which diverged from the feminine ideal were morally and aesthetically acceptable only if they demonstrated that evils attend nonconformity is in line with the idealist criteria of the time; it is a long way from Galdós's ironic and morally ambiguous representations of adulterous women in the realist novels he was to produce later in his career, such as Augusta in Realidad or Rosalía in La de Bringas .

By 1871, when Galdós began publishing novels, woman as a subject had become a popular topic of large and luxurious compilations, marketed as all-encompassing definitions of the female sex. A striking indication of Galdós's early position is found in the essay "La mujer del filósofo," which appeared in one such work, Las españolas pintadas por los españoles (1871–1872).[11] Galdós's piece is one of the two most virulently misogynist in the anthology. He characterizes the women's movement as an absurdity thankfully absent from Spain: "en nuestro país . . . la emancipación de tan privilegiado ser [la mujer] no ha pasado de los códigos de alguna asociación extravagante" (in our country, the emancipation of such a privileged being [woman] has gone no further than the codes of the odd extremist organization), and he proceeds to lambast the imaginary figure of the woman philosopher:

la filosofante no existe; este monstruo no ha sido abortado aún por la sociedad, que, sin duda, a pesar de la turbación de los tiempos, no ha encontrado materiales para fundirla en la misma turquesa de donde salió hace medio siglo la literata sentimental y hace treinta años la poetisa romántica.

Es cierto que hace poco ha aparecido una excrecencia informe, una aberración que se llama la mujer socialista. (36–37)

(the lady philosopher does not exist; such a monster has yet to be aborted by society, which, despite the turbulence of the times, has probably not yet found the materials to cast her in the same mould from which the sentimental novelist emerged half a century ago, and the romantic poetess thirty years ago.

It is true that recently a deformed growth has appeared, an aberration called the socialist woman.)

The narrative conjures up a dry scientist, poring night and day over his books and causing his wife to endure the "terrible privation" of childlessness (42). Constitutionally incapable, like all her sex, of dealing constructively with boredom (43), the neglected wife is faced with only two choices: adultery or mojigatería (religious fanaticism). She opts for the latter. On her husband's death, however, her unctuous professions of religiosity fade. She remarries and proceeds to bear a child every


year. The moral of the tale, according to Galdós, is that no woman married to a philosopher can follow her husband on his intellectual voyages of discovery (47) and that men of ideas should therefore avoid marriage—a prescription Galdós himself followed faithfully.

Galdós condones, with certain reservations, the sexual polarity encouraged by bourgeois ideology. Writing in La Nación in 1865, he reports the unusual fact that women had attended and even spoken at a recent public meeting of the Sociedad Abolicionista:

Nuestros lectores se sorprenderán de que el bello sexo fuera admitido a una reunión política, contraviniendo las leyes de la costumbre, que siempre ha lanzado a la mujer de todo sitio destinado a la solución de cuestiones graves. Efectivamente, parece natural que la frivolidad femenina se encuentre fuera de su centro en reuniones de tal especie.

(Our readers will be surprised to learn that the fair sex was admitted to a political meeting, against the laws of custom, which have always elected woman from any place designed for dealing with serious matters. Indeed, it seems natural that feminine frivolity would be out of place in such meetings.)[12]

However, he urges the reader's tolerance of this breach of decorum in the name of women's special gifts as the guardians of social conscience, since "la la cuestión de humanidad que allí se trataba permitía la intervención del sexo humanitario y compasivo por excelencia" (the humanitarian question being discussed there permitted the intervention of that sex which is supremely humane and compassionate).

Galdós's use of Victorian rhetoric about women cannot be seen, however, merely as a phenomenon of his youth, as is argued by Bravo-Villasante and others, who contend that Galdós became a feminist later in life. In a homage to the play-wright Benavente in 1905, Galdós repeats the popular theory of women's natural purity and superior moral qualities, as well as the notion that woman's destiny is love:

Ellas son el encanto de la vida, el estímulo de las ambiciones grandes y pequeñas; origen son y manantial de donde proceden todas las virtudes. Debemos . . . [asignar] a la parte bella y débil de nuestro linaje los altos ejemplos de abnegación y de heroismo, y [reservar]nos los móviles del desorden moral y la responsabilidad de todas las formas de pecado. Obra de ellas son los más gloriosos triunfos del bien; obra nuestra las privadas desdichas y las públicas catástrofes. Es destino ineludible de ellas amar at hombre, y éste debe consagrarles toda su inteligencia y su corazón entero; culto soberano, del cual sólo deben exceptuarse las que,


deformadas por un espirtualismo falso, se vuelven regañonas, secas y desapacibles.

(Women are life's delight; they stimulate great and small ambitions; they are the source and fountainhead from whence all virtues flow. We should . . . [assign] to the beautiful and weak side of our lineage the highest examples of self-sacrifice and heroism and reserve for ourselves the blame for moral disorder and responsibility for all forms of sin. The most glorious triumphs of good are women's work; private miseries and public catastrophes are our fault. It is their ineluctable destiny to love man; and he should devote to them all his intelligence and his whole heart; a sovereign cult from which we should only excuse those women who, deformed by false pietism, become shrewish, dried up, and disagreeable.)[13]

The piece is almost entirely conventionally Victorian in content until we reach the end, at which point Galdós strikes an individual note with one of his characteristic anticlerical barbs directed at female sanctimoniousness, which he saw as one of the intractable problems of the nation.

Like the majority of his contemporaries, Galdós believed that the separate natures of the sexes necessitated different types of education. Towards the end of the century he avowed himself fiercely anti-democratic in matters of education, attributing the fin-de-siècle intellectual malaise to the fact that too many people were being educated. Significantly, he used women to illustrate his point: "caminamos a pasos de gigante hacia el predominio del vulgo ilustrado. . . . Llegará el día en que las señoritas ilustradas esculpirán el busto de sus papás, y compondrán las polcas que han de bailar con sus novios" (we are taking great strides towards a society dominated by pedestrian minds with some schooling. . . . The day will come when young ladies with diplomas will be sculpting busts of their papas and composing the polkas they will dance with their beaux).[14] He complains in "La enseñanza superior en España" of the excessive numbers of female music students at the Madrid Conservatory (women outnumbered men by 1,356 to 646 that year). By the 1890s he favoured broadening women's education, and began to seem troubled by his realization that there was a sexual double standard of morality;[15] yet he opposed feminist demands for equal education and conceded the need for wider opportunities for paid employment for women only as a lesser evil than prostitution. His praise for the notoriously progressive School for Governesses is double-edged: while scornful of the emptiness of


the education most middle-class women receive, he nevertheless inveighs against bluestockings and implies that the school was intended for those women whose families could not afford to keep them: "nuestra época ha comprendido que las mujeres deben saber algo más que un poco de costura, un poco de francés y teclear al piano; y sin erigir en sistema la pedantería femenina, que daría al traste con las gracias del sexo , ha querido abrir a las hembras las puertas de la independencia como un recurso, para salvar a muchas de la perdición" (our era has understood that women should know somewhat more than a little needlework, a bit of French, and how to strum the odd piece on the piano; and without wishing to institutionalize female pedantry, which would put paid to the charms of the fair sex , it has tried to open to women the doors of independence as a means of saving many from perdition).[16]

Galdós's library, housed in Las Palmas, confirms these intimations of the author's conservative position on gender. It contains copies of key works by some of the most influential proponents of the domestic ideal: Severo Catalina, Jules Michelet, Fernando de Castro, and the viscountess of Barrantes. Most telling is his possession of an 1844 edition of The Select Works of Mrs. Ellis . . . Designed to Promote the Cultivation of the Domestic Virtues by Sarah Stickney Ellis. Mrs. Ellis (1812–1872) was one of the mostly widely read writers of feminine conduct literature in the English-speaking world. She produced the famous series Women of England (1838), Daughters of England (1842), Wives of England (1843), and Mothers of England (1843), in which she defined the angelic ideal to middle-class women readers. The more conventional works on femininity far outnumber the emancipationist ones: apart from some numbers of Pardo Bazán's combative journal Nuevo Teatro Crítico from the early 1890s, and some 1891 and 1892 editions of Ibsen's plays, including his most notorious work, A Doll's House (1879), there are no other items in Galdós's library to indicate any personal interest in feminism.

Engendering the Novel: Galdós's Vision of Realism

Galdós's landmark essay "Observaciones sobre la novela contemporánea en España" (1870) constitutes another revealing source of information about the author's personal sexual politics.[17] A powerful


manifesto for the Spanish realist novel written at the inception of Galdós's career, it set the scene for an aggressive gendering, nationalizing, and classing of the genre that was to be echoed by other male writers and critics as they expanded, analyzed, and documented the history of the new genre.[18] In the first paragraph Galdós declares that in Spain there was no novel, thus dismissing in a stroke two generations of women novelists with significant commercial success. In its way this is as much a political manoeuvre as his friend Leopoldo Alas's subsequent vituperative attack on women writers.[19] While not mentioning the names of the popular novelists, Galdós decries their work as a plague of foreign origin, a "género que cultiva cualquiera, peste nacida en Francia, y que se ha difundido con la penosa rapidez de todos los males contagiosos" (a conventional, bland variety churned out to order, a plague imported from France which has spread with the dizzying speed of all contagious diseases [227]). Ironically, however, Galdós himself used the plot of a popular novel by a well-known woman novelist in one of his major works: according to Alicia Andreu's theory, La desheredada (1881) is modeled on Faustina Sáez de Melgar's Cruz del olivar , first published in serial form in 1867 in El Correo de la Moda .[20]

The only woman writer to be mentioned by name in the essay is Cecilia Böhl de Faber (Galdós uses her aristocratic masculine pseudonym, Fernán Caballero). Galdós acknowledges her as the author of "obritas inimitables" (inimitable but minor works) but criticizes her for an unfeminine departure from domestic subjects and for the feminine vice of mojigatería : "Sólo se bastardea y malogra su ingenio cuando quiere salir del breve círculo del hogar campestre. Fernán Caballero cae por tierra desde que quiere elevarse un poco, y nada hay más pobre que su criterio, ni más triste que su filosofía, afectada de una mojigatería lamentable" (Her genius is inevitably adulterated and aborted when she tries to leave the small circle of the rural home. Fernán Caballero falls by the wayside as soon as she tries to elevate herself a little, and there is nothing as poor as her judgement nor as pitiful as her philosophy, lamentably affected by religiosity [234]). This masculinist attitude is also seen in Galdós's article on Emilia Pardo Bazán, whom he praises as an exceptional, because unwomanly, writer, a point of view which has become widely accepted among critics: "Por el poder de su talento, Emilia Pardo no parece una escritora, pues sus obras tienen un carácter más bien va-


ronil que femenino. La mayor parte de las mujeres que escriben bien, hácenlo sentir de las condiciones intelectuales y modestas propias de su sexo" (Thanks to the power of her talent, Emilia Pardo Bazán doesn't seem like a woman writer, since her works have a more manly than feminine character. The work of most of the women who write well suffers from the intellectual conditions and the modesty peculiar to their sex).[21]

The narrative strategy of the essay is both gendered and classed; the implied readers to whom Galdós addressed this essay were upper-middle-class men, who alone held political power under Restoration liberalism. He celebrates, without any apparent irony, the "participación de todos en la vida pública, la seguridad que tiene el individuo de influir personalmente en la suerte de la sociedad" (participation of all in public life, the certainty the individual has of personally influencing the fate of society [243]). The call for a realist novel is also a paean to the bourgeoisie, whose hegemony Galdós describes as absolute and glorious. The middle class, he explains, "es la que determina el movimiento político, la que administra, la que enseña, la que discute . . . [y] determina el movimiento comercial, una de las grandes manifestaciones de nuestro siglo, y la que posee la clave de los intereses, elemento poderoso de la vida actual" (is the one which determines political orientations. It is the class which administers, which teaches, which debates, . . . [and] dominates the world of commerce, a major manifestation of modernity; it is the middle class which holds the key to economic interests, so powerful in society today [236]). At the same time that the essay confidently proclaims the bourgeoisie as monolithic, however, it betrays moments of uncertainty. This same ruling class, Galdós repeatedly states, is one beset with problems and anxieties, endangered by rifts. The domestic life of the middle class is a constant source of concern: "en la vida doméstica, ¡qué vasto cuadro ofrece esta clase, constantemente preocupada por la organización de la familia!" (what a vast canvas this class offers on a domestic level, constantly preoccupied as it is with the organization of the family! [236]). Female infidelity is a major social evil, threatening to dissolve the structure of the bourgeois family: "se observan con pavor los estragos del vicio esencialmente desorganizador de la familia, el adulterio" (we contemplate with alarm the damage done by adultery, that vice which above all others disrupts the family unit [237]). Women, in particular,


are a source of woe to many petty bourgeois families: "la vanidad en las mujeres, el lujo en el vestir es hoy uno de los males de que más se preocupan la categoría de los maridos trabajadores y modestos" (female vanity and luxury in dress is these days one of the problems that most concern that category of hard-working husbands with modest incomes [244]). Religion, too, is a divisive force, for while men are losing faith, women are, according to Galdós, becoming excessively sanctimonious: "Descuella en primer lugar el problema religioso, que perturba los hogares y ofrece contradicciones que asustan, porque mientras en una parte la falta de creencias afloja o rompe los lazos morales y civiles que forman la familia, en otras produce los mismos efectos el fanatismo y las costumbres devotas" (What is most striking is the problem of religion, which causes such upheavals in families and creates disturbing contradictions since, while in some cases the collapse of beliefs loosens or breaks the moral and civil ties that bind the family, in others fanaticism and piety produce precisely the same effect [236–37]).

Galdós asks his readers to envisage the modern realist novel as the epic of the middle class, capable of imparting form to bourgeois individuals' aspirations: "ha de ser la expresión de cuanto bueno y malo existe en el fondo de esa clase, de la incesante agitación que la elabora, de ese empeño que manifiesta por encontrar ciertos ideales y resolver ciertos problemas que preocupan a todos, y conocer el origen y el remedio de ciertos males que turban las familias. La grande aspiración del arte literario en nuestro tiempo es dar forma a todo esto" (it must be the expression of the good and evil at this class's heart, of the constant upheavals that give it form, of its efforts to attain goals and solve problems that concern us all, of its search for the causes and remedies to those ills threatening family life. To lend form to all these things must be the chief aspiration of contemporary literature [235]). He represents the novelist as both neutral observer and mirror, impartially reproducing the chaos of life through the transparent medium of language: "tiene la misión de reflejar esta perturbación honda" (it is his mission to reflect this underlying confusion [237]). Yet, despite this declaration, the neutrality of the novelist and the unproblematic nature of language were the two notions that Galdós's own novelistic practice was to disrupt most of all.

Galdós's remarks were designed to preface Ventura Ruiz's Proverbios , and so he concludes with some thumbnail sketches of Ruiz's


characters, including one of the kind of woman who, as Galdós points out, contradicts the bourgeois feminine ideal: "es envidiosa y embustera, es decir, lo último que puede ser una mujer, lo cual, unido a una singular belleza, forman esos demonios con faldas que ban martirizado y consumido bastante a la desdichada humanidad" (she is envious and deceitful, that is to say, the worst thing a woman could be, and these qualities, joined with her unusual beauty, make up one of those devils in skirts who have so often tortured and consumed the unfortunate human race [245]). In his own work Galdós was to create many such unfeminine types.

Galdós's faith in the cult of domesticity did not impinge upon a private life that, according to repeated reports, was far from conforming to the bourgeois ideal of the frugal family man.[22] Nor did he, as writer, inscribe his own deeply held beliefs about gender as incontrovertibly in his fiction as in the nonfictional. works we see here. As Terry Eagleton points out, "the ideology of the text is not an 'expression' of authorial ideology."[23] The realist novel, in the hands of Galdós, like those of many another classic bourgeois writer, displays an ambivalent relation to the class whose rise had produced it. Terry Lovell contends that as the bourgeoisie came to terms politically and socially with the older landed sections of society, the novel, in order to establish itself as literature, began to distance itself from capitalism and to undertake a critique of bourgeois values.[24] We shall now examine the ways in which questions of gender shaped the contestation as well as the reaffirmations of bourgeois ideologies in Galdós's novels.


Suffering Women

Gender and Representation in the Early Novels

Successive literary histories have immortalized the categorization of Galdós's early narrative fiction as "thesis novels," engaged in exhaustive attacks on the enemies of a progressive liberal agenda. Thus, generations of students have learned that works such as La Fontana de Oro (1871), Doña Perfecta (1876), Gloria (1877), and La familia de León Roch (1878) are all about the evils of absolutism and fanatical Catholicism. A broad consensus in Galdós mythology has held that these protest novels, while interesting, are the one-dimensional products of a young writer: only when we reach the 1880s, some have argued, does Galdós reach his full literary stature, with the depiction of the multifarious urban world of the Restoration and the subtle exploration of its attendant social and psychological problems.[1] Yet, in the light of modern work on ideology, we cannot affix an "ideological" label on certain of Galdós's novels and not on others. Nor, despite the narrower range and more explicitly political focus of his early novels, can we consider them to be as monolithically univocal as has been supposed. Making gender the central category of analysis reveals uncharted levels of complexity in the deceptively simple thesis novels and highlights the fact that literary texts are always ineluctably complicit in the production and reproduction of multiple ideologies, often in ways unintended by the author.

Women characters in Galdós's novels are widely read as allegories of nineteenth-century Spain "her"self, oppressed by the ancien régime and the Church and, in later works such as La de Bringas and Fortunata y Jacinta , turning from the traditionally sanctioned embrace of marital-monarchical authority to pursue new freedoms with a lover-republic. Yet the way in which the texts invite this allegorical feminization of Spain itself begs for a further reading, one which calls attention to their relation to the system of sex and gender character-


istic of nineteenth-century Spanish culture. Focusing on this occluded ideological level in the texts allows us to perceive the diverse and polyphonic nature of these early narratives. We should not underestimate the importance of gender ideology to Galdós's early novels. For example, the wellspring of the disasters that befall the hero and heroine of Doña Perfecta lies, as the narrator reveals at the end of the novel, in the perverted maternal instinct and social aspirations of an apparently minor character, María Remedios. In an emblematic moment of anagnorisis, we learn that questions of class and gender have been the prime movers of a social drama ostensibly centered on religious behaviour.

The representation of the heroines in Galdós's early novels is clearly inspired by the fables of angelic feminine victimhood that were so popular in the serialized novels of the time. The paradigm that shapes the Galdosian novels of the 1870s, seen in its most exaggerated form in La Fontana de Oro, Doña Perfecta, Marianela , and Gloria , is the exhibition of the heroine as sweet, suffering victim. These novels follow what Nancy Miller terms a "dysphoric" rather than "euphoric" plot structure.[2] The heroines—meek, loving, virginal young things—are martyred by supporters of the monarchy, caciquismo (corrupt political interests), and the clergy, personified in such characters as doña Perfecta, don Elías Orejón, and the Porreño sisters.

The texts' construction of their religio-political allegories is successful thanks to the mobilization of a whole set of assumed values and conventions of gender. If heroines such as Rosario and Clara act as allegories of liberal "Spain in captivity," as Stephen Gilman suggests, they are successful in arousing the readers' indignation because their conventionally feminine innocence and purity make them blameless victims.[3] Their characterization draws heavily on nineteenth-century constructions of femininity as soft, susceptible, and malleable, both physically and emotionally. They are presented as being more easily destroyed, more vulnerable in their physical and mental integrity, than their male counterparts. Through love, unwittingly they become entangled in politics, about which they remain ignorant until the end. Their role is to suffer and wait, confined within the household, while the hero, outside, struggles with their adversaries and agitates for their release.

The feminine antithesis of the impressionable, docile heroines of the early novels is the type of perverted womanhood represented by


Paulita Porreño, doña Perfecta, Serafina, and María Egipcíaca: domestic tyrants in whom excessive religiosity has warped feminine softness into intolerance and cruelty. Galdós presents female fanaticism as a cloak for unfulfilled and dangerous sensuality, the refuge of the widow, spinster, or unhappily married woman. Doña Perfecta exemplifies this dichotomy of model feminine sensitivity (and moderate piety) versus depraved rigidity caused by religious fanaticism. Wooed by the impetuous liberal Pepe Rey, the angelic Rosario is a hapless pawn imprisoned by her evil mother in a struggle between the forces of reaction and progress. The personification of true womanhood, just as doña Perfecta is the ultimate perversion of her gender, Rosario suffers patiently and incites our moral outrage against the social and religious conservatism of the power-hungry clique in Orbajosa; she functions as an indicator of their selfishness and cruelty. When doña Perfecta finally has Pepe Rey murdered, Rosario becomes quite literally a patient, committed to the local insane asylum.

In the novels Galdós published after the Restoration, the ideal of the angel is refracted in more qualified and equivocal ways. It is the flawed angel who comes to dominate his narratives, rather than the perfect one: he creates a variety of heroines who are endowed with most of the attributes of the ángel del hogar , including the power to redeem and inspire moral admiration, but who deviate in some central way from the model. Marianela, a fragile, self-abnegating child-woman, is, despite her moral beauty, poor and physically ugly. Gloria has an independent and intellectual nature. Pepa Fúcar is in an adulterous relation to León Roch. In elaborating the fictional lives of these characters, Galdós's novels obey the punitive code of nineteenth-century fiction; the heroine's nonconformity, however involuntary, to the desiderata of middle-class feminine conduct—passivity, chastity, humility, domesticity, and piety—is followed by death, insanity, or abandonment, detailed sympathetically but nevertheless presented as an inexorable progression. Interestingly, while La Fontana de Oro originally had a tragic ending, in line with the female victimhood theme of the 1870s, by 1885 Galdós felt moved to alter the ending to a happy one. In the revised version the heroine Clara's story concludes in marriage and rural domesticity, whereas in the earlier version her lover is assassinated and she herself dies of grief.[4]

Gender seems to determine an asymmetric use of realism in Galdós's early novels. The treatment of the heroines obeys a different code


from the representation of the male protagonists and indeed selectively disrupts the narrative's realist or verisimilar dynamic with the discourse of the sentimental novel. The majority of the female protagonists—including Clara, Gloria, Marianela, and María Egipcíaca—die spectacularly of broken hearts. In contrast the heroes, such as Lázaro and Pepe Rey, more commonly meet their ends not for emotional but for physical reasons—the former is stabbed and the latter shot. We perceive the unevenness of the realist aesthetic also when we compare the strikingly verisimilar vignettes of minor female lower-class characters in La Fontana de Oro , such as that of Leoncia, who appears "mal ceñidas las faldas, sin corsé y descubiertas con negligente desnudez las dos terceras partes de su voluminoso seno" (with her skirt badly fastened and no corset, carelessly displaying two-thirds of her ample bosom), with the much more stylized, romantic representation of the heroine as sad, pale, beautiful, orphaned, and utterly innocent.[5]

At the end of the decade Galdós published the first of a series of novels that bear signs of clear departures from the angelic feminine ideal: Gloria (1877) and La familia de León Roch (1878). Both texts stage a subliminal debate about true womanhood that centers on a dialectic between the social and the private, reputation versus individual moral worth. Each novel broadly upholds the premises of conventional gender ideology but advances the potentially revolutionary notion that purity of soul overrides breaches of feminine decorum, and even (in the case of Gloria) the loss of chastity itself. In these novels, the cause of female suffering has shifted at least partly beyond that of the evil machinations of some depraved antithesis to that of oppression at the hands of a system: rather than creating heroines whose prime function is to excite pathos for gothic victims of evil individuals, as in the typical narrative of the time, Galdós began to portray women characters chafing at the constraints of societal expectations. The bourgeois feminine role appears in these novels both as an ideal and as a cause of female dissatisfaction, and the redemptive value of female suffering is no longer always clear.

The Bird-Angel in Gloria

In Gloria this dual dynamic is particularly clear. The text itself has an early alter ego, the manuscript of a lost novel recently rediscovered


and edited by Alan Smith, featuring a heroine called Rosalía who is docile and submissive, and whose lover is a Protestant, rather than a Jew.[6] Yet at the same time as he revised his heroine to make her less like the contemporary angelic ideal, Galdós provided her with a name which has much greater connotations of angelic spirituality. The ambiguity that fuels this change is a central feature of the published novel.

The first few pages of Gloria set up a dialectic of presence and absence, affirmation and denial, which is to characterize the novel. There is a play between various different and more or less ostensibly reliable levels of narrative voice. To begin with, the narrator pretends to be physically accompanying the reader as an interpreter and guide, as we walk towards the town where the events of the novel are to unfold. He addresses the readers directly as "señores" ([ladies and] gentlemen), and is by turns deferentially courteous and mildly imperious (515–16).[7] Yet at other times, particularly during the reporting of important scenes, this personal voice is noticeably absent. The capacity to fluctuate between different levels of personal and impersonal narrative presentation takes an important role in the work's first part, since it enables the narrative both to mount and to undercut a potentially polemical critique of middle-class culture's view of woman's place.

The characterization of Gloria at the outset is carefully designed to suggest that she is a model young woman, an ángel del hogar . She was enthusiastically hailed as such by Clarín, who declared that "Gloria es un alma purísima de belleza celestial" (Gloria is a soul of the purest celestial beauty).[8] Early scenes involving Gloria, for example with Caifás, the villager to whom she plays a ministering angel, suggest that she is a model heroine, for they establish her domesticity, purity, piety, and nurturing skills. She is young, pallid, and beautiful, comes from a respectable middle-class household, and is "buena, piadosa y honesta" (kind, pious, and virtuous [518]). She has domestic instincts, rising at the crack of dawn to attend to her household duties (550). She exercises self-denial and exhibits charity to the poor. Caifás repeatedly characterizes her as a guardian angel from heaven (540). Tender-hearted, maternal, and deeply sensitive (517), she is identified with love from the outset, when we first see her at her window. Her life before Daniel Morton's arrival consists of needlework, household duties, and hopes of love.


Yet aspects of the nineteenth-century feminist discourse which represented women as painfully confined by domesticity are also insistently present in the first part of the novel. In the opening pages, the narrator introduces two images which are to be central to the first half of the work: that of the home as prison, and that of the heroine as caged bird. Significantly, our first introduction to the Lantigua household is an ironic reference to the joys of living in what is termed a prison (516); the narrative links the heroine through a series of metaphors to a bird prevented from flying: "hasta cuando el pájaro anda se le conoce que tiene alas" (even when a bird isn't flying you can tell it has wings [517]). The reason for this becomes clear as Gloria's characterization is developed: she is a woman of considerable intellectual stature and is therefore doomed to dissatisfaction. The narrator frequently directs the reader's attention to the conflict between the heroine's desire for mental freedom and exercise, represented in the text as the desire to use her "wings," and the familial injunction to be an immobile and enclosed angel in the house. As the novel progresses, the ideal feminine role for which Gloria is being trained is increasingly associated with an image of constraint and mutilation that had a long history as a political metaphor: like a domestic bird unable to fly, the heroine, says the narrator, "tenía cortadas las alas" (had clipped wings [525]). The bird imagery in Gloria frequently evokes the romantic tradition of symbolizing the untrammelled natural liberties and power of the individual via winged creatures, a tradition which women writers in Spain had used to suggest that conventional femininity was coercive and restrictive. Originally a symbol for the liberal cause during the French Revolution, bird imagery was adopted by Spanish women writers during the 1840s as a feminist metaphor for the self, as is graphically evident in poems such as "Ultimo canto" and "Untitled" by Carolina Coronado and "A mi jilguero" by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda. The connection between women and birds seems also to have figured in an enigmatic personal mythology of Galdós's own: H. Chonon Berkowitz's biography of the author mentions that as a student, Galdós became notorious on the Madrid café scene for the dexterity and obsessiveness with which he would fashion paper figures that always took two forms: birds, which he would launch into the air, or prostitutes; they earned him the twin titles of "Little Paper-Birds Man" and "Harlot Kid."[9]


The names of Gloria's relatives suggest their intimate involvement with the process of making an angel out of her, for example, her uncle Angel and her aunt and Serafinita (little seraph). The diminutive form used for Serafina and don Angel's characterization as a child contribute to the association between an angelic nature and infantilism or stunted growth. The allusion to antiquity in Gloria's family name, Lantigua, can also be interpreted symbolically, for the ideology of domesticity constantly harked back to a mythical past, as Andreu shows;[10] the name of the heroine's father, Juan Crisóstomo, links him with the church father who preached the silencing of women. All three of the heroine's relatives take part in the process of containing, confining, and intervening with her that goes on throughout the novel.

The relationship portrayed between the heroine and her father is a particularly clear example of the intertwining of feminist and liberal humanist discourse in part 1. Lantigua's general philosophy is coercive: he believes that "la Humanidad pervertida y desapoderada merece un camisón de fuerza" (the human race is perverse and ungovernable and requires a straitjacket [520]). The link between his neo-Catholicism and his espousal of patriarchal sexual politics is laid out for the reader in part 1. The suitor he has chosen for Gloria is metaphorically linked to a tomb. The narrator points out that Lantigua's main criterion in the education of his daughter is containment rather than growth: "creía que con encerrar a su hija en el colegio bastaba" (he thought that shutting his daughter up in school would do the trick [521]). Lantigua tells her that she must rein in her thoughts and bow her neck to the yoke of authority (532). While he lectures her on the marriage he is planning for her, Gloria remains silent, incapable of words, but with the point of her parasol she draws in the sand. As her future is dictated, the thing that she is drawing is gradually revealed, without comment, by the narrator. It provides a visual metaphor for the sensation of imprisonment which Gloria is presumably experiencing in her mutism, for it is an enrejado (iron grid [532]). Having symbolically completed her picture with arrows, like the gate of a castle keep, Gloria announces her acquiescence: "Bien, papa; yo haré siempre lo que usted me mande" (Very well, Papa; I shall always do as you command [533]). Later, Gloria envisages this consent as a voluntary self-mutilation: "Mi padre me ha dicho varias veces que si no corto las alas al pensamiento voy a ser


muy desgraciada . . . Vengan, pues, las tijeras" (My father has often told me that if I don't clip the wings of my mind I'm going to be very unhappy . . . So let's have the scissors [534]).

Chapters 5 and 6 of part 1 deal with Gloria's reading and the markedly heterodox development of her intellect. She displays a startling capacity for independent thought. Menéndez y Pelayo found the characterization of Gloria unacceptable in the extreme because of her intellectual tendencies, considered unfeminine at the time. Indeed, the representation of Gloria in part 1 apparently caused him to class the novel among the most "heterodox" of Spanish literary productions.[11] On more than one occasion, Gloria contradicts canonical interpretations of history and literature. Each time she is either dismissed or else severely reprimanded by her father: "¿Qué entiendes tú de eso? Vete a tocar el piano" (What do you know about that? Go off and play the piano [521]). Lantigua limits his daughter's mental travels by barring her access to the novels in his library, citing the still popular notion that novels were dangerous for women's virtue: "enardecen la imaginación, encienden deseos y afanes en el limpio corazón de las muchachas" (they fire up the imagination, and set desires and urges in the pure hearts of girls [522]). Lantigua has his daughter read aloud to him from religious and moral works. However, in the intervals while he is writing, she secretly devours forbidden risqué classics such as La Celestina and El Buscón . At one point, Gloria embarrasses her father by voicing in male company her opinion that the society and literature of the Golden Age are not the pinnacles of achievement her father believes them to be. Lantigua's response deserves quoting in full, because it illustrates how Galdós's trick of slipping in and out of free indirect style allows the author to create a tension between the character's patriarchal viewpoint and that of the narrator, who takes pains to distance himself from Lantigua at this point. Lantigua, who holds that religion, politics, and history are male preserves upon which Gloria has no right to comment, qualifies her independence of mind as mad and sinful. His self-congratulatory report of this lecture is, however, prefaced by some words in the narrator's own voice, so heavily loaded with sarcasm that we cannot safely conflate the two:

Más tarde, cuando los sabios privaron a la casa de su presencia majestuosa, don Juan de Lantigua, a quien as absurdas opiniones de su hija habían puesto algo malhumorado, encerróse con ella y la reprendió


afablemente, ordenándole que en lo sucesivo interpretase con más rectitud la Historia y la Literatura. Afirmó que el entendimiento de una mujer era incapaz de apreciar asunto tan grande, para cuyo conocimiento no bastaban laboriosas lecturas, ni aun en hombres juiciosos y amaestrados en la crítica. Díjole también que cuanto se ha escrito por varones insignes sobre diversos puntos de Religión, de Política y de Historia, forma como un código respetable ante el cual es preciso bajar la cabeza; y concluyó con una repetición burlesca de los disparates y abominaciones que Gloria había dicho, y que, evidentemente, la conducirían, no poniendo freno en ello, al extravío de la razón, a la herejía y tal vez al pecado. (524)

(Later, when the learned personages had deprived the household of their august presence, don Juan de Lantigua, who had been somewhat put out by his daughter's absurd opinions, shut himself up with her and rebuked her affably, ordering her in future to be more careful in her interpretation of History and Literature. He declared that a woman's brain was incapable of comprehending such a weighty matter, and that extensive reading did not equip one to understand it, not even if one were a wise man with a training in criticism. He also told her that everything that has been written by famous gentlemen on various points of Religion, Politics, and History forms a respected code of opinion before which we must bow; and he ended with a parodic repetition of the idiotic and abominable things Gloria had said, which, if she did not restrain herself, would obviously lead to error, heresy, and perhaps sin.)

Montesinos, puzzled by this chapter, which clearly disturbs the traditional notion of Gloria as dealing only with religious issues, pronounces it superfluous. From our perspective, however, it shows the author explicitly bringing to the reader's attention the fact that "correct" ways of reading texts were defined by men, and that women's potential for creative thought and free exposure to different kinds of writing was severely limited by the gender roles of a patriarchal society which prescribed the ideals of submissiveness and chastity for the female sex. Lantigua invokes a patriarchal canon, the "respected code of opinion to which we must bow," produced by "famous gentlemen" who define the correct ways to interpret history and literature. Gloria assents to this curtailing of her mental horizons. Crucially, she vows henceforth to read only material suitable for an angel in the house: "hizo voto de no volver a leer cosa alguna escrita o impresa, como no fuera el libro de misa, las cuentas de la casa y las car-


tas de sus tíos" (she vowed never again to read any written or printed work unless it were the missal, the household accounts, or letters from her aunts and uncles [525]). In trying to limit her mind to the pattern set for the angelic woman, Gloria begins to incorporate the patriarchal notion of female creative powers as monstrous: "aquella facultad suya de discernir era como un monstruo fecundo que llevaba dentro de sí y que a todas horas estaba procreando ideas" (that power of discernment she possessed was like a fertile monster which she carried within herself and which was always incubating ideas [525]). But her vow of obedience is short-lived. After the introduction of Daniel Morton into the household, Gloria begins to question her father's ideas about religion, falling as she does so into a sin whose textual name reveals her longing for space and freedom: latitudinarianism. Again, the heroine's desires are figured in terms of flying: the narrator comments at the end of part 1 that "Gloria movía con más vigor a cada instante as funestas alas de su latitudinarismo" (The fateful wings of Gloria's latitudinarianism beat more energetically every minute [579]).

Images of flight as revolt against the feminine role occur repeatedly in chapter 26. In this chapter, appropriately entitled "The Rebellious Angel," Gloria's Satanic or Promethean revolt against her father's religious creed is also a rebellion against the special requirements for the female angel. The use of interior monologue constructs a heroine tormented by contending impulses, on the one hand to obedience and immobility and on the other to self-assertiveness, power, and flight. The description of her struggle is presented in such a way as to thwart moral condemnation, for the hubristic inner voice urging Gloria to rebellion speaks not as the devil but as an echo of Christ: "Levántate, no temas. Tu entendimiento es grande y poderoso. Abandona esa sumisión embrutecedora, abandona la pusilanimidad que te ha oprimido. . . . Tú puedes mucho. Eres grande: no te empeñes en ser chica. Tú puedes volar hasta los astros; no te arrastres por la tierra" (Arise, fear not. Your mind is great and powerful. Cast off that stupefying submissiveness, cast off the cowardice which has oppressed you. . . . You are capable of many things. You are great; don't insist on being small. You can fly to the stars; don't drag along the ground [569]). Gloria imagines her hidden strength to be such that, released, it would destroy the myths of male authority around her: "Yo sé más que mi


padre, yo sé más que mi tío. Les oigo hablar, hablar . . . y en mis adentros digo: 'Con una frase sola echaría abajo toda esa balumba de palabras' " (I know more than my father and my uncle. I listen to them talk and talk . . . and I say to myself: "with a single sentence I could knock down this whole heap of words" [569]). Her fantasies of power and destructive revolt are accompanied by a clear intuition that she has acquiesced to the mutilation of her own wings:

Yo he sido hipócrita; yo me dejé cortar las alas, y cuando me han vuelto a crecer he hecho como si no las tuviera . . . He afectado someter mi pensamiento al pensamiento ajeno y reducir mi alma, encerrándola dentro de una esfera mezquina. Pero no. ¡El cielo no es del tamaño del vidrio con que se mira! Es muy grande. Yo saldré fuera de este capullo en que estoy metida, porque ha sonado la hora de que salga, y Dios me dice: "Sal, porque yo te hice para tener luz propia, como el Sol, no para reflejar la ajena, como un charco de agua." (569)

(I have been hypocritical; I allowed my wings to be clipped, and when they grew back I acted as if I didn't have any . . . I have pretended to submit my thoughts to those of others and to shrink my soul, shutting it up in a cramped space. But it can't be done. The sky isn't the same size as the glasses through which we look at it! It's enormous. I will get out of this cocoon I'm trapped in, because my time has come, and God says to me: "Come out, because I made you to shine with your own light, like the sun, and not to reflect someone else's, like a puddle.")

This same chapter compares Gloria, in a curiously double-layered imaged, to an angel with a halo and to a sleeping bird: "de su brazo derecho hacía una aureola, dentro de la cual metía la cabeza, escondiendo el rostro como lo esconde el pájaro bajo el ala" (her right arm made a halo above her head, and she nestled into it, hiding her face like a bird beneath its wing [567]). Although in this particular instance the bird and the angel can almost be conflated—the bird is sweet, innocent, sentimentalized, and not wild, soaring, or free—normally the two images are counterpoised in the novel. At one point, the connection between domesticity and imprisonment is made explicit:

[Gloria] corrió a la cocina. Su alma revoloteaba en el seno del éter más puro, en plena luz celestial, como los ángeles que agitan sus alas junto al trono del Señor en todas sus cosas. . . . Y era en verdad contraste singular que mientras su alma, como dice el Salmista, escapaba al monte cual ave , estuviese su cuerpo en lugar tan rastrero como una cocina, y arremangándose los lindos brazos y poniéndose un delantal blanco,


empezara a batir con ligera mano muchedumbre de claras y yemas de huevo." (552)

([Gloria] ran off to the kitchen. Her soul was fluttering about in the midst of the purest ether, bathed in celestial light, like the winged angels around the throne of the Lord of creation. . . . The contrast was a strange one indeed; while her soul, in the words of the Psalm, fled like a bird to the hills , her body remained in that humblest of places: a kitchen. Rolling up the sleeves on her pretty arms and donning a white apron, she began lightly to beat a big bowl of yolks and whites of eggs.)

Even though the narrator's avuncular tone and his prettifying vision of Gloria here somewhat efface the power of the contrast, the tropes of winged creatures are so persistent that they overwhelm the narrative's efforts to dilute and coopt them. We are continually furnished with instances of the heroine's compulsion to gender rebellion. She wishes to be like the masculine principle of the sun, an independent source of light, rather than the feminine principle of reflection. The choice that Gloria faces, besides being a choice between religious orthodoxy and heterodoxy, is also one of conformity to or rebellion against the model of femininity.

In part 1, then, intertwined with the critique of neo-Catholicism, we can read a critique of patriarchal sexual politics and their effect upon the heroine. Galdós provides a strikingly modern analysis of the way that women were excluded from the historical and literary discourses of his time, and of the experience of the angelic role as confining and mutilating. The novel does not, however, consistently maintain the feminist critique of gender roles which it undertakes at the outset. It consists of two parts, which were published separately, and in which we can trace fundamentally opposing ideologies of woman's place. Part 1 details the rise but also the end of Gloria's rebellious stance. Halfway through the novel, with Gloria's fall, there is a radical shift in the characterization of the heroine. In the early descriptions of Gloria, before the appearance of Daniel, and up until her union with him, the tragedy we are invited to consider is the destruction of Gloria's free mind because of the requirements placed on women by a society whose central icon is that of a confined, domestic angel. This theme is not pursued further, for the subject of Gloria's struggle to use her mental powers is abandoned once she loses her chastity to Daniel Morton, at the end of part 1. The results of this fall are so catastrophic that she no longer fights to use her mind for


herself. The choice she faced earlier of whether to rebel against femininity or resign herself to it is translated into the emblematic feminine dilemma of love for a man versus duty to family.

The sexual union between Gloria and Daniel is staged in a storm and flood of gothic proportions, signalling the disturbance and disorder of the entire cosmos. Even though, like Tess of the D'Urbervilles, the heroine is passively propelled by circumstance and her lover into succumbing, her loss of chastity is still symbolically invested with earthshaking implications: "Después soplaba de nuevo con rabia; las ramas, en su rozar vertiginoso, se azotaban unas a otras, y parecía que entre aquel torbellino, difundido por la inmensidad de los cielos, se estaba oyendo el rumor de las rotas alas de un ángel que caía lanzado del Paraíso" (Then the wind started gusting furiously again; the branches scraped and writhed and lashed against one another, and it seemed as if in the midst of the gale, lost in the vastness of the heavens, you could hear the fall of an angel with broken wings being expelled from Paradise [592]). The storm indeed presages dire consequences for the heroine, for after consummating their love, Daniel reveals that he is not, as Gloria had assumed, a Protestant, but a Jew. Gloria's sexual initiation is, furthermore, figured as striking at the very heart of the patriarchal order, for upon discovering the lovers in Gloria's bedroom, her father falls dead instantly of a heart attack. Gloria's disobedience has rendered her nothing less than a parricide.

At this central point of the novel, the metaphor of breaking wings is employed for the heroine's loss of chastity. In context the metaphor bears an important second meaning, which is that Gloria's powerful, independent thought processes are now destroyed. From this point on her path is one of submission and obedience, not free flight. She uses all her energy to conform to the angelic mould which, in the eyes of contemporary society, has been irreparably shattered by her extramarital sexual initiation. Ironically, it is at the point when Gloria becomes, in conventional terms, a fallen woman, that she comes to seem most conventionally angelic. The latter half of the novel traces Gloria's decline, during which she demonstrates two main characteristics of the angel figure: woman as redemptive sacrificial victim, and woman as mother. Thus the narrative foregrounds the image of woman as angel rather than as caged bird, and the latter image is largely left behind. Hence the domestic ideology of the middle classes, which was subverted in the opening pages of the novel, is at


last reaffirmed. The angelic values of purity, piety, submissiveness, martyrdom, and motherhood displace the earlier transgressive, intellectual, rebellious stance of the heroine. After her fall Gloria begins a long process of atoning self-effacement which culminates in her death. Far from completing the process of rebellion against the injunction of her societal environment to "suffer and be still" begun in her youth, she now concurs with it completely. The silencing and confinement imposed on her by her father in part 1 she now imposes on herself: her "confinement" in order to give birth to an illegitimate son has become the reason for a perpetual confinement with the ultimate fin (ending) of death.

In part 2, the patriarchal construction of gender imposed on Gloria by the male characters is taken up and endorsed by women: by Gloria herself, by the women in Ficóbriga, and by her aunt Serafina. All of them combine to uphold the ángel del hogar as the model of womanhood and to punish Gloria's departure from it. The narrative stance here is contradictory, for although the narrator displays a good deal of dislike for the punitive zeal of these women, the text nevertheless presents Gloria as admirable for submitting to them. As a result of her fall Gloria becomes almost totally submissive, focused obediently on the need for Christlike penitential suffering. She is tutored by Serafina in remorse and self-sacrifice, and has become desperate to conform: "'¿Qué debo hacer para no ser rebelde? Estoy dispuesta a todo,' declaró la joven, arrojando fuera hasta el último átomo, si así puede decirse, de libre albedrío" ("What must I do not to be rebellious? I'll do anything," the young woman declared, abandoning, as it were, the last remaining atom of her free will [617]). Her resignation and self-prostration are clearly intended to be construed as signs of nobility of soul. Her self-offering is made in the language of the female mystics: "acepto la expiación horrible . . . no diré una sola voz por defenderme, porque sé que todo lo merezco, que mis culpas son grandes; bebo hasta lo más hondo, hasta lo más repugnante de este cáliz amargo, y ofrezco a Dios mi corazón llagado, que chorrea sangre y que jamás, en lo que le resta de vida, dará un latido que no sea un dolor" (I accept this hideous penance . . . I shall not say a single word in my own defence, because I know I deserve it all, that I have sinned a great deal; I shall drink this bitter cup down to its last dregs, and I offer up to God my wounded and bleeding heart, which will never again, as long as it lives, give a painfree beat [617]). By the


end of the novel, Gloria has explicitly abdicated her own will and dedicated herself to becoming the instrument of her family, in obedience to nineteenth-century culture's injunction to women (662).

In accordance with the ideology of domesticity, motherhood is invoked in part 2 as a central value. Not only is Gloria now idealized in her motherly role, but the maternal instinct is presented as an irresistible biological and moral force in both the heroine and Esther Spinoza, Daniel Morton's mother. Since fallen women were typically imagined to be bad mothers or, to use the phrase of the day, "desnaturalizadas" (unnatural women), Gloria's overwhelming love for her child acts as a sort of moral shorthand to the reader not to dismiss her as immoral. She refuses to give up seeing her son, despite Serafina's exhortations, for although she now professes to despise herself as a woman, "como madre no puedo hacerlo" (as a mother I cannot do so [653]). It is maternal instinct that causes her to flout prohibition and to overcome her own intense physical weakness in order to visit the child alone, at night. She describes the bond with her son as noble, sacred, and divinely inspired, all conventional nineteenth-century epithets for motherhood, and defends her right to see her baby in melodramatic terms (653–55). Chapter 21, in which Gloria makes her final via crucis to the child's cradle, is entitled "Mater Amabilis": she is a mother worthy of love. The narrator now refers to her simply as "the mother" (691) and "the unhappy mother." The immensely painful effort of her last journey, undertaken whilst Gloria is in a state of near collapse, shows how she, as the model of true womanhood, is entirely devoted to the child's welfare rather than her own. In this final journey the parallel between Gloria and the Mater Dolorosa is very clear. Love, marriage, and the family have replaced individual self-affirmation as the central dynamic in the heroine's character.

After her fall Gloria continues to manifest the same strength of character she demonstrated earlier in the novel, but it is turned inwards against herself. In the first part Gloria's inner voice tells her that she should emerge from her "cocoon" and exercise the "wings" of her mind. But she makes a penitential return to the cocoon in the second part, deliberately arresting her own growth and development. She submits herself to a long process of atonement and tries to conform to the image of the angel woman. She has internalized the angelic ideal of selflessness and self-sacrifice. Like the angel, she becomes an icon of passivity—in strong contrast to the restlessness and


movement which she manifested at the outset. In the opening chapters she was described as lively, vivacious, and restless; "allí dentro había un espíritu de enérgica vitalidad, que necesitaba emplearse constantemente" ([in her eyes] there was a spirit of powerful vitality that craved constant occupation [517]). By the second half of the work she has become virtually lifeless. In chapter 26, entitled "The Captive," Gloria is ambushed by Daniel on her way home from a clandestine visit to her son. Feminine weakness, beauty, and suffering are contrasted to masculine strength, action, and energy in a cameo of conventional manliness and womanliness:

Santóse [Daniel] en una gran piedra del camino, sin dejar de sostener a la joven en los brazos, y la puso sobre sus rodillas, cual si fuera la carga más ligera. . . . Presa en los amantes brazos, Gloria permanecía inmóvil, y el mantón que la cubría, dejando tan sólo libre la preciosa y afligida cara, hacía más estrecha la prisión en que se encontraba. (646)

([Daniel] sat down on a rock by the wayside, still holding the young woman in his arms, and put her on his knees as if she were as light as a feather. . . . Captive in his loving arms, Gloria lay motionless, and the cloak in which she was wrapped, from which only her beautiful, sad face emerged, imprisoned her still further.)

As angelic heroine, Gloria is exquisitely sensitive. The trauma of admitting to Daniel the existence of their son causes her to lose consciousness and to have to be transported home in an invalid state (647). Her moral sense is so acute that voicing the secret that she has borne an illegitimate child causes her to begin to die of shame.

In Gloria , as in Doña Perfecta , Galdós used the powerfully sentimental plot of the woman whose heart breaks because she cannot marry her true love, in order to illustrate that religious antagonism can have tragic results. But the subtexts of both novels' "theses," the terms in which they are framed, follow cultural notions of gender. Galdós creates a fiancé for Gloria who is, in the context of the Spanish obsession with limpieza de sangre (racial purity and Christian orthodoxy), implacably other, by reason of his Jewishness. In order for Gloria to have a relationship with a non-Catholic, the author has to endow her with sufficient independence of mind to question her neo-Catholic upbringing. Yet it is precisely this quality that must be jettisoned if the work's appeal for religious freedom is to find favour with a mainstream liberal audience, who would find a thoroughly


emancipated heroine distasteful. In order to present the thwarting of their union as a tragic waste produced by unnecessary intolerance, rather than a just and necessary outcome, the narrative stresses that despite their disparate religions the lovers are perfectly conventional mates, ideals of manliness and femininity according to the ideology of the time.

The end of the novel is suffused by a characteristically nineteenth-century predilection for transfigured and visionary dying women, seen at its most spectacular in operas such as La Traviata . Gloria's death is represented as an obedient self-erasure (688), whose pathos Galdós exploits to the full. His representation of the moribund heroine repeatedly evokes the image of the ángel del hogar that was such a positive term throughout part 2. She speaks with an "angelic smile" (694), declaring that "mi esposo y mi hijo subirán conmigo a descansar a la sombra de ese árbol celestial en cuyas ramas cantan los ángeles" (my husband and son will rise with me to rest in the shadow of that heavenly tree in whose branches the angels sing [695]). Daniel calls her his "poor angel" (694), and when she finally dies, having wrung a promise of conversion from him, we are told that she is being carried off to heaven by the angels (697). Significantly, Gloria dies at the very moment on Easter Sunday when the priest is intoning the Gloria in excelsis Deo , just after she has uttered the words "mañana serás conmigo en el Paraíso" (tomorrow you will be with me in Paradise [697]). Since she has also produced a son called Jesús, Gloria has come, by the end of the novel, to fulfil the ambiguous spiritual function of the angel, identified at once with the Virgin Mary and, thanks to her almost ritualistic immolation, with the redemptive powers of Christ, the supreme sacrificial victim.

As we have seen, the representation of the heroine changes direction halfway through the novel, creating an intriguing combination of reaction against and reiteration of middle-class domestic ideology and its attendant vision of womanhood.[12] The very power of this cultural stereotype is attested by the way it resurfaces in a novel whose initial premises overtly opposed it. The figure of woman as suffering, redemptive victim, living only for her relations with man, is resoundingly restated. In part 2, the Promethean rebel is replaced by a woman whose entire being is concentrated upon doing penance for disobeying her father, whilst suffering because she cannot marry her natural mate or care for her son. In the place of the lively, spirited, rebellious adolescent girl of part 1 we see a debilitated, fragile, spiritu-


alized angel woman who struggles painfully to a visionary death. Gloria's acquiescence to the cultural code embodied in the angel woman becomes the index by which we are invited to judge her as morally worthy. The contrast in the fates of heroine and hero upholds the nineteenth-century dictum that "woman cannot live without man," since "the end of woman on this earth, her evident vocation, is love";[13] while the heroine dies, the hero survives, albeit tortured and, in later years, insane.

The author himself was, according to Clarín, dissatisfied with the second half, pronouncing it "postiza y tourmentée " (artificial and tourmentée [28]). There is no doubt that he provides a conservative resolution of the questions about gender roles raised in the early part of the novel. The narrative recoils from its own subversion of conventional femininity. In tracing the heroine's evolution into a suffering angel, the novel reaffirms the very ideology that it had challenged. The narrative resolution is not, however, wholly effective. It cannot efface from the readers' memory the persistent imagery evoking enclosure and oppression, which formed a subversive symbolic structure "opposed to the sexual values of the direct narrative."[14] In later novels, this repressed awareness of the problematic, oppressive nature of the gender system was to surface more and more overtly.

León Roch's Wife

La familia de León Roch (1878), the last of Galdós's so-called thesis novels, portrays a triangular relationship between León Roch, a young Krausist intellectual, and two women: his wife, María Egipcíaca, a fanatical Catholic, and Pepa Fúcar, the ideal woman whom León comes to realize he should have married. The fact that León Roch is indirectly identified with the Krausist movement and that Galdós himself was loosely associated with it is by now a commonplace of Galdós criticism.[15] Yet La familia de León Roch itself has been relatively little studied. It is an intriguing novel, which probes the intricate connections between religion and marriage in Restoration Spain, staging in the process a complex crosscultural dialogue between the strain of Krausist thought peculiar to nineteenth-century Spain and the more widespread Victorian views on gender.

Krausism began as a body of mystical idealist theory formulated by a minor German philosopher, Karl Christian von Krause. It was imported to Spain by one of his disciples, Julián Sanz del Río, an


academic who popularized Krause's work among the faculty and students of Madrid University, among them Galdós, who studied there in the early 1860s. Sanz del Río published a translation of Krause's main work, the Ideal de la humanidad para la vida , in 1860. Widely read among the country's intelligentsia, the treatise led to a movement for progressive social, intellectual, and spiritual reform that was extremely influential in the last forty years of the nineteenth century and aroused great suspicion within the Catholic establishment. The Krausist movement offered a way of reconciling religious faith with rational humanism through militant support for freedom of thought and spiritual autonomy. Its outlook was rigorously intellectual, humanistic, ethical, rational, tolerant of all religious positions, and pro-European. Its supporters, who were mostly liberal and republican academics, men of letters and politicians, believed strongly in the power of education to regenerate and perfect society, and were instrumental in founding the Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Mujer (1870) and the Institución Libre de Enseñanza (1876), the two most progressive educational institutions in Spain.[16]

Krausists were often satirized as idealistic, bookish ascetics, and this leads us to the plot of La familia de León Roch . The novel centres on the spectacular failure of a husband's formative plans for his wife. [León Roch, contemplating marriage to the beautiful María at the beginning of the novel, thinks of her as a tabula rasa , "amante y sumisa" (loving and submissive [816]), on which he plans to inscribe his own will and thereby create the ideal family.[17] The novel, however, follows the progressive miscarriage of his plans; instead of applauding his rationalist project, María clings ever more stubbornly to her Catholicism, until the couple are entirely estranged. In the meantime León is reacquainted with his former sweetheart, Pepa Fúcar, who becomes in effect his mistress, albeit platonically. After he moves out of the marital household in order to be closer to Pepa, his wife suffers a dramatic attack of hysteria provoked by jealousy and dies. The marriage of León to Pepa remains impossible, however, for Pepa's husband, Cimarra, long presumed dead, now reappears to claim her, and the lovers are forced to separate forever. León's Krausist dream of achieving familial harmony and unity by what he thinks are ethical and rational means has proved a resounding disaster. A thoughtful reader is left with many questions. What does León Roch's failure mean—an attack on Krausism, or an attack on the Church? Is the


novel a misogynistic creation or a satire on male hubris? and why does religion have such a part in this fictional marriage?

The last point is easiest to answer. In the early 1870s Krausist free-thinkers had begun to clash with the supporters of religious orthodoxy and various professors were subsequently fired or imprisoned, giving rise to much public controversy. Galdós had written in his artistic manifesto of 1870 that he was concerned to show the divisive effect of religion upon the bourgeois family unit. It was the business of the novelist, he stated, to search for "el origen y el remedio de ciertos males que turban las familias. . . . Descuella en primer lugar el problema religioso, que perturba los hogares y . . . afloja o rompe los lazos morales y civiles que forman la familia" (the causes and remedies for those ills threatening family life. . . . What is most striking is the problem of religion, which causes such upheavals in families and . . . loosens or breaks the moral and civil ties that bind the family).[18]

Galdós was, of course, not alone in perceiving religion, particularly as it affected women and the family, as a stress point in contemporary society. In nineteenth-century Spain, as elsewhere in western Europe, piety was considered the province of women.[19] As increasing numbers of men privately or publicly renounced Catholic dogma, the special relationship between women and the Church came to be at once assiduously cultivated by the clergy and angrily protested by liberal men concerned with the threat to marital authority. Alfred Rodriguez attributes the inspiration for La familia to an inflammatory anticlerical work by Jules Michelet, Le Prêtre, la femme, et la famille (1845), which warned liberal men that "nos femmes et nos filles sont élevées, gouvernées, par nos ennemis " (our wives and daughters are raised and controlled by our enemies ).[20] With the increase in Church power that came with the Restoration, women occupied an ever more pivotal position in the contest for social and political power.

The question of religion and marital relations formed the substance of a proven source text for La familia : Gumersindo de Azcárate's polemical work Minuta de un testamento (1876). Particularly interesting in the Minuta is the exposition of a philosophy of marriage and women's place that was appealing to Spanish Krausists. Azcárate's narrator chooses a devout, loving, intelligent, and virtuous wife whom he guides into a sympathetic understanding of non-Catholic thought. He undergoes a crisis of faith which he keeps from her for many years. When he finally reveals his agnosticism, his


wife responds with tolerance and understanding, and they devise a rational plan for bringing up their children in the light of their father's inability to participate in Catholic devotional practice.

Krausist gender ideology in the 1870s was largely, though not entirely, situated within the mainstream current of Victorian thought. Its concept of marriage as the union of dialectical opposites combining to form a harmonious whole fit well with the emerging middle-class construction of the sexes as different and complementary.[21] The Spanish Krausists all believed in the necessity of educating Spanish women.[22] However, theirs was not an emancipationist position: documents such as the Minuta and the Krausist lectures for women that began in 1869 show that, with a few possible exceptions such as Rafael María de Labra, their rationale for promoting the education of women was nationalist rather than feminist; by making better wives and mothers, they argued, the general standard of education of future generations of Spanish children could be raised. Krause's Ideal de la humanidad para la vida states that women should be educated but appends the telling catchphrase, seen in so many nineteenth-century treatises on women's education, that this should be done "en relacion proporcionada con su carácter y su destino" (in proper relation to their character and destiny).[23] Azcárate, who argues that legislation to improve women's position would be superfluous, proposes the need for the married woman to be educated,

para que pueda contribuir á la [felicidad] de su marido y preparar la de sus hijos. Solo atendiendo al cultivo de sus facultades, podrá ser capaz de interesarse vivamente en todo cuanto importa al compañero de su vida, el cual, lejos de sentir entonces en el seno del hogar el vacío que á tantos obliga á buscar fuera de la familia lo que dentro de ella no encuentran, hallará quien comparta sus alegrías y tristezas, no solo sintiéndolas, sino tambien comprendiéndolas.

(so that she may contribute to the [happiness] of her husband and create that of her children. Only if her mind is cultivated will she be able to take a lively interest in everything that matters to the man in her life, who, far from sensing that emptiness in the heart of the home which drives so many husbands to look outside the family for what they fail to find within it, will find someone to share his joys and sorrows, someone not only capable of feeling them, but understanding them.)[24]

The Krausist proposition that women should be educated to be better helpmates, but not in order to be independent or enter the male


working sphere, meshed with contemporary Victorian domestic ideology; helping to promulgate the Ruskinian reverence for the ideology of the ángel del hogar which included a moderate, prefeminist view of women's education were influential Krausist thinkers such as Fernando de Castro and Giner de los Ríos, who worked to Europeanize social, political, and intellectual life in Spain.[25]

Krausism's construction of gender does, however, differ from Victorian domestic ideology in one respect: the position that it allots to man. Far from being the errant male redeemable only by the purity of the angel wife, as in the Victorian model, in Krausist thought the rational man is capable of chastity before marriage and fidelity after it.[26] Because of this capacity for purity it is man, and not woman, who figures as the primary redeeming force in the family and society, and indeed it was Giner de los Ríos's dream of creating a nation of "new men" that was a driving force behind the creation of the famous Institución Libre de Enseñanza.[27] Thus Krausism negates the one potentially liberating aspect of the ideology of domesticity: its positioning of woman as the morally superior saviour of society, a concept which, for all its drawbacks, offers the basis for women's later work outside the home.

The Krausists' belief that men were called to be the redeemers of society led to a contradiction in the movement's position on gender; despite Krause's affirmation of the equality of the sexes, the Spanish Krausists of the 1860s and 1870s, by stressing the husband's role as teacher and shaper of his wife, in fact drew on the traditional hierarchical model of gender difference, originating in Aristotle and still firmly rooted in the nineteenth-century European imagination, in which the female decidedly occupies the inferior role.[28] The Spanish Krausists' allegiance to the Pygmalion myth of male primacy gives the lie to their propositions of egalitarian harmony between the sexes. The Pygmalion motif is common in nineteenth-century works by men about women, in Spain as elsewhere. Michelet, writing on marriage in L'amour (1858), tells future husbands, in a section entitled "Il faut que tu crées ta femme: elle ne demande pas mieux," that men are the "ouvriers, créateurs, et fabricateurs" of their wives.[29] Dr. Monlau's popular Spanish work on marriage repeats this advice: "el hombre hace a la mujer " (man makes woman ).[30] Galdós himself, in an 1870 essay, had described woman as innately more malleable than man: "más flexible y movediza que su compañero . . . cede prontamente a la influencia


exterior, adopta las ideas y los sentimientos que se le imponen y concluye por no ser sino lo que el hombre quiere que sea . . . un reflejo de las locuras o de las sublimidades del hombre" (more docile and fickle than her mate . . . she is easily swayed by the influence of others, and adopts the ideas and sentiments that are imposed on her, and ends up being only what man wants her to be . . . a reflection of his folly or of his sublime aspects).[31]

Yet Galdós's novelistic treatment of this issue is much more ambiguous than his personal endorsement of the myth of male moulders might lead us to suppose. He seems to delight in making the utopic Krausist vision of marriage miscarry in his fictional world. The moulding enterprise, central to so many of his works, takes in La familia de León Roch the form of a gendered power struggle. A modern incarnation of Pygmalion, León Roch takes a more crudely patriarchal line than Azcárate's narrator, stating blatantly that his role as husband is that of the mind shaping or forming the passive, malleable, female matter he supposes his wife to be. In expounding his educational plans for María, he constantly recurs to godlike images of artistic creation: "podré hacerla a mi imagen y semejanza" (I can make her in my own image and likeness [796]), he declares; "empezaré a modelar—empleaba con mucha frecuencia este término de escultura—el carácter de María. Es un barro exquisito, pero apenas tiene forma" (I shall start to model—he often used this sculptor's term—María's personality. She is made of the most marvellous clay, but she is virtually amorphous [798]). Undercutting León's resolute confidence in his masculine role is the description of the beautiful María a that immediately follows this last statement. Here, as at a great many other points in the novel, the narrator describes María as a perfectly formed Greek statue, "cuyas partes aparecían tan concertadas entre sí y con tan buena proporción hechas, que ningún escultor la soñara mejor" (whose parts seemed so harmoniously arranged and so well proportioned in relation to one another that no sculptor could have dreamed of doing a better job [799]), a fact which bodes ill for the would-be Pygmalion. Interestingly, this representation of woman as artifact is not limited to María; there is a startling proliferation of such images in the novel. In one sentence, for example, María's mother is compared to three different artworks: a piece of "desplomada arquitectura" (ramshackle architecture), a clichéd "oda académica" (academic ode) and a "pintado lienzo" (painted canvas [802]).


The description of León's discovery that he cannot control his wife similarly occurs in Aristotelian terms of artistic creation; to his dismay, León discovers that María, far from being tractable, has a will of iron,

una resistencia acerada a plegarse a ciertas ideas y sentimientos de su marido. . . . María no iba en camino de someterse a sus enseñanzas. . . . ¡Estupendo chasco! No era un carácter embrionario, era un carácter formado y duro; no era un barro flexible, pronto a tomar la forma que quieran darle las hábiles manos, sino bronce ya fundido y frío, que lastimaba los dedos sin ceder jamás a su presión. (801)

(a steely resistance to bending to certain ideas and sentiments of her spouse. . . . María was not about to submit to his lessons. . . . What a tremendous disappointment! Her personality was not embryonic, but hard and formed; she was not made of pliable clay, ready to take on the shape that skilled hands might impart to it, but cold, cast bronze, which stubbed the fingers and never gave way to pressure.)

Foiled as the sculptor of his wife, León, ironically, resorts to collecting bronze sculptures for the house (802). Yet, even though León Roch fails to mould his wife, the novel does not unequivocally subvert the patriarchal prescription of male as creator versus female as matter.

The above passages from La familia , in which León appears, initially at least, as such an ineffectual figure, suggest that the novel will develop into an antipatriarchal satire on the whole notion of masculine primacy in marriage. It is this aspect that the Krausist Francisco Giner de los Ríos apparently addressed in his response to the first third of the novel. He voiced a great unease about León's weakness with regard to the women characters, calling it strange, unwise, unbalanced, and defective, while Leopoldo Alas lamented that the protagonist was not "el varón perfecto, el Mesías de estos nuevos judíos que esperamos al hombre nuevo " (the perfect male, the Messiah of these new Israelites who are awaiting the new man ).[32] However, as the novel unfolds, it becomes a much less radical critique of patriarchal constructions of gender: León's failure with María stems not from the nature of his enterprise but merely from the material he has chosen. He tries to rationalize the choice that he made, blinded by desire (unlike the narrator of the Minuta ).[33] León proceeds to make elementary mistakes in his male preserves of art and science, confusing cast bronze with soft clay and adult with embryo. Crucially, however, Galdós's novel does not conclude that women are too strong to be


moulded; for María, far from being intractable, is only too susceptible to a rival masculine authority, that of the Church, represented by her confessor, Paoletti, and her morbidly ascetic twin brother, Luis Gonzaga. León bitterly concedes this as he relinquishes control of his wife at the end of the novel to Paoletti: "su conciencia, yo la entrego a quien la ha formado " (I'm handing over her mind to the man who shaped it [920; emphasis added]). The fact that María allows herself to be moulded by priests and not by her husband is represented as a grave moral defect on her part, compounded of fundamental stupidity and debased sensuousness.

The conflict between León Roch and María Egipcíaca stems in large part from the difference between the Krausist gender ideology espoused by León and the more standard Victorian ideology of his wife. Thus León tries, and fails, to play the ideal redeeming Krausist husband, precisely because María Egipcíaca in her turn aspires to conform to the conventional image of the long-suffering angelic wife, redemptrix of her husband, endorsed by Church and society. Galdós's characterization of María highlights the paradox that in some senses the angel in the house is an antipatriarchal construction. Galdós shows the danger to marital power relations when a woman acts on the Victorian belief that wives could and should redeem their husbands, for to redeem is ultimately to reform, to recreate; that is, to usurp a masculine privilege. María demonstrates a dangerous and traditionally masculine desire for domination when she tells León she will recreate him "a mi imagen y semejanza" (in my own image and likeness [802]). In a nice irony, her religious vocabulary leads her to use the precise terms of male appropriation he had earlier used of her: "estás ligado a la materia . . . . ¡Pobre puñado de barro miserable!" (you are linked to matter . . . . Miserable handful of clay ! [853; emphasis added]). They both fail to conform to their chosen roles, through excessive but misplaced zeal. Significantly, however, María grows increasingly unpleasant, while León comes to evoke the reader's sympathy and respect

María Egipcíaca becomes for La fimilia de León Roch the epicentre of its thesis about the evil effects of Church power. Clerical influence has made of León's wife an "odalisca mojigata" (sanctimonious odalisque [821]). She is a synthesis of nineteenth-century Spain's two worst stereotypes of woman: the mojigata (religious fanatic) and the coqueta (temptress). María's name itself is used ironically, for her


characterization is ultimately much more reminiscent of stereotypes of seductive fallen women such as Eve, Salome, or Circe than of the pure Virgin Mary or, indeed, of the character's namesake, Saint Mary of Egypt, a prostitute recognized by God for her good intentions and saved from her sinful ways. The fact that León and María have no children serves, in the novel, to underline María's perversity, since childlessness was both the punishment and the identifying sign of the debased society woman in nineteenth-century popular literature. Galdós, like many other male writers of the time, censures María's mysticism as a diseased sham, a form of depraved sensualism, and a perversion of her true destiny as loving wife and mother.[34] When, towards the end of the novel, María is suddenly overcome by such violent jealousy of Pepa that she determines to win back her husband at all costs, even if it means sacrificing her crusade to convert him, the narrator earnestly intrudes to explain how her essential "true womanhood" is finally reasserting itself over her false mysticism:

¿Qué era aquello? Lo real destruyendo al artificio. El alma y el corazón de mujer recobrando su imperio por medio de un motín sedicioso de los sentimientos primarios. Era la revolución fundamental del espíritu de la mujer reivindicando sus derechos, y atropellando lo falso y artificial para alzar la bandera victoriosa de la naturaleza y de la realidad, aquello que emana de su índole castiza y por lo cual es amante, es esposa, es madre, es mujer, mala o buena, pero mujer verdadera, la eterna, la inmutable esposa de Adán, siempre igual a sí misma, ya fiel, ya traidora. (895)

(What was happening? Reality was destroying artifice. Her woman's heart and soul were reclaiming their dominion by means of a treacherous uprising of her instincts. It was the fundamental revolution of woman's spirit asserting its rights, crushing what was false and artificial to raise the victorious banner of the natural and real, all that emanates from her truest self and that makes her a beloved, a wife, a mother, a woman, bad or good, but a true woman, the eternal, immutable wife of Adam, always following her nature, now faithful, now fickle.)

While María Egipcíaca, despite being nominally the virtuous wife, is in fact based upon nineteenth-century stereotypes of feminine depravity, Pepa Fúcar is cast as the ideal, angelic wife and mother. Galdós even has her appear at one point with a halo (864). She epitomizes "healthy" purity instead of diseased voluptuousness. Pepa, who starts out as a spendthrift but reforms upon the birth of her child, in line with Victorian belief about the redemptive powers of


motherhood, is made to appear in every respect the antithesis of María; she is plain whereas María is beautiful, rich whereas María is poor, maternal whereas María is sterile, chaste whereas María is lascivious, and moderately instead of fanatically pious. This polarizing of qualities is in itself nothing new in nineteenth-century representations of women, but what is surprising is that the stereotypical qualities of the good and the bad woman—usually associated respectively with the wife and the mistress—are thoroughly confused: the true wife is in fact the mistress, the mistress is the wife. Pepa inspires in León what both Krausist and Victorian writers saw as the best kind of love in marriage: amor-amistad (tenderness) not the uncontrollable pasión (passion) which he feels for María. León is able to remain true to his principles with Pepa, choosing not to elope with her. Significantly, and in a reversal of the popular motif of the sentimental novel, it is not the pious wife María but the mistress Pepa who achieves a symbolic redemption of León's lost religious faith, when her maternal devotion inspires him to pray with her for the recovery of her child. Most importantly, Pepa is a "good" woman in the novel's terms because she displays the very desire to be shaped and guided by León that María lacks; she yearns for "la paz y el yugo de tu autoridad de esposo" (the peace and the yoke of your authority as a husband [882]) and remonstrates with him for not having formed her : "[yo] era un instrumento muy raro que no podía dar sonidos gratos sino en las manos para que se creía nacido. Fuera de mi dueño natural, todo en mí era desacorde y disparatado" (I was a very strange instrument that could not make pleasing sounds except in the hands it felt it was born for. Away from my natural lord, I was all tuneless and senseless [880–81]).

Thus, as the novel progresses, what had initially seemed like a subversion of contemporary gender roles reveals itself as an attack merely on the letter, and not the spirit, of conventional ideologies of gender. The nineteenth-century ideals of masculinity and femininity not only remain fundamentally unchallenged; they are increasingly reaffirmed, and the implications of the novel become more and not less patriarchal. The gender element of the novel's thesis is that men can mould but women should not.

As if to emphasize María's perversity in not allowing herself to be moulded by León, Galdós places a scene just before the climax of the novel in which María gives herself over to the artistry of three soci-


ety women: her mother, the hairdresser, and the marchioness of San Salomó. Between them, they physically recreate her from a black-clad beata (prude) into a dazzling belle in order to seduce León. Artistic metaphors abound in this scene: with her marble shoulders, María "fué como un lindo ejemplo de la creación del mundo" (was like a beautiful example of the creation of the world); she is envisaged in turn as a "sublime cuadro," a "figurín vivo," and an "obra . . . magistral" (sublime painting, live mannequin, and masterly work of art [899]). The narrator's point here is that these women's creative act is an example of perverted and dangerous artistry. Together they make of María an Eve-Pandora to tempt Adam-Prometheus: "una de las maravillosas estatuas de carne y trapo ante las cuales sucumben a veces la prudencia y la dignidad, a veces la salud y el dinero de los hombres. ¡Pobre Adán!" (one of those marvellous statues of flesh and cloth to which men's prudence and dignity, as well as their health and wealth, sometimes succumb. Poor Adam! [899]).

From this point on, the statue motif becomes highly conspicuous once again. As María bathes and dresses to go meet León, the masculine eye of the clock watches with voyeuristic delectation the preparations of this "estatua humana" (human statue [901]). As she appears at León's house, in all her finery, she is perceived as a "muñeca rígida y colosal" (gigantic, stiff doll [904]). After her death María is repeatedly compared to a marble statue, and her marble hands are contemplated by León, who reflects phlegmatically upon "el sentido profundamente filosófico de la aparente transformación de su mujer en estatua" (the profoundly philosophical meaning of his wife's apparent transformation into a statue [955]). Even Pepa has become statuesque by the end of the novel; she lies unconscious under the gaze of her husband while León kisses her pale, inert cheeks goodbye. This climactic return to imagery of women as statues—after León's failure early in the work would seem to have dismissed the notion—serves as an index of the novel's increasingly patriarchal bent and constitutes what Naomi Schor has identified as a "hieratic code" in the realist novel.[35]

On the most simple level, the statue imagery signifies the reversal of the Pygmalion motif, for María is gradually transformed by her male moulders Paoletti and Luis Gonzaga from the warm, pliant, adoring Galatea she promised to be at the beginning of the novel into a cold, hard statue who rigidly denies all physical and emotional


contact with her husband; a thing of marble, cold, inanimate, beautiful but sterile. At another level, the hieratic code perhaps serves to assuage the patriarchal anxieties the novel evokes, by metafictionally reminding the reader that despite the heroine's apparent intractability in León's hands, she is nevertheless a made thing . Not only has she been definitively shaped by the male clerical characters within the novel; ultimately, as the text continually insinuates, she has been authored out of a male head. Just as what John Kronik calls the "bevy of builders" in Fortunata y Jacinta mirror in their creative activities Galdós's own construction of Fortunata, so the multiple references to María as artifact, like those to Tristana as paper, signal to the reader Galdós's ultimate right of ownership and authorship over the female characters in this novel—María Egipcíaca in particular—a right which he never seeks to assert in the same way over his male hero.[36] Even if León cannot mould María, Galdós, the narrative subtly and insistently reminds us, could and did.

La familia de León Roch , as Dena Lida remarks in another context, is a compendium of paradoxes and ambivalences.[37] It is anticlerical but reaffirms Christian values; ironizes without really detracting from Krausism; and appears to undermine, but in fact reasserts, the gender roles propounded in nineteenth-century conduct literature. The novel does not, ultimately, subvert Azcárate's Krausist view of women and marriage, with its Aristotelian undertones of male as Pygmalion, the moulder or sculptor. It does, however, question the ease of attaining that ideal in the corrupt medium of Spanish society, with its apparent shortage of intelligent and willing Galateas. La familia de León Roch rejects one of the premises of the Spanish Krausists—that men, like women, were capable of controlling their sexuality before marriage—but reaffirms Krausism's espousal of the Victorian ideology of domesticity. Intermeshed with the novel's anticlerical thesis is a fundamentally contradictory thesis about gender; an unwieldy amalgam that ultimately dissolves into sentimental melodrama with the death of María Egipcíaca from jealousy. Perhaps the fact that the many disparate elements in Galdós's thesis novels were by this point threatening to overwhelm the boundaries of the genre itself suggests why La familia heralded one of the few definitive breaks in Galdós's novel-writing career. It was not until three years later that he was to unveil his next novel about contemporary life, in which he would inaugurate what he described as a new mode of writing.


Struggling with the Angel

Consuming Passions:
Luxury and the Sexual Politics of Representation in the Contemporary Novels

In 1881, after a brief hiatus in his prodigious flow of publications, Galdós finished La desheredada , his most naturalistic work to date. Although the division which he later established between the contemporary series, beginning with La desheredada , and the novels which preceded it is not hermetic, the dynamic behind the narratives of the 1880s is increasingly one of self-reflexivity, irony, and psychological exploration rather than didacticism.[1] These mature writings are multilayered in plot and narrative technique, while the figures that people their fictional worlds assume more idiosyncratic and nuanced forms than in Galdós's earlier narratives. This development is especially clear in the masculine protagonists; whereas characters such as Pepe Rey of Doña Perfecta and Horacio Reynolds of Rosalía were flatteringly idealized, those of the contemporary series are neither heroes nor villains but alternately fallible, pathetic, or disreputable, such as the womanizing José María (Lo prohibido ), the ugly but idealistic Maximiliano Rubín, and the egotistical Juanito Santa Cruz (Fortunata y Jacinta ).

La familia de León Roch (1878), the last of the novelas de la primera época , is often seen as anticipating many features of the later period. As regards its representation of women, this is indeed the case. La familia can be seen as paradigmatic of Galdós's earlier mode in its central antithesis between the figure of the "natural" domestic woman and the perverse, excessively pious mojigata . This feminine antagonist, seen earlier in the Porreño sisters, Serafina, and doña Perfecta prior to its incarnation in María Egipcíaca, disappears from the foreground of the narratives until Casandra (1905). Meanwhile, in the background of minor characters of La familia we find, in the


person of Milagros de Tellería, the type that was to replace the mojigata as the antiheroine of Galdós's novelas contemporáneas of the 1880s: the spendthrift.

A central theme of the cycle of the six first novels of the serie contemporánea that run from La desheredada (1881) to Fortunata y Jacinta (1887) is what Montesinos christened the "locura crematística" (money madness) or, as it was more commonly known at the time, el lujo (luxury). In all of these novels, women assume a central role; the texts are dominated by greater and lesser feminine figures such as Isidora (La desheredada ), Rosalía (La de Bringas and Tormento , 1884), doña Cándida (El amigo Manso , 1882) and Eloísa (Lo prohibido , 1884–1885) who are not affectedly pious beatas but compulsive spenders, possessed by a consuming passion for the material signs of prosperity, notably clothes. They are cursis , nouveaux riches whose vulgarity (cursilería ) pushes them to try by fraudulent manipulation of their appearance to gain entry into an aristocratic social world which they were not born to. There is a certain ironic appropriateness in the predilection of these textual creations for the products of the textile industry, connected as it was to the industrialization of Spain and the rise of capitalist enterprise which had made the renaissance of the novel possible. Galdós's reproduction of this feminine type of avid consumerism was noticed by a contemporary reviewer in the Revista de España , who commented that "son la misma mujer con distinto nombre" (they are the same woman with different names).[2] Despite the conventional portrayal of woman's natural appetites as modest, and altruistically directed towards husband, family, and the moral improvement of society, Galdós and other Spanish writers from the late eighteenth century on obsessively reproduced a female of rapacious materialistic desires, on her way down the slippery slope to immorality.[3]

The ramifications and origins of the debate on el lujo are the focus of an incisive and brilliant study by Bridget Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain . As Aldaraca points out, luxus , the Latin root of lujo , means both excess and licentiousness .[4] The term lujo from its outset seems to have been linked with another parallel term in Spanish, lujuria (lust), and was thus associated with illegitimate sexual activities such as adultery and prostitution.


The aspect of el lujo that is not obvious from its etymology, but is nevertheless central in nineteenth-century print culture and earlier, is the link between luxury and women. Nineteenth-century texts offer endless examples of luxury linked to femininity. Bourgeois writers frequently represented their society as a storm or whirlwind in which women were intended to serve as guiding lights but might turn out instead to be dizzy bacchantes in the sensual pursuit of luxury, as in the following description in Alonso y Rubio's encyclopaedic study of woman in 1863:

Nuestro siglo es sensualista: en todas las clases de la sociedad hay una tendencia decidida á buscar el placer, y puede decirse que su lema es gozar. Todos se afanan, piensan y trabajan por encontrar caminos desconocidos para enriquecerse, con el objecto de proporcionarse comodidades y placeres. En ese torbellino, en esa corriente impetuosa que agita y conmueve la sociedad, se ye arrastrada la mujer, á cuya exagerada sensibilidad halaga y fascina todo cuanto le ofrece placeres materiales y fuertes sensaciones.

(Our century is a sensual one: in all classes of society there is a definite tendency towards pleasure seeking, and it's safe to say that our slogan is enjoyment. All individuals strive and think and work to find new ways to get rich, with the aim of giving themselves comforts and pleasures. Woman gets dragged into that whirlwind, into that rushing current which agitates and disturbs society, because her extremely sensitive nature is flattered and fascinated by everything that offers her material pleasures and strong sensations.)[5]

Consumption had traditionally been an issue of morality for the middle classes, who defined themselves by opposition to the ostentatious wealth of the aristocracy. Yet, as Terry Lovell comments in Consuming Fiction , bourgeois ideology finds itself in a classic double bind on this issue, because "not all of the contradictory needs of capitalism are equally served by [the] spirit of frugality, restraint, deferred gratification."[6] While early capitalism strove to promote an ethic of thrift and production, of necessity it also fostered the impulse to spend and consume. As Werner Sombart observes in Luxury and Capitalism , luxury "gave birth to capitalism."[7] Some Enlightenment thinkers began to analyze luxury as necessary and indeed beneficial to the nation's industries, although a greater proportion stuck to the traditional line of attacking it on an individualistic, moral basis.


A further contradiction was that although bourgeois ideologues strove to portray the feminized domestic sphere as outside and opposite to the market world, the two were intertwined in many ways. Alonso y Rubio was stating a commonplace when he wrote that "la buena esposa debe considerar preferibles los placeres del hogar á to dos los que proporcionan el capricho, el refinamiento y excentricidad de costumbres en las modernas sociedades" (the good wife should consider the pleasures of home preferable to all those offered by the whimsical, refined, and eccentric customs of modern societies).[8] But luxury was not, in fact, separate from the bourgeois home, since to entertain there had become customary. Bourgeois women were increasingly responsible for purchasing and displaying the goods whose industrial production was directed by their male counterparts. It was they who directed the furnishing and decorating of the house, oversaw the feeding of the family, bought clothing, and entertained guests in their homes at the saraos (soirées) and dinners and meriendas (teas) which had become the fashion since the eighteenth century. So the supposed dichotomy of el hogar versus el lujo was ultimately a false one.

Women's more impressionable nature, wrote Angel María Segovia in an important public lecture entitled "Del lujo," in 1869, made them a special risk to society, from which only their greater moral strength could save them:

Son más frecuentes en las personas de vuestro sexo los casos del hidrópico frenesí del lujo. . . . Las mujeres, y solamente las mujeres, son las que propagan este funesto contagio. . . . Inoculado en el alma este insaciable apetito de lucir, de distinguirse, no se n en los medios de satisfacerle.

(Outbreaks of the bloated fever of luxury are more frequent among persons of your sex. . . . It is women, and only women, who spread this fatal infection, and only they can contain the flood of such pernicious excess. . . . Once the insatiable appetite to dress elegantly, to impress people, is injected into their souls, they care not how they go about satisfying it.)[9]

This discourse of disease ("hidrópico frenesí") links Segovia to the novelist Sinués de Marco, who wrote in 1883 that "el lujo es el cáncer de nuestro sexo" (luxury is the cancer of our sex).[10] Why should el lujo be linked with cancer, and not, as Bridget Aldaraca asks, with syphilis, given the traditional linkage of lust with venereal disease? The im-


mediate answer is provided by Susan Sontag in Illness as Metaphor : until the mid-1880s an extensive mythology confused cancer with tuberculosis or consumption and attributed it to passion. It was believed to afflict those who spent their energies too prodigally.[11] The consumptive was thus linked to sexuality and spending. In one of the most widely read European works of the century, Dumas's La dame aux camélias , the connection of these two motifs to women and disease was cemented in the spendthrift courtesan who contracts the disease of consumption.

On a larger scale, we can see the nineteenth-century linkage of sexuality, disease, and femininity, to the issue of consumerism as the product of a complex network of economic, social, and sexual anxieties. The pathologization of desire in the nineteenth century, which Thomas Laqueur interprets in Making Sex as "part of the more general debate about the unleashing of desire in a commercial economy," was paralleled by the efflorescence of efforts from late nineteenth-century medical theorists to describe and curtail what they perceived as burgeoning diseases of desire: masturbation, homosexuality, prostitution, syphilis, and hysteria.[12] The nineteenth-century bourgeoisie constructed women, schizophrenically, as both potentially the asexual redeemers of society and fatally susceptible to the morbid lures of modern materialism. The two faces of femininity are embodied in Lo prohibido: Camila's frugality, sexual fidelity, and family values are contrasted to Eloísa's financial and moral incontinence. Significantly, it is Eloísa who contracts pains in her chest and a mysterious and repulsive swelling reminiscent of consumption or dropsy. José María jokes at her sickbed about La Traviata , the operatic version of La dame aux camélias ; but he himself is contaminated by association with Eloísa, having financed much of her acquisition through his own desire for her. He is often called a tísico (consumptive) by the morally healthy Camila, an epithet that begins to make sense in the light of Sontag's work on the beliefs about consumption in the nineteenth century. We should note that Alejandro Miquis, infected with the locura crematística in El doctor Centeno , in fact dies of consumption.

Although the image of the compulsively consuming woman existed before the Restoration and outside Spain, the in-depth treatment it receives in the core group of novels on which Galdós's popularity rests suggests that this image addressed a nexus of pressing concerns of the Spanish bourgeoisie at that particular historical juncture. In the


two-party bourgeois oligarchy of the Restoration, the demands of the working classes and the regional factions had been temporarily suppressed. The fear of disorderly conduct—of loss of control—was not, however, eliminated. The tensions of the Restoration alliance between the bourgeoisie and the landowning aristocracy can be read in middle-class writers' denigration of aristocratic habits of flamboyant consumption and self-display. Yet this interpretation does not explain why bourgeois values of thrift and frugality, and the fear of loss of fortune, were projected onto the feminine.

There were various social reasons why women as voracious consumers of luxury should have figured so large in Galdós's narratives. Liberal legislation throughout the nineteenth century had eroded women's property rights to such an extent that by the Restoration the only things married middle-class women really owned were their own bodies; they had virtually no direct access to capital. Nevertheless, despite the very effective material disempowerment of women, we find a hyperbolic rhetoric of their insatiability as consumers which invites us to imagine that anxieties about the need to contain female desire—in general, and not just in a sexual sense—are at work here. Thomas Laqueur suggests that medical representations of prostitution and masturbation manifest "a deep cultural unease about money and the market economy."[13] He shows how in medical discourse, concern about the shift to a credit economy is figured as fear of castrating female desire. Nineteenth-century writers as disparate as Zola, Clarín, and Sinués de Marco repeatedly portrayed sexually voracious females consuming male wealth and estate. It was no cultural accident that devouring women in a number of guises—femmes fatales, viragos, and vampires—were to become so prominent in the visual arts as the century drew to a close. The spendthrift image dramatizes the fear that masculine capitalist society, which defined bourgeois women as consumers and displayers of wealth produced by men, felt at the power it had thus placed in feminine hands.

The predominance of the image of the consuming woman in Galdós has been ascribed to the vulnerability of a class in the process of forming itself, composed of people inordinately preoccupied with appearances because they were either former aristocrats trying to maintain their old standards of living or nouveaux riches and petty bourgeois on their way up the social scale but unsure of how to behave. The Blancos' insightful analysis of these novels argues that by having the women characters literally convert themselves into mer-


chandise, the novels offer a devastating critique of capitalism's drive towards reification.[14] Yet this interpretation does not altogether account for the moralistic tone that dominates such representations, or why the focus on women as consumers should have been so important. Another approach to the conundrum has been to interpret spendthrift feminine characters as allegories of Queen Isabel;[15] but their widespread presence outside Galdós's fiction suggests rather that he was relying on a familiar convention. Rather than Queen Isabel as the source of such images, it seems that her representation predates her as a textual construction; similarly, Marie Antoinette of France or Queen Caroline of England became the subjects of popular mythologies which far surpassed their actual behaviour.

Although there are numerous male and female spendthrifts in Galdós, the male characters, such as Joaquín Pez and José María Bueno de Guzman, are merely fatuous, whereas the women characters are the locus of deep moral and social anxiety about spending. We note that such men are not taken very seriously: Joaquín is infantilized as "Joaquinito," while José María is feminized as a hysteric, according to Aldaraca's reading. Moreover, there seems to be a sexual differentiation as regards spending: male characters overspend to please women, indulging the whims of their mistresses, while women buy things. As Aldaraca points out, not spending is a vice in men (avarice) but a virtue in women (thrift).[16] Galdós attributes to women the change to a credit economy, dramatized in the famous novel La de Bringas . If the Bringas household metamorphoses from one of savers into one of indebted and morally compromised spenders, it is Rosalía who is responsible, led on by the aristocratic Milagros, marchioness of Tellería, whom the narrator describes as prey to a metaphorical "fiebre consuntiva" (consumptive fever [141]). The narrator presents his story as a version of the cautionary myth of Eden: clothes—both the gifts of Agustín Caballero and the gorgeous shawl in Sobrino hermanos that precipitates Rosalía's descent into debt in La de Bringas —are described as the "manzana de Eva" (apple of Eve [92, 98]). In the Galdosian version of the myth, Eve, once again, bears more blame for the fall than does ignorant Adam. Galdós's narrator insistently trivializes his women characters' priorities; clothes, which for Rosalía are vitally important, are merely ornamental fripperies in his view, and he normally refers to them with the pejorative term "trapos" (rags). By attributing Rosalía's passion for clothes to personal failings such as feminine frivolity, vanity, and selfishness, the


narrator evades any kind of systemic analysis of the larger issues at work. He jocularly accounts for Rosalía's passion for clothes as a kind of secondary sexual characteristic, understandable to the implicitly male reader only when it is translated in terms of masculine occupations such as hunting: "La pasión del coleccionista en presencia de un ejemplar raro, el entusiasmo del cazador a la vista de una brava y corpulenta res no nos dan idea de esta formidable querencia del trapo en ciertas mujeres" (The collector's passion when confronted with a rare specimen, the enthusiasm of the hunter when he sees a fine fierce beast, do not give us any idea of this tremendous desire for cloth in certain women [98]).

There are two antiheroines in Galdós's novelistic world: the beata of the early period and the spendthrift of the middle period, both of whom exhibit disorders of desire. They are implicitly counterpoised to bourgeois society's conventional ideal, the ángel , desirable precisely because she wants the right things and in the right way. Unlike the mojigata , whose desire is repressed, the spendthrift's desire is out of control and leads irremediably, according to the iconography of the day, to perdition. Rosalía and Isidora's moral degradation parallels their acquisition of ever larger debts. Interestingly, the two negative figures of this feminine triumvirate are specific to romance-language print culture; neither has a ready equivalent in English texts.

Aldaraca contends that "Galdós breaks with the literary stereotype" of the consuming woman.[17] Rosalía may not be as apocalyptically misogynistic a creation as Zola's Nana, but she is nevertheless Irremediably tainted, having relinquished modesty and morality (92). Once she goes into debt, the narrator says, "la Pipaón no sabía ya contenerse" (the Pipaón woman could no longer contain herself [175]), although she manages to learn how to keep her debt circulating with more skill than Isidora or Milagros de Tellería. It is intriguing that Werner Sombart argues that medicines are a form of luxury, since Francisco Bringas spends more of the family savings on medical treatment for his self-induced blindness than Rosalía lends to Milagros, yet it is nevertheless Rosalía who gets her comeuppance in the spectacular humiliation scene at the hands of Refugio, which for most readers is the most enjoyable and memorable episode in the book.

Galdós represents female luxury as a dangerously addictive and almost aphrodisiac habit. Rosalía's libidinous gaze at the fatal shawl


does indeed suggest a sublimated current of female sexuality, as Aldaraca points out:[18] "de tal modo arrebataba su sangre el ardor del deseo, que temió un ataquillo de erisipela si no lo saciaba" (her blood burned so with desire, that she feared her skin would break out in an inflammation if she didn't satisfy it [98]). However, we should also note that female desire in the novelas crematísticas is not directed towards men, or at least only as a means to acquire the capital they need to purchase what they really want: this focus is one of the sources of unease or disease in the novels. Galdós presents women's desires as culpably autoerotic or even faintly homoerotic, as in his description of Milagros and Rosalía in the significantly named Camón (chamber, or big bed), engaging "in fraganti" (120) in a febrile activity (94) that is extremely pleasurable for both. Rosalía de Bringas's desire for objects rather than men is ridiculed both by the narrator of La de Bringas and his friend Joaquín Pez, who remarks scornfully that Rosalía "era como los toros, que acuden más al trapo que al hombre" (was like a bull, which goes for the rag rather than the man [229]). Female desire in the novelas crematísticas can no longer be satisfied or contained by actual men, it is manipulated by more distant male figures—the fashion barons, the department store owners such as Sobrino hermanos , and the moneylenders such as Mompous and Torquemada, who provide access to the white boxes in the department store "donde se archivan los sueños de las damas" (where the dreams of ladies are kept [98]).[19]

La de Bringas' thesis statement that "esta pasión mujeril . . . hace en el mundo más estragos que as revoluciones" (this female passion . . . creates more havoc in the world than revolutions [94]) defines luxury as destructive, undermining the foundations of society. The novel's representation of el lujo is informed by an ideology from a precapitalist, agrarian society, where, as Aldaraca shows, wealth was static and subject to depletion without the thrift and frugality of the wife to guard it.[20] The prevalence of literary representations of a corrupt and culpable female consumer destroying male wealth is intriguingly anachronistic given that Galdós was writing for an urban, capitalist society. The spendthrift marchioness of Tellería is mocked for parroting the positive theory of luxury as a necessary stimulant to the economy ("¡Oh¡ ¡El dinero de manos muertas es la causa del atraso de la nación!" [Oh! money that's left idle is the reason this country is so backward! (138)]). The conservative vision of lujo as


ubiquitous and cancerous in Galdós's novels is all the more interesting because it runs counter to the author's own defense of luxury in an 1884 letter quoted by Peter Bly, in which Galdós argued that luxury was necessary for the growth of capitalist enterprise and that contemporary society was indeed no worse than preceding societies in this respect.[21]

The many allusions to disorder charted by Bly in La de Bringas are linked to feminine activity: the mass of materials in Camón , and the even more spectacular (the narrator calls it "revolutionary" [276]) chaos in Refugio's apartment, create an image of burgeoning female desire threatening to overwhelm the senses, the family savings, and, ultimately, the state. Galdós seems to be linking the alterations and constant changes demanded by women's fashions—and the disorder they cause—to the crisis and sweeping changes brought by the September revolution. Rosalía starts a chain reaction, beginning with arreglos (adjustments) to her dresses so that she can arreglarse (look elegant), leading to financial arreglos (deals), then to sexual and moral ones, and finally to the political. Since women are ultimately responsible for the nation's chaos, it is difficult to see Galdós's representation of el lujo as breaking with the tradition of his day: his version of it is more nuanced but does not present a radical departure.

Finally, in some novels Galdós makes an intriguing connection between feminine lujo and textual consumption. Being a voracious reader was tantamount to sin for female characters in male-authored nineteenth-century novels. Christened bovarysmo after the heroine of Flaubert's novel, female reading is frequently presented in contemporary discourse as initiating a chain reaction, leading to buying too much and thence to sexual depravation. One early and classic example of this transgression against the gendered ethics of reading is the character of Charito in Galdós's novel Rosalía , written in 1872. The critique of the female reader is developed with more success in La desheredada of 1881. In Galdós's hands, when the Quixote figure is transformed into a woman, as in the case of Isidora, devouring novels is a sign not of endearing foolishness but of passivity, stupidity, concupiscence, and, inevitably, vice.

Galdós's contemporary social novels of the 1880s adopt the traditional objection to women's reading as sinful and use it to the tactical advantage of the male-authored realist novel as a genre. When readers of La desheredada accept the narrative invitation to condemn


Isidora morally for reading too many "bad" novels and identifying too much with what she reads, they are unwittingly participating in the realist novel's own self-canonization. In Galdós's hands, the realist novel appropriates for itself the moral and cultural high ground in relation to the popular idealist novel of the day, while relying heavily on the novel's middle-class public to accept a message that stigmatized women as readers.[22]

The treatment of feminine lujo and its relations to reading highlight what Terry Lovell terms the novel's generically "ambivalent relation to . . . bourgeois ideology." As she notes, the genre, while marketing an ethic of restraint by condemning unrestrained female readers and buyers, simultaneously requires a compliant readership to buy and read it voraciously. The realist novel thus has an ulterior motive in mendaciously claiming for itself a moral distance from capitalist consumerism, which should alert us to the pitfalls inherent in accepting Galdós's claim to reflect reality rather than produce or represent social mythologies. Since, as Teresa de Lauretis points out, the representation of gender is its construction, we need to remain alert to the complexities of ideology and politics in texts if we are to avoid perpetuating the cliché of Galdós studies in the 1960s and 1970s that Galdós was supremely capable of representing the "truth" about women and el lujo .[23]

In Search of the Ideal Woman: Educating Manso

El amigo Manso (1882) is, we are often told, a novel about education. It depicts a number of people learning their lessons: Manuel Peña, Máximo Manso's ambitious pupil, and the young pupils of Irene, the governess. Most important of all is the education of the protagonist-narrator Manso himself, for although he believes himself to be a teacher and an observer, and spends most of the novel trying to read Irene, Manso receives an unexpected lesson when he finally deciphers her. The novel's main theme turns out to be the highly topical one of women's education, or to be more precise, educating Máximo Manso about what to seek in a woman.

The date of this novel, written in the spring of 1882, is not fortuitous. The 1880s were the decade of debate about education, with a large amount of legislation and counterlegislation and frequent


articles on the subject in the periodical press. It was also the decade when women's education appeared for the first time, in its own right, on the national agenda. The first women began to receive secondary and university educations at public institutions between 1872 and 1881.[24] The privately funded efforts of the Krausists; had formed the Association for Women's Education during the revolutionary period, which proceeded to found and run a prestigious School for Governesses (1870), a Ladies' Business School (1878), and a Post Office and Telegraph School (1883). The Liberal minister of the interior, José Luis Albareda, passed groundbreaking legislation in 1882 reserving the kindergarten teaching posts for women only, and reforming the state-run Women's Central Normal School along the lines of the progressive School for Governesses. In 1882 a special government dispensation allowed the first women to receive medical degrees. The government-sponsored national conference on pedagogy of 1882, the Congreso Pedagógico, was another major event which served to make women's education a topic of intense public debate. One of its conclusions, that women teachers should be paid the same as men, was implemented in 1883.

The women characters in El amigo Manso acquire special significance when seen in the light of contemporary debates about education and gender roles. Three of the principal women characters, Irene, Lica, and doña Cándida, each embody a different facet of the social debate about women's role. The narrative develops Galdós's ongoing critique of the "maleficio mesocrático" (middle-class curse [1238]) of feminine luxury in the devouring woman stereotype of doña Cándida. This ferociously insatiable woman is like a leech, battening on her acquaintances, first on Manso himself and later on his wealthy brother, José María, recently, returned from Cuba. Doña Cándida is monomaniacal, driven by her acquisitiveness: "Jamás vió Madrid mujer más disipadora, más apasionada del lujo, más frenética por todas las ruinosas vanidades de la edad presente" (Madrid has never seen such a spendthrift, such a passionate devotee of luxury, such a maniac for all the ruinous vanities of the present age [1195]).[25] She is prepared to go to any length to satisfy her obsession, including forcing her twelve-year-old niece Irene to visit Manso with requests for money and later attempting to prostitute her to José María, in an episode worthy of the most garish of folletines . Manso describes Cán-


dida as a repulsive beast suddenly uncovered to his scientific gaze: "Era yo como el naturalista que de improviso se encuentra, entre las hojarascas que pisa, con un desconocido tipo o especie de reptil, con feísimo coleóptero, con baboso y repugnante molusco" (I was like the naturalist who quite by chance, among the dead leaves under his feet, comes upon an unknown type or species of reptile, or hideous insect, or a slimy, repugnant mollusk [1277]). Doña Cándida is the negative pole of female conduct in the novel.

The other locus of female disorder is the household of the society woman Lica, Manso's sister-in-law. More well-meaning than doña Cándida, she is nevertheless infected by her, just as Rosalía Bringas is corrupted by her association with Milagros Tellería. Indolent, enervated, whimsical, and hypochondriac, she sleeps half the morning (1206), while her household is a disaster. Her children are badly brought up and her house a mess. The description of the house reads like a didactic passage from a conduct manual: "Sobre mesillas y taburetes se veían las tazas de café; unas, sucias, mostrando el sedimento de azúcar; otras, a medio beber y frías como el hielo; sobre tal silla, un sombrero de señora; un abrigo, en el suelo; sobre la chimenea, una bota; el devocionario encima de un plato, y cucharillas de café dentro de un florerito de porcelana" (coffee cups left around on footstools and end tables; some with just the settlings from the sugar, others half-consumed and cold as ice; on one chair, a lady's hat; on the floor, a coat; on the chimneypiece, a boot; a prayer book on a plate; and coffee spoons in a porcelain bud-vase [1221]). Symbolic of the disorder are the untended clocks in the household, abandoned to such a "frightful anarchy" that no one knows what time it really is. Among her youthful indiscretions, the undesirable housewife Lica has also attempted to write poetry (1212), which for male writers constituted a sign of domestic failings in a woman.

Besides her growing tendency to idleness, disorder, and luxury, however, the main index of Lica's practical and moral failings as a mother is the fact that she does not breast-feed her own children but relies on a wet nurse, "ese monstruo que llaman nodriza, vilipendio de la maternidad del siglo" (that monster called the wet nurse, curse of motherhood today [1225]). The first of these is acquired by doña Cándida but proves to be a thief who callously abandons her charge. At this point, Manso is called in to help find a replacement.


He provides graphic descriptions of the hunt among a squalid "escuadrón mamífero" (mammiferous squadron), an "antipático ganado" (disagreeable herd) which he candidly confesses to find revolting (1264). The rhetoric used for the episode, which focuses on the animalistic behaviour of the poor and the dirtiness, ignorance, and criminal tendencies of the women whom middle-class ladies are introducing into their houses, clearly takes a position in the contemporary campaign in favour of breast-feeding. Social and medical theorists inveighed against the wet nurse and predicted dire results both for the women who did not nurse their own children and for society as a whole. "Advertimos con sentimiento" (We lament the fact), announced La Discusión ,

que entre las de la clase alta de la sociedad hay establecida la costumbre, que va en aumento de dia en dia, de no lactar a sus hijos, entregándolos á mujeres mercenarias para este efecto, tal vez por el imperio que ejerce la moda, por el espíritu de un egoismo mal entendido, ó acaso por ignorar que esta práctica las acarrea muchas enfermedades, y no pocas veces abrevia el paso de su existencia.

(that among the upper class of society it is becoming more and more customary every day not to breast-feed one's children, but to give them to mercenary women for this purpose, perhaps because of the power of fashion, or because of a spirit of misunderstood self-interest, or perhaps because people are unaware that this practice leads to many illnesses, and often shortens the lifespan.)

Popular medical writers such as Pedro Felipe Monlau and Angel Pulido envisioned the ideal mother as leading a secluded life with no social obligations so that she could breast-feed her child at home. Pulido warned that relying on wet nurses led to national decline: "Siempre que los pueblos han caído en la degeneración y el envilecimiento, la lactancia mercenaria ha sido una de sus prácticas más extendidas" (Whenever nations have fallen into degeneration and vileness, mercenary breast-feeding has been one of their most widespread practices).[26] Manso underlines the class specificity of feminine modesty as he describes the candidates' breasts being scrutinized and squeezed for potential employees: "Había exploraciones de que en otro lugar se espantaría el recato. . . . ¡Permitiera Dios que no os hubiera visto en tal cantidad, flácidas ubres . . . estrujados por los dedos experimentadores" (Explorations were made which anywhere else would have outraged modesty. . . . Would to God I had not seen


you in such profusion, O flaccid udders . . . being squeezed by . . . experienced fingers [1264]).

In contrast to this squalidly naturalistic portrait of working-class women, the governess Irene is idealized in Manso's imagination. She is the antithesis both of the animal-like wet nurses and also the empty-headed cursis . A metaphor laden with cultural semes describes her as the domesticated, hard working, unassuming "útil abeja" (industrious honeybee) and contrasts her to doña Cándida, the "chupador vampiro" (sucking vampire [1211]).[27] Galdós's heroine Irene is one of the first women in the nation to hold a teacher's certificate, but it is significant that she graduated from the conservative Women's Central Normal School in 1877, rather than its far more rigorous and modern alternative, the School for Governesses. Concepción Sáiz, a former pupil of both, commented in her book Un episodio nacional que no escribió Galdós that the narrow curriculum at the Central, which privileged sewing above all other subjects, "no corría peligro de producir anemia cerebral ni a la más estudiosa" (ran no danger of provoking cerebral anemia even in its most conscientious pupils).[28]

Manso imagines Irene to be a progressive angel in the house; she is quiet, chaste, sweet, but also relatively well educated and serious. Her appearance signals that she is a member of the deserving poor ("su vestido humilde, pero aseadísimo, [reveló] en todo la virtud del arreglo" [her humble but immaculate dress (revealed) in every way the virtue of good order]), as does her "pale and expressive countenance" (1204). Even though the tutor rhapsodizes to himself about Irene as the "mujer-razón" (woman as reason), we should not be misled by his rhetoric. His ideal woman is certainly not an intellectual, nor less a feminist; instead she resembles Irene, with smatterings of general knowledge and no desire for a profession:

Hablando con Irene, pude observar que no era mujer con pretensiones de sabia, sino que poseía la cultura apropiada a su sexo. . . . Tenía rudimentos de algunas ciencias, y siempre que hablaba de cosas de estudio lo hacía con tanto tino, que más se la admiraba por lo que no quería saber que por lo que no ignoraba.

Nuestras conversaciones . . . eran a veces . . . del grado de instrucción que se debe dar a las mujeres. Conformándose con mi opinión y apartándose del dictamen de tanto propagandista indigesto, manifestando [sic ] antipatía a la sabiduría facultativa de las mujeres y a que anduviese en faldas el ejercicio de las profesiones propias del hombre; pero al mismo tiempo vituperaba la ignorancia, superstición y atraso


en que viven la mayor parte de las españolas, de lo que tanto ella como yo deducíamos que el toque está en hallar un buen término medio. (1216)

(As I conversed with Irene, I noticed that she was not a woman of any pretensions to great learning, but that she did possess the culture appropriate to her sex. . . . She had the rudiments of some sciences, and whenever she spoke of her studies she did it with such accuracy that one admired her more for what she didn't wish to know than for what she had indeed learned.

Our talks . . . were [sometimes] about . . . the level of education women should be given. She agreed with me, and dissociated herself from the judgment of so many half-baked pamphleteers; i.e., she rejected the idea that women should become full-fledged professionals, exercising the callings proper only to men. At the same time, however, she heaped scorn upon the ignorance, superstition, and backwardness in which most Spanish women live. All of which led both her and me to conclude that the secret is in finding a golden mean.)

This articulation of ideal womanhood is strikingly in tune with the vision expressed by the speakers in the Congreso Pedagógico in 1882, who almost unanimously subscribed to a vision of an ideal woman who was not entirely ignorant but was not learned. They supported vocational or social educación (good upbringing) and not intellectual instrucción (education) for women. Their rationale for trying to improve women's education was pragmatic; educating women, they argued, was the only means to the real end of educating the future men of Spain, since mothers were inevitably the first educators of children. The importance of women not deviating from their destiny as wives and mothers remained paramount in the speeches of participants at the conference.[29]

The protagonist's mission in the novel is the education of his pupil Manuel Peña into a bourgeois. The youth's success at adopting bourgeois discourse is illustrated by the speech he gives on "La influencia de la mujer en la Historia del Cristianismo," a topic extremely popular at the time, and which in the novel is rapturously received, not least by Irene herself. It was a widely held truism that Christianity had emancipated women from slavery: Joaquín Sánchez de Toca wrote in his popular book on marriage that "la emancipacion completa de la mujer [fue] llevada á cabo por el Evangelio" (The Gospel performed the complete emancipation of woman).[30] Earlier, when Manuel had anxiously consulted with his tutor about the problems of luxury and


feminism that threatened to destroy his marriage prospects, Manso had reminded him of the immutable laws of femininity:

—La frivolidad, el lujo y cierta precocidad de mal gusto imposibilitan a la doncella de estos países latinos para la constitución de las familias futuras. ¿Qué vendrá aquí? ¿La destrucción de la familia . . . la patria potestad en la mujer?

—Lo femenino eterno—dije yo gravemente—tiene leyes que no pueden dejar de cumplirse. (1228)

("The maidens of our Latin countries are so frivolous and spoiled and enamored of false refinement that they can hardly be counted on to shape the families of the future. What's going to come of it? The destruction of the family . . . the power of the nation in the hands of women . . . ?"

"Ah, the eternal female," I said gravely, "has laws which must be fulfilled.")

The novel goes on to illustrate that the eternal feminine is truer than even Manso himself realizes. The big surprise of the novel comes when Irene confesses to having no vocation for teaching, hating books, and being bored by her infant charges; her hopes are to marry and have a family. Crucially, Manso finds that far from being disgusted by Irene's revelation of her ignorance and her conventionally feminine ambitions for a husband and a household, he is even more enamoured of her than ever. It turns out, however, that even his modest ideal of an educated, rational woman is an illusory trick of his imagination. He subsequently decides to advocate the womanly woman instead (1294). It is not clear how much irony is contained in this recantation by the protagonist-narrator.

Manso's misapprehensions about Irene and women's education stem from his unsatisfactorily gendered nature. Timid, bookish, asexual, he lacks masculine decisiveness and initiative, as his name itself implies (manso means docile, tame). He becomes indeed an increasingly androgynous figure, assuming a feminine role of concern with child care and matchmaking. Ironically, it is only after he has realized the erroneous nature of his ideal of an educated woman that Manso ends up having to persuade doña Javiera, Manuel's mother, to forego her disgust at the prospect of a former governess for a daughter-in-law: "Una licenciada, ¡qué asco! La sabiduría es para los hombres; la sal, para las mujeres" (A woman with a degree—how disgusting! Book learning is for the men; wits for the women [1300]). At the end


of the novel he has assumed the feminized role of redemptive victim-hood; he must sacrifice his feelings in order to allow the Peña marriage to take place. The novel suggests that Manso is too blind to see what is under his own nose—first that Irene was just a normal woman, and second that doña Javiera, that glaring example of a womanly woman, or "mujer-mujer" as Manso puts it, would make him a perfect wife. Manso never notices her—even though she goes to some lengths to attract him—and continues mournfully to bewail his unnecessary solitude.

The implied author is deliberately ambivalent on the issue of women's education. The narrative seems to be progressive but undermines the bases of that progressiveness, as if disclaiming the position it seems to take. The self-referential elements of the novel, not integrated into the central body of the narrative but contained instead in a metafictional frame at the beginning and end, nevertheless have the effect of creating a mocking elusiveness, warning us not to extrapolate the author's position on women's education. The narrator tells us that the whole affair is a creation of the author's mind, a "trabajillo de poco aliento" (a trivial bit of work) and not the ultimate masterpiece on education which he had been planning (1184–85). Nonetheless, it is an undeniable and telling cultural coincidence that in the very year that Albareda's educational reforms raised in an unprecedented way the issue of women's right to secondary and higher education in her own right and not just as a future mother or wife, Galdós should create a narrative featuring a woman given all the educational opportunities of the time, who confesses that her career bores her and turns thankfully back to wifedom. and motherhood.[31] Manso is left sadly contemplating Irene's domestic happiness from afar and rues his former mistaken zeal for women's education.

The Angel in Mind: Rereading Fortunata y Jacinta

Soy ángel. . . . ¿no lo ve?. . .
¿No lo sabe? . . . Soy ángel . . . yo también . . . mona del Cielo.

(I'm an angel. . . . Don't you see? . . .
Didn't you know? . . . I'm an angel . . . I am too; an "angel face.")

Unlike its predecessors in the first cycle of the contemporary novels, Fortunata y Jacinta focuses neither on a beata nor on a spendthrift.


The opposition which structures the work is, however, a familiar one to the nineteenth-century reader: the angel and the fallen woman. The novel centres on a working-class woman who becomes increasingly obsessed with her angelic counterpart, Jacinta. In the novel's controversial finale the protagonist, Fortunata—former prostitute and unrepentant adulteress—dies mysteriously exclaiming that she is an angel. For the modern reader, this final chapter is one of the most baffling episodes in the intertwined "stories of married women" advertised in the subtitle. The interpretation of the heroine's last remarks is crucial to the much-debated question of her overall trajectory in the novel, on which opinion has been divided between those who see Fortunata as ascending, spiritually or socially, and those who see her descending into delusion and tragic failure.[32] Despite their apparently fundamental differences of view, critics on both sides of the debate share a vaguely defined premise that when Fortunata and other characters talk of her becoming an "angel," they mean Christian redemption.[33] But, as we have seen, in the nineteenth century, overlaying the purely religious significance of the angel were other less timeless and universal meanings derived from contemporary gender and class relations. As twentieth-century readers we cannot make sense of Fortunata y Jacinta on one central level unless we take account of these discourses. Unless we read the novel in the context of bourgeois domestic ideology, we lose a core element of its signifying system.

At the outset, Fortunata y Jacinta positions its two main female characters in a way that reproduces the patriarchal habit of dividing women into antithetical categories: the ángel del hogar , whose virtue is never in doubt, and the prójima , a common woman of dubious virtue. Jacinta is represented, initially, as the perfectly faithful, submissive middle-class wife. The narrator stresses her delicacy, fragility, and asexuality: "Jacinta era la pureza misma" (Jacinta was purity itself [1:202]).[34] Juanito Santa Cruz adoringly addresses his wife as an angel: "ángel de mi salvación . . . Mesías mío" (my angel, my Savior and Messiah [1:231]), and reveres her as a being who is morally superior to him. Fortunata, on the other hand, is associated from the first with passion rather than purity. The many and much discussed images of Fortunata as a bird are important in terms of gender as well as class, for the images of her both as a hen and as a generic bird (ave ) link her to sexuality and to maternity, as well as to potential victim-hood.[35] Furthermore, among the pejorative terms used to describe


fallen women in the novel is pájara , a feminine version of the common word for bird that simultaneously signifies a bad or loose woman. The connection between the bird imagery and Fortunata's fallen state is represented in the episode where Fortunata and Juanito meet for the first time. After the narrator describes her resemblance to a bird and her Eve-like offer of the egg, Fortunata rushes downstairs in a way that suggests to the watching Juanito and to the reader a breakneck fail: "al soltar aquel sonido, digno canto de tal ave, la moza se arrojó con tanta presteza por las escaleras abajo, que parecía rodar por ellas" (as she emitted that sound, a call worthy of such a bird, she tore down the stairs so fast she seemed to go rolling down [1:184]). From the beginning, the lower-class Fortunata is already apparently typecast as eroticized, fallen, a "pájara mala" (bad bird-woman), as she will later be labelled by doña Lupe and doña Desdémona: the antithesis of Jacinta, the pure ángel del hogar . However, the text sets up this familiar polarity only to subvert it. The initial conformity to the culture's two related stereotypes of femininity is fragile.

The narrative begins to disrupt the equation of Jacinta with the angel in the house by the end of part 1. In the first place, any notion that the "angelic" Jacinta is asexual is difficult to sustain. Although her relation to Juanito is figured as cloyingly childlike, this apparent innocence is fraught by darker desires.[36] Harriet Turner demonstrates how Jacinta's disturbing dream at the opera is plainly laden with symbolic sexual desire.[37] The fact that the angelic Jacinta is sterile becomes a major focus of attention, highlighting the paradoxical demands of a culture that required women to be at once "naturally" passionless and fecund. In addition, Galdós records with great psychological insight the pitifully counterproductive effect of Jacinta's determination to fulfill the angelic mission of redeeming her husband, a popular theme in the conduct literature. She adopts an attitude of long-suffering tolerance in the hope of rehabilitating Juanito, but this stance only adds an unexpected spice to his womanizing: "no podía contentarse con gustar la belleza comprada o conquistada . . . ; quería gustar también la virtud, no precisamente la vencida, que deja de serlo, sino la pura, que en su pureza misma tenía para él su picante" (he couldn't content himself with bought or conquered beauty . . . ; he also wanted virtue, not exactly defeated virtue—which has ceased to be virtuous—but pure virtue, which attracted him precisely because of its purity [1:285–86]).


At the end of part 1, the reader is introduced to another middle-class female character who blurs the polarity between the angel and the fallen woman: Guillermina Pacheco, who is presented as a "good" woman—a saint, no less—but who is patently not an angel in the house. Despite her asexuality and the fact that she devotes her time to "feminine" activities such as darning, running a home for orphans, and raising the moral tone of her surroundings, Guillermina is not married, submissive, or domesticated, even though, like the writers of the conduct manuals, she advocates all these values. In fact, she spends her time in other people's houses or on the streets and manifests distinctly masculine characteristics: "un espíritu con ideas propias y con iniciativas varoniles" (a mind of her own with masculine initiative [1:264]). The narrative representation of Guillermina becomes increasingly double-edged as her authoritarianism and her class bias are brought indirectly to the reader's attention by a narrator whose admiration of Guillermina is, on the surface, unquestioning.

In part 2, the emphasis shifts from the "good" to the "fallen" woman, from Jacinta to Fortunata and her relations with Maxi and the Rubín family. It is Maxi who first paradoxically identifies the fallen Fortunata as an angel: on meeting her he is bewitched by what he perceives as her angelic countenance and says to himself: "¡Si es un ángel!" (She's an absolute angel! [1:466]). He becomes obsessed with the idea of redeeming Fortunata from prostitution and making her his wife. Surprisingly, Fortunata the prostitute exerts a stronger redemptive and transformative influence upon Maxi than Jacinta, the angel, upon Juan. "No era ya el mismo hombre. . . . Aquella pasión . . . le removía y le transfiguraba" (He wasn't the same man any more. . . . [His] passion . . . stirred and transfigured him [1:468]).

The validity of the Rubín family's desire to transform Fortunata from a pájara into an ángel del hogar is undermined by the narrator, who exposes their vested personal interests, such as those of doña Lupe, who "se pirraba por proteger, dirigir, aconsejar y tener alguien sobre quien ejercer dominio" (had a craving to protect, direct, advise, and rule someone [1:582]). He also comments sarcastically on the engaging but absurd romanticism which motivates Maxi: "los disparates y el teje maneje de unas aventuras generalmente muy tiernas, muy por lo fino, con abnegaciones, sacrificios, heroísmos y otros fenómenos sublimes del alma" (the nonsense and ins and outs of


adventures that were usually very touching and refined, complete with abnegations, sacrifices, heroism, and other sublime phenomena of the soul [1:461]). Maxi and Nicolás Rubín stress the need for Fortunata to renounce passion and desire if she is to become a respectable middle-class lady. Nicolás tells her: "Ilusionarse con un caballerete porque tenga los ojos así o asado, porque tenga el bigotito de esta manera, el cuerpo derecho y el habla dengosa, es propio de hembras salvajes. Amar de ese modo no es amar, es perversión, es vicio, hija mía" (Falling in love with a fellow because his eyes are this or that color, because his little mustache looks just so, or because he has a nice way of talking and stands up straight is typical of primitive females. Loving in that sense isn't loving; it's perversion, my child. Vice [1:564–65]). During the course of this important interview between Nicolás and Fortunata, the narrator appears to endorse the middle-class characters' point of view with descriptions of Fortunata that echo Nicolás's prejudiced perceptions of her, such as "la Samaritana" (the Samaritan woman), "la prójima" (fallen woman), and "la penitente" (penitent woman [1:562, 566, 563]). But simultaneously negating this middle-class condemnation of Fortunata is the unremittingly unattractive presentation of Nicolás. The credibility of the bourgeois views on women's role which Nicolás expounds therefore suffers.

Fortunata is interned in the female reformatory of Las Micaelas, so that she may cultivate the angelic virtues of obedience, asexuality, and passivity, without which she cannot find acceptance within the middle classes. Galdós elicits the reader's disapprobation of the bourgeois feminine role by linking it with the experience of confinement The narrator provides a graphic description of the slowly rising brick wall that blocks out the women's view (1:600–601). The spell in Las Micaelas represents the highest point of social coercion applied to Fortunata to make her accept the ideology of domesticity. The pressure is initially successful, for it is in Las Micaelas that Fortunata shows her first signs of wishing to emulate the angelic Jacinta, who is, also appropriately, one of the principal benefactresses of the institution. Manolita describes her as the perfect wife: "una mujer muy mona; lo tenía todo, bondad, belleza, talento y virtud" (Jacinta was adorable; she had everything: kindness, beauty, talent, and virtue [1:622]). The sight of Jacinta in Las Micaelas initiates in Fortunata a de-


sire—which becomes, by part 4, an obsession—to be an "angel" too. She wishes to become Jacinta, "de modo que si le propusieran a la prójima, en aquel momento, transmigrar al cuerpo de otra persona, sin vacilar y a ojos cerrados habría dicho que quería ser Jacinta" (so that if the sinner had been offered at that moment to transmigrate into the body of someone else, she would have automatically, unhesitatingly said that she wished to be Jacinta [1:625]).

Fortunata at first imagines that the bourgeois insistence on the subordination of women of her class is a divinely inspired "idea blanca," a good, "white" idea, the colour of purity. She envisages it as emanating from the Host, representative of the sacrificed body of Christ, with its peculiarly feminine message of redemptive victimhood. The Host preaches the same message as Sinués de Marco to her female readers in El ángel del hogar : passive resignation and acquiescence. It tells her that Juan is married to an angel and that Fortunata can never aspire to legitimize her relation to him: "Es casado . . . con uno de mis ángeles hembras. ¿Te parece que no hay más que enviudar a un hombre para satisfacer el antojito de una corrida como tú?" (He's married . . . to one of my female angels. Do you think that all that's got to be done is to make a man a widower to satisfy the whim of a flighty girl like you? [1:635]). Mauricia "la Dura," however, disrupts Fortunata's internalization of the angelic role. The narrator's presentation of this wild and disorderly woman is double-edged:

Aquella mujer singularísima, bella y varonil tenía el pelo corto y lo llevaba siempre mal peinado y peor sujeto. Cuando se agitaba mucho trabajando, las melenas se le soltaban, llegándole hasta los hombros, y entonces la semejanza con . . . [Napoleón] era perfecta. No inspiraba simpatías Mauricia a todos los que la veían; pero el que la viera una vez, no la olvidaba y sentía deseos de volverla a mirar. Porque [ejercía] indecible fascinación sobre el observador. . . . Su voz era bronca, más de hombre que de mujer, y su lenguaje vulgarísimo, revelando una naturaleza desordenada, con alternativas misteriosas de depravación y de afabilidad. (1:607–8)

(That singular woman, beautiful and handsome, had short hair, always somewhat tangled and badly combed. When she moved a lot in her work, shocks of hair came loose and fell to her shoulders, at which point the resemblance to . . . [Napoleon] was perfect. Not everyone who met Mauricia liked her, but whoever saw her once never forgot her and felt the urge to see her again. Whoever observed her


was strangely fascinated. . . . Her voice was harsh, more a man's than a woman's, and her language was extremely vulgar, revealing a chaotic personality that oscillated mysteriously between depravity and affability.)

The narrator portrays Mauricia as depraved and disturbing, since like Guillermina she is transgressively masculine; but at the same time as gifted with a diabolical power over people's affections (1:629), to which both he and Fortunata reluctantly succumb.

By the end of part 2, the conventional diptych of feminine characters, the pure woman versus the fallen, has been thoroughly disrupted. Jacinta and Guillermina stand revealed as only superficially angelic, for Jacinta is childless and sexual, and Guillermina is grasping, imperious, and undomestic. Likewise, although Mauricia and Fortunata are fallen women, they are not evil: Mauricia's personality is curiously attractive, while Fortunata increasingly comes to seem the most moral of all the characters in the novel. Galdós creates a labyrinth of connections among the four women. Mauricia, who is interned in Las Micaelas by Guillermina, was brought up as a servant in the Pacheco household. Mauricia's child Adoración has been quasi-adopted by Jacinta. Fortunata is the mistress of Jacinta's husband. Furthermore, in the crucible of Fortunata's mind the apparent gulfs dissolve, for in her dreams "transmigraban recíprocamente, tomando Jacinta el exterior de Fortunata y Fortunata el exterior de Jacinta" (they exchanged identities, Jacinta taking on Fortunata's appearance and Fortunata, Jacinta's [1:626]). On a later occasion she will dream that she is imbued with the spirit of Guillermina, a Guillermina who mysteriously embodies the dead Mauricia: "Sentíala [a Guillermina] dentro de sí, como si se la hubiera tragado, cual si la hubiera tornado en comunión. . . . Llegó a figurarse que de los restos fríos de Mauricia salía volando una mariposita, la cual mariposita se metía dentro de la rata eclesiástica y la transformaba" (She could feel [Guillermina] inside, as if she had swallowed her or taken her like a Communion wafer. . . . It dawned on her that from Mauricia's cold remains a tiny butterfly was emerging and somehow getting into the "ecclesiastical rat" and transforming her). The narrator enigmatically draws the reader's attention to this destruction of binary dualities: "¡Cosa más rara! ¡El mal extremado refundiéndose así y reviviendo en el bien más puro!" (It was so weird! Extreme evil recasting itself and reliving in the purest good! [2:236–37]). Fortunata


leaves Las Micaelas temporarily convinced that the angelic role, which involves the renunciation of desire and marriage to Maxi, is morally right. This unquestioning acceptance on Fortunata's part of middle-class gender ideology and the feminine role of passive object is short-lived. A change in the trajectory of the heroine occurs at the centre of the novel at the end of part 2. Now released from the reformatory and married to Maxi, Fortunata experiences a sensation of freedom. She goes for a walk illicitly, alone, savouring as she does so the pleasure of the liberty she is taking, just as she savours the dates she has bought to eat along the way. From the conjunction of these two satisfied appetites comes her awakening to the patterns operating in her life. As Sinnigen has observed, she has a moment of epiphany as she realizes that hitherto she has played the role of object, matter to be shaped by others. She begins to envisage at least the possibility of being subject, and not object, of her own history:

alguien la sacó de aquel su primer molde para lanzarla a vida distinta; después la trajeron y la llevaron diferentes manos. Y por fin, otras manos empeñáronse en convertirla en señora. La ponían en un convento para moldearla de nuevo, después la casaban . . . y tira y dale. Figurábase ser una muñeca viva, con la cual jugaba una entidad invisible, desconocida, y a la cual no sabía dar nombre.

Ocurrióle si no tendría ella pecho alguna vez, quería decir iniciativa . . . si no haría alguna vez lo que le saliera de entre sí . (1:686)

(someone had lifted her out of that first mold and set her in a different life; then other hands took her this way and that. And finally yet others insisted on making a lady of her. They put her in a convent to be remolded; then they married her off. And more of the same! She felt that she was a living doll controlled by an invisible, unknown power she could not name.

She wondered if she would ever have some pluck, some initiative of her own; if she would ever do what "was in her.")

It is important not to reduce Fortunata's significance in the novel purely to that of allegory of the oppressed urban poor, for gender as well as class is an important influence in her depiction, and her adoption of a more active role from this moment on is crucial for that reason. The novel which had appeared to promise the conventional moral fable of the redemption of a fallen woman into an angel becomes instead a female Bildungsroman , for Fortunata y Jacinta traces the passage of the heroine from a childlike, passive state to autonomy and responsibility. As in other nineteenth-century novels of this


genre, such as Kate Chopin's The Awakening and George Eliot's Middlemarch , a crucial stage in the heroine's path to maturity is the realization of the way the limitations that gender roles impose thwart her inner aspirations. Fortunata now begins consciously to resist her categorization as fallen and sinful woman and to aspire to be an "angel" in a different way.

Fortunata's move from object to subject is shown in her appropriation of the very language which has up to now served to marginalize her. Instead of being the passive medium of others' aspirations and receptacle of their definitions, she becomes agent and definer, a spectacle that violates the gender prescriptions that governed male-authored fictional representations of women in the nineteenth century. From the moment of her awakening, Fortunata begins to subvert the language of patriarchal society. She legitimizes her own position by implicitly claiming the position of Juanito's "wife": "Mi marido eres tú . . . todo lo demás . . . ¡papas!" (You're my husband. All the rest is . . . rubbish! [1:690]). Fortunata struggles to apprehend and redefine the meanings of key words in her life, such as honradez (decency), angel, and wife. The novel, subversively, does not present these concepts as self-explanatory, transparent, natural givens. Rather, it presents them as questionable and shifting.

In the episode of Fortunata's relationship with Feijoo in part 3, Galdós absolves Fortunata of moral blame for taking yet another lover, by stressing the harsh economic reason for her conduct, just as he did for the eponymous heroine of Tormento . Even the middle-class narrator abandons the bourgeois tendency to blame prostitution on the "innate" promiscuity of working-class women, when he links Fortunata's unchastity explicitly to poverty. Feijoo himself mocks her desire to be "decent": "eso de la honradez es muy bonito. . . . No hay nada que se diga tan fácilmente y que luego resulte más difícil en la práctica. . . . Usted, compañera, no tiene ahora más remedio que aceptar el amparo de un hombre" ("Being 'decent' sounds pretty. . . . There's nothing easier to say, but that turns out to be so hard to practice. . . . You, my dear friend, have no choice but to agree to let a man take care of you" [2:98]). Thanks in part to her association with the cynical Feijoo, Fortunata's own attitudes to herself start to evolve. She comes to the conclusion that she is not sinful. "Si yo no soy mala—pensaba—. ¿Qué tengo yo de malo aquí entre mí ? Pues nada" ("I'm not bad," she thought. "What is there that's bad inside here? Nothing" [2:100]).


This vision of herself as a good woman is the start of Fortunata's rebellion against the social prescription of true womanhood. Paradoxically, she asserts her own claim to be an angelic woman precisely when she begins to behave least submissively. The fact that Fortunata for most of the novel depends upon prostitution or male "protection" in order to survive makes her an impossible candidate for the role of angel in the conventional sense of the word. Neither chaste nor, it turns out, submissive, she is the very opposite of an angel: a bad and fallen woman, a pájara or prójima . Her claims to be angelic therefore amount to a new definition of the virtuous woman. She decides that physical chastity is irrelevant and that what counts is her passionate and unswerving faithfulness to Juanito Santa Cruz.

The theme of her own and Jacinta's rival claims to angelhood remains present in her mind throughout parts 3 and 4. At first she is merely scornful of Jacinta's angelic nature: "¿Que [ella] es un ángel? Pues que lo sea" ("So she's an angel? Well, let her be" [2:207]). But her interior monologues reveal her growing belief that she too may be able to become an angel: "¡Vaya con la mona del Cielo ! Ea . . . no venga acá vendiendo mérito . . . ¡Y ángel me soy! Pues para que lo sepa, también yo, si me da la gana de set ángel, lo seré, y más que usted, mucho más. Todas tenemos nuestro ángel en el cuerpo" ("The little holier-than-thou can go to blazes! Don't try to convince me of your virtues. I'm just as much of an angel as she is. And if you really want to know, I can be more of an angel than you; a much better one. We all have a little bit of God in us" [2:211]). Significantly, she speaks here of the angelic state as a specifically feminine attribute. A little later she dreams of performing a service of wifely abnegation for Maxi, wishing "que a Maxi le entrase una enfermedad asquerosa, repugnante y pestífera, de esas que ahuyentan hasta a los más allegados. Ella, entonces, daría pruebas de set tan ángel como otra cualquiera" ([that Maxi would catch] a disgusting, repugnant, pestiferous illness, the kind that scares off even the closest relatives. Then she would prove that she was as angelic as any other woman [2:221]).

The second half of the novel poses the definition of the ángel del hogar as its central problem. Fortunata constantly wonders whether the definition of an angel can be stretched to include herself because of her qualities of love and motherhood. She goes so far as to call the rebellious and unangelic prostitute Mauricia an angel, as she laments her death: "Por más que digan, tú eras un ángel en la tierra" (No matter what they say, you were an angel on earth [2:254]). A great deal


depends on establishing whether Jacinta has been unfaithful to Juanito, for, if so, Jacinta will be an imperfect angel, which will strengthen Fortunata's own claims to the name. When Fortunata confronts Juanito himself with this idea at the end of part 3, he not unnaturally pours scorn on it and goes on to insult her, reminding her that she is not a "pure" woman like his wife. Fortunata demands ruefully: "Pero, Señor, ¡qué culpa tendré yo de que esa niña bonita sea ángel! Hasta la virtud sirve a darme a mí en la cabeza" (For God's sake, why should it be my fault if his pretty wife's an angel! Even virtue's an excuse to hit me on the head [2:369]). Finally, Fortunata asks herself an exasperated question which is emblematic of the text's denaturalizing strategy: "¿Pero qué demonios es esto de la virtud, que por más vueltas que le doy no puedo hacerme con ella y meterla en mí?" ("What in the devil is this business about 'virtue'? No matter how much I think about it, I can't get to it and get it inside me" [2:370]).

Fortunata's many statements about being an angel in part 4 all refer to the questions of female fidelity and motherhood. Her declarations are noticeably contradictory and confusing, for she vacillates between believing and doubting that she is angelic. At times she claims that she too is already an angel, like Jacinta: "las dos somos ángeles, cada una a su manera" (We're both angels, each in our own way [2:498]). On another occasion this confidence collapses: "Aquélla es un ángel; yo, otro ángel; digo, yo no . . ." (She's an angel and so am I . . . I mean, I'm not [2:481]). She sometimes speaks of the "angel" as a future state, conditional only on hard work, which she may be able to attain: "Aquí donde usted me ve, amigo Ballester, yo también puedo ser ángel, poniéndome a ello. Todo tú en ponerse" (This person you're looking at, friend Ballester, can be an angel too, if she sets herself to it. It's just a question of starting [2:513]).

It is significant that claiming to be an angel should lead Fortunata into so many contradictions. By this means, Galdós deliberately draws attention to the contradictory and paradoxical nature of the feminine ideal; the novel represents the perplexity and confusion, rather than the illumination, that the concept creates in the mind of an uneducated young woman. The ideal of the ángel appears in the text as a constantly shifting and opaque concept, as Fortunata struggles to live up to it. Her attempts to include herself within its parameters lead to some bizarre claims on her part. For example, she says that in order to become an angel she must go and assault Aurora: "Si


no lo hago, Dios mío, me va a ser imposible ser ángel" (If I don't do it, Lord knows, it'll be impossible for me to be an angel [2:515]). This is highly ironic, given that the ángel del hogar was imaged as the epitome of meekness. After the attack Fortunata makes another blatantly unangelic assertion, defying the Samaniego family to destroy what she thinks of as her reputation: "por más que hagan esos perros, no me quitarán, Dios mío, que yo sea tan ángel como otra cualquiera. Que rabien, que rabien, porque lo seré, lo seré" (no matter what those dogs do, they're not going to get it out of my head that I'm as much of an angel as anybody else. Let them be furious. I will be an angel [2:516]).

In part 3, chapter 7, "La idea . . . la pícara idea" (that idea, that crafty idea), Fortunata enunciates her subversive challenge to the "white idea," an alternative which she describes to Guillermina as "una idea muy perra, una idea negra como las niñas de los ojos de Satanás" (a foul [idea] I know, as black as the devil's eyes [2:250]). Fortunata believes that she has proved herself morally worthy through her love for Juanito and her ability to produce his son and heir, and she disregards the fact of her adultery which, in terms of nineteenth-century morality and gender roles, brands her as irrevocably fallen. This manifesto for an alternative scheme of morality is deeply disturbing to the middle-class listeners, Guillermina and Jacinta. By claiming that her virtue as a woman is not necessarily synonymous with passionlessness, monogamy, and domesticity, Fortunata challenges one of the central tenets of nineteenth-century bourgeois society. Guillermina tries to bring Fortunata's ideas into line with middle-class ideology, reminding her that "es pecado, y pecado horrible, desear el hombre ajeno" (it's a sin—a horrible sin—to desire another woman's man [2:231]) and urging her to accept her feminine role of sacrifice and passivity by giving up her relationship with Juan: "¿Cuál es la mayor de las virtudes? La abnegación, la renuncia de la felicidad. ¿Qué es lo que más purifica a la criatura? El sacrificio. . . . Llénese usted de paciencia, cumpla todos sus deberes, confórmese, sacrifíquese" (What is the greatest virtue of all? Self-denial, renouncing happiness. What purifies a creature more than anything else? Sacrifice. . . . Fill yourself with patience, perform all your duties, resign yourself, make sacrifices [2:232–33]).

Guillermina's reminder of the angelic role model fails to achieve its effect. In this confrontation Fortunata insists that her affair with


Juanito does not constitute a sin and that her relationship to him is morally valid. The middle-class narrator is unable to resolve the mixture of fear and attraction which he feels towards Fortunata in this scene. He does not share Guillermina's unqualified horror of Fortunata at this point, for although he describes Fortunata as "la prójima" (the hussy) and as a dangerous and anarchic figure, he also represents her as beautiful, inspired, and surrounded by a metaphorical halo, the sign of saintliness:

En la fisonomía de la prójima se encendió de improviso una luz vivísima. Fue como una aureola de inspiración que le envolvía toda la cara. más hermosa que nunca, sacó de su cabeza un gallardísimo argumento, y se lo soltó a la otra como se suelta una bomba explosiva.

¡Pruuun! Guillermina se quedó atontada cuando oyó esta atrocidad:

—¡Angelical! . . . sí, todo lo angelical que usted quiera; pero no tiene hijos . Esposa que no tiene hijos, no es tal esposa. . . . Es idea mía—prosiguió . . . con la inspiración de un apóstol y la audacia criminal de un anarquista—. Dirá usted lo que guste; pero es idea mía, y no hay quien me la quite de la cabeza . . . Virtuosa, sí; estamos en ello; pero no le puede dar un heredero . . . Yo, yo, yo se lo he dado, y se lo puedo volver a dar . . .

—Por Dios . . . cállese usted . . . no he visto otro caso. . . . ¡Qué idea! . . . ¡Qué atrevimiento! Está usted condenada. (2:247)

(The sinful woman's face suddenly shone very brightly. She looked as if she had a halo of inspiration around her. More beautiful than ever, she produced a staunch argument that hit the other woman like an explosive.

Boom! Guillermina was stunned when she heard this atrocity:

"Angelic! Yes, she's as angelic as you like. But she doesn't have any children. A childless wife isn't a wife. . . . What I think," [she] continued with apostolic inspiration and the criminal audacity of an anarchist, "—and you can say what you like—what I think is, and nobody can change my mind, is that she's virtuous all right. Agreed. But she can't give him an heir. I could ; I gave him one and I can give him another."

"For the love of God, don't go on. I've never seen anything like it. The idea! What nerve! You're wretched.")

This passage provides a good example of the narrator's unsettling technique of juxtaposing conflicting narrative judgements in the same sentence, such as his curious reference to Fortunata's apostolic inspiration and criminal audacity.


With its refusal to privilege conclusively any one point of view, Fortunata y Jacinta conforms to Catherine Belsey's definition of an "interrogative text," one which undermines the ideology that structures it:

the world represented in the interrogative text includes what Althusser calls "an internal distance" from the ideology in which it is held, which permits the reader to construct from within the text a critique of this ideology. . . . The interrogative text refuses a single point of view, . . . but brings points of view into unresolved collision or contradiction. It therefore refuses the hierarchy of discourses of classic realism, and no authorial or authoritative discourse points to a single position which is the place of the coherence of meaning.[38]

Fortunata ecstatically repeats on her deathbed that "yo también . . . soy ángel" (I am . . . an angel too [2:527]). We cannot easily equate her use of the term "angel" here with Christian redemption, for, as Blanco Aguinaga points out, Fortunata dies unabsolved and therefore technically in a state of sin. In Fortunata's mind, an angel is identical to a "mona del Cielo" (angel face), the colloquial cliché she has used all along to describe Jacinta.[39] Furthermore, when she says that she too is an angel, she implies that to be an angel is to be like the living Jacinta, rather than an otherworldly spirit. It seems more likely that Fortunata is announcing herself to be a virtuous woman. The true interest of this scene emerges only when we read these statements in the context of the feminized angel peculiar to nineteenth-century society, the ángel del hogar . It is deeply ironic that Fortunata, who is conspicuously not a spotless daughter, wife, or mother, should claim to be an angel. Her use of the term is blatantly at odds with bourgeois culture's definition of the model woman: she cites her devoted love, but the man she loves is not her husband, and her motherhood is of a child conceived in adultery. Fortunata at this point appropriates middle-class discourse and redefines it according to her own needs. She effectively explodes the angelic paradigm simply by being who she is as she claims her own right to the term, for she is neither passive nor passionless, neither middle-class nor confined. And yet her characterization also reaffirms the notion that woman—across classes and cultures—was innately more moral than man, since Fortunata is monogamously devoted to Juanito and possesses an incorruptible spiritual strength.

Galdós deliberately shrouds the angel theme at the end of the novel in confusion and ambiguity. The narrator is clearly torn about how to


categorize Fortunata. He reiterates Guillermina's description of Fortunata as a "diabla" (devil) eight times in the pages preceding Fortunata's death scene and repeatedly endorses the bourgeois vision of Fortunata as delirious or insane in the pages that lead up to her death, referring to her "falso gozo" (fake joy [2:493]); "exaltación delirante" (delirious exaltation [2:498]); "lo ofuscado que su espíritu estaba" (troubled mind [2:515]); he remarks that "veía los objetos desfigurados y se equivocaba a cada momento, creyendo ver lo que no existiá" (objects looked disfigured to her and she mistook them for things that did not exist [2:518]). He appears to lend some credence to Padre Nones's final verdict on Fortunata as a "cabeza trastornada" (disturbed mind [2:528]).[40] But he simultaneously undermines the negative judgement of Fortunata when he prefaces her final death scene with the statement that she is now lucid: "la cabeza se le había serenado" (her head had cleared [2:519]). When Estupiñá reiterates his employers' opinion that Fortunata is a bad woman, the narrator observes with some irritation that he speaks "con oficiosidad sañuda" (with obnoxious officiousness [2:506]). Later, he creates an ironic antithesis when he describes the dying Fortunata first as good and moral—"en aquella idea vaciaba, como en un molde, todo lo bueno que ella podía pensar y sentir" (All the good that she could think and feel emptied itself as if into a mold, into that idea)—and then, immediately afterwards, as "la diabla" (the devil [2:519–20]). During Fortunata's dying moments, when she repeats three times that she is an angel, his presentation of her is admiring rather than condemnatory. He compares her to a poet or a mystic:

Entonces resplandeció en la cara de la infeliz señora de Rubín algo que parecía inspiración poética o religioso éxtasis, y vencida maravillosamente la prostración en que estaba, tuvo arranque y palabras para decir esto:

—Yo también . . . ¿no lo sabe usted . . . ? , soy ángel . . .

Y . . . en la cara le quedó una expresión de dicha inefable y reposada. (2:527)

(And then something that resembled poetic inspiration or religious ecstasy shone in the face of the miserable Señora Rubín, and in a marvelous triumph over her prostration, she suddenly found the energy and words to declare this:

"I am, too. . . . Didn't you know? . . . I'm an angel."

And . . . in her face, that look of calm, ineffable happiness remained.)


On the second affirmation of the statement "I'm an angel," the narrator speaks of her as overcome by a "benign spirit" and then proceeds to describe the entrance of Padre Nones, whose mission is to make Fortunata recant, as an evil omen: "Toda la estancia se llenó de una negrura triste y severa" (The whole room filled with a sad, severe blackness [2:528]).

The ambiguous narrative style thus succeeds in undercutting the overt values of the narrator. It creates an unresolved conflict between two levels of opinion: on the one hand, the middle-class view that Fortunata is a sinful woman and that her belief that she is an angel is merely the product of a disordered mind, and, on the other, the opinion that she is in her own way a model woman and that her redefinition of the concept of the angel is inspiring and attractive. The ambiguity continues after Fortunata's death. Segismundo asserts to the disbelieving Guillermina that Fortunata was, after all, an honest woman: "Era un ángel . . . digo, debía serlo, podría serlo. . . . Era la persona más honrada y honesta que usted puede imaginar" (She was an angel—I mean, she should have been, she could have been. . . . She was the most decent, honest person you could imagine [2:529]). He continues to insist to doña Lupe that: "Era un ángel . . . Sí; no me vuelvo atrás, aunque usted se ría. . . . Un ángel a su manera" (She was an angel, yes—I won't take back my words, even if you do laugh at me . . . . An angel in her own way [2:538]). Finally, Segismundo and Maxi proclaim over the dead woman's grave that she was an angel. The use of the mentally unsound but clairvoyant Maxi to issue this final verdict on Fortunata's virtue adds an extra dimension of irony and ambiguity.

Blanco Aguinaga and Caudet believe that Fortunata has been pitifully coerced into accepting middle-class moral values by the end of the novel.[41] It is important to distinguish between the novel's intertwined discourses of class and gender when we consider the question of whether Fortunata is, finally, the victim or the victor. In class terms there is no doubt that as a surrogate mother, she serves bourgeois interests by donating a son to continue the Santa Cruz dynasty. She literally acts as the cantera (quarry), the figurative source of raw material that various middle-class characters had seen in her.[42] Nevertheless, Fortunata does succeed in validating herself morally in the teeth of an ideology of gender that marks her as worthless and depraved. On this level, the text suggests a deathbed victory by an


unrepentant Fortunata, who is never browbeaten by Guillermina or the priest Nones into acceding to their categorization of her as a fallen and sinful woman. Guillermina receives Fortunata's declarations that she is an angel with a mixture of deep alarm and incomprehension, not with the satisfaction one might expect if she were reiterating an acceptable idea. She urges her to make Fortunata recant: "reconozca usted que semejante idea era un error diabólico a fuerza de set tonto, y prométame que ha de renegar de ella y que no la olvidará cuando el amigo Nones la confiese" (admit that an idea like that was a diabolical error that was born out of ignorance, and promise me that you'll disown it and you won't forget it when you make your confession to Father Nones [2:527]). But these repeated attempts at coercion fail: unlike Mauricia, Fortunata does not die a penitent but goes on affirming the "black idea" that she is a pure woman.

Furthermore, thanks to Fortunata, Jacinta departs—at least in private—from the oppressive role of the ángel del hogar . The male child which is passed between the two women provides tangible evidence of Juanito's duplicity and infidelity. Jacinta is mentally liberated from her cult of angelic wifely subservience to her husband when she acquires the child. She now treats Santa Cruz differently:

ante el desdén no simulado, sino real y efectivo que su mujer le mostraba, el pobre hombre padecía horriblemente. . . . Claramente se lo dijo ella. . . .

—Haz lo que quieras. Eres libre como el aire. Tus trapisondas no me afectan nada.

Esto no era palabrería, y en las pruebas de la vida real, vio el Delfín que aquella voz iba de veras. (2:533)

(with the disdain—no longer disguised, but now real and effective—that his wife was showing him, the poor man suffered horribly. . . . She told him clearly. . . . .

"Do what you like. You're as free as the air. Your tricks don't affect me at all any more."

These were not merely words; the Dauphin saw that this time she meant it.)

Whereas Juanito's objectifying gaze as he looked at Fortunata dominated the beginning of the story, the most powerful image at the end is that of the imaginary mutual gaze connecting the two women, Fortunata and Jacinta, who have affirmed their own subjecthood and feminine solidarity despite the class gulf that separates them: "bien


podría ser que las dos mujeres se miraran de orilla a orilla, con intención y deseos de darse un abrazo" (the two women may quite possibly have looked at each other from opposite banks and wished to embrace [2:532]).[43]

Tony Tanner's analysis of the nineteenth-century novel is of especial relevance to the ambiguity of the narrative in Fortunata y Jacinta .[44] Although the nineteenth-century realist novel as a genre, says Tanner, works towards affirming the bourgeois values of order, harmony, and stability, represented by marriage, it draws its narrative energy from protagonists who embody a potentially disruptive form of energy and who actually or implicitly threaten the organization of bourgeois society. He points out that the protagonists, who are often socially displaced or unplaced—orphans, prostitutes, adventurers—assert their right to "live by another rule." In Fortunata y Jacinta , the "other rule" that Fortunata proposes, the challenge to middle-class morality and gender roles, provides the central dynamic of the novel.

Even Fortunata's removal from the scene through the conventional narrative resolution of death cannot obliterate the unconventional nature of Galdós's representation of women in Fortunata y Jacinta . Although bourgeois patriarchal order is reaffirmed at the end of the novel, it has, by that time, been thoroughly problematized by the text. The conflict between the text's two opposing value systems leaves the reader, the heroine, the narrator, and the implied author himself struggling with the notion of the angel. Fortunata's end is surrounded by questions—is she deranged or lucid, and whose final definition of her are we to accept? These open ends undermine the narrative closure imposed by her death. What Susan Kirkpatrick terms the "liberating ironies" of the narrative technique lend covert support to the departure of the two heroines from the prescribed feminine role.[45] Beneath the overtly middle-class and patriarchal value system of the narrative lies a protofeminist statement. Fortunata y Jacinta subversively critiques the exploitative power of middle-class men such as Juanito and lends its ambivalent support to a heroine who appropriates and radically redefines the ideal of the ángel del hogar .


Gender Trouble

En épocas de agitacion, de inquietud y de transicion, como la nuestra, han surgido en la mente del filósofo y de los ensueños del reformador teorías estrañas sobre la condicion social de la mujer, que no merecen otro nombre que el de locuras y desvaríos del entendimiento. Pero . . . la ley natural, que quiere que la mujer pase su existencia dedicada exclusivamente á los trabajos del hogar, nunca ha podido desaparecer.

(In times of upheaval, anxiety, and transition like our own, strange theories about the social condition of woman have arisen in the minds of philosophers and the dreams of reformers, theories that can only be described as insane and erroneous. But . . . the law of nature, which prefers woman to devote her life exclusively to domestic occupations, has never disappeared.)[1]

Es la llamada cuestión de la mujer acaso la más seria entre las que hoy se agitan.

(The so-called woman question is perhaps the greatest of our modern-day concerns.)[2]

Feminism and the Fin De Siècle in Spain

As the century drew to an end, the Restoration system's promise of order, stability, and prosperity came to seem increasingly hollow. The tranquility of the system established in 1886, whereby elections were rigged in order to ensure the peaceful transfer of government back and forth between the two parties, was only apparent; it masked escalating anxieties about socio-political instability and imperial decline, as well as intractable social problems such as suicide, prostitution, syphilis, and violent crime. The history of the Restoration, as one commentator notes, was one of an increasingly precarious social,


political, and economic equilibrium that barely masked the signs of impending crisis.[3] By the early 1890s some members of what was to become known as the generation of 1898 were already elaborating new socio-philosophical theories that posed Spain itself as a problem, attributing its cultural and economic stagnation to abulia (apathy). As early as 1889, a youthful Angel Ganivet ascribed Spain's malady to the lack of what he intriguingly termed ideas madres (matrix ideas). The fin-de-siècle era in Spain was marked by a sense of approaching national apocalypse, heralded by a marked increase in strikes, terrorist and anarchist acts, and assassinations. Galdós himself, who commented in response to the recently inaugurated May Day demonstrations that Spain was on the edge of a volcano, in 1890 painted a dire picture of a collapsing society and implied that the world he knew was coming to an end.[4] The bourgeois oligarchy was in the throes of crisis in a number of arenas: in class relations through the growth of working class and anarchist militancy, in empire and race relations through the colonial uprisings in Cuba and the Philippines and the growth of the abolitionist movement, and in sexual relations. Women, the working class, and the natives were all threatening to seek independence.

Middle-class intellectuals were busy formulating theories about what they saw as the physical and mental degeneration of society. A number of new disciplines were born in Europe at this time. Neurologists and psychologists, following the example of pioneers such as G. Stanley Hall, Henry Maudsley, and Jean-Martin Charcot, sought answers to the perturbing increase in mental illness, describing and investigating new diseases and sexual perversions, such as hysteria and nymphomania. Criminal anthropology emerged in the late 1880s in response to the perceived rise in violent crime and alcoholism. All over Europe science, which was playing such a vital role in transforming western structures of thought, also helped to shore up aspects of the old order in the face of threatened social changes. Biology having become the determining factor in social theory, the stage was set for medical science to play its peculiarly decisive intervention in nineteenth-century culture, policing the patriarchy. In 1889 Geddes and Thomson advanced their popular theory of the essentially gendered nature of metabolism, strengthening the case that physicians such as Edward Clarke had already made against female education as exhausting women's smaller stock of vital energy and leading to


neurasthenia and, eventually, to sterility.[5] The female physique, it was argued, automatically and naturally disqualified women from undertaking a strenuous education or competing with men in the public sphere. Weir Mitchell proposed confinement and his famous "rest cure" for overactive women, including the writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Anthropometric studies measured and compared human frames, giving rise to conclusions that were blatantly misogynist, racist, and classist. Cesare Lombroso and Gustave Le Bon, at the forefront of the new science of physical anthropology in Italy and France, argued that women, criminals, and "savage" races were all evolutionary anachronisms, cases of arrested development. Evolution, they believed, had bypassed women, leaving them with smaller skulls, stunted frames, and a greater propensity to insanity.[6]

In Spain, a major part of the pervading sense of impending collapse stemmed from a perception of a disease in gender relations threatening to invade the heart of the country. As one writer put it, in biblical rhetoric, women's emancipation was "la mala nueva de los tiempos apocalípticos de la revolución social que nos amenaza" (the bad news of the apocalypse of social revolution that is threatening us).[7] Since the middle of the century, conservative apologists had written of the disturbing developments in women's rights movements abroad. But whereas in 1877 an amendment in the Spanish parliament proposing a limited degree of female suffrage could sink almost without trace in the press, by the late 1880s those advocating an expansion in women's role beyond the domestic sphere had a great deal more support. Thanks to the efforts of the Asociación para la Enseñanza de la Mujer, the foundations of some possibilities for women to work outside the home were being laid. In 1884 Concepción Arenal, who had disguised herself as a man in order to attend classes at Madrid University in the 1840s, arranged for her analysis of the situation of Spanish women, The Woman Question in Europe , to be published simultaneously in North America, Britain, and France.

The term feminism itself was coined in France around 1882 and migrated abroad in the following decade.[8] An article by one Adolfo Llanos on North American feminism, printed in 1883, carries a distinctly minatory tone, and he goes to great pains not just to dismiss women's emancipation but to show how American women themselves are unhappy with their independence.[9] His strategy is more openly defensive than the confident ridicule of feminism seen in ear-


lier texts and must be placed (albeit on the margins) in the context of the growth of feminism within Spain itself: in 1883 feminist conferences were held in Palma de Mallorca and Barcelona, arousing a number of satirical attacks in the press.[10] A feminist journal, La Ilustración de la Mujer , also founded in that year, celebrated the fact that Spain was on the eve of a gender revolution and attacked the notion of the ángel del hogar in a piece called "O votos o rejas" (either votes or prison).[11]Las Dominicales del Libre Pensamiento argued provocatively that "la mujer ni es joya, ni perla, ni ángel del hogar, ni tanto y tanto adjetivo como la prodiga su discreto admirador; es un set humano digno de todo respeto" (woman is neither a jewel, nor a pearl, nor an angel in the house, nor any of the endless adjectives bestowed on her by her tactful admirer; she is a human being worthy of the greatest respect).[12] In the 1890s María Goyri, the first woman to matriculate in the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras at Madrid University, began to write the "Crónicas del feminismo" for the Revista Popular . Galdós himself noted with scornful concern, as a manifestation of the volatility of bourgeois social order, a socialist feminist meeting in Barcelona: "Entre las curiosidades de estos días, la más señalada es el meeting de mujeres celebrado hace dos días en Barcelona. ¡Las mujeres también en huelga! ¡Emancipación, igualdad de derechos con el hombre! La cosa se complica" (Among the curiosities of the day, the most noteworthy is the women's meeting held two days ago in Barcelona. Women on strike too! Emancipation, equal rights with men! Things are getting complicated).[13]

An important sign of the sea change under way was the Congreso Pedagógico Hispano-Portugués-Americano held in 1892, where for the first time a special section was devoted to women's education; the most radical feminists in Spain took impassioned positions supporting women's right to higher education for its own sake, rather than as preparation for motherhood, the argument previously used to buttress demands for educational reform.[14] Throughout the 1890s a series of debates between major intellectual figures marked the importance of the woman question, such as the Posada-Serrano correspondence on whether friendship was possible between the sexes, stimulated by Pardo Bazán's spirited attack on a recent book by González Serrano. The polemic between antifeminism and feminism continued on a literary level in the dialogic texts of three fictional versions of the Adam and Eve myth, each imbued with their author's ideology on the


woman question; Clarín's Cuento futuro (1892), Pardo Bazán's Cuento primitivo (1893), and Blasco Ibañez's Establo de Eva (1896).[15] In the last year of the century Adolfo Posada wrote that "la marcha que sigue en todas partes el llamado movimiento feminista , es de tal naturaleza, que apenas pasa un día sin que se produzca, ó una manifestación doctrinal . . . ó bien una disposición legal, . . . ó bien por último, una institución dedicada á la propaganda del feminismo" (the progress being made everywhere by the so-called feminist movement is so great that scarcely a day goes by without the appearance of some manifesto . . . or law . . . or institution devoted to feminist proselytizing).[16]

Fear of women's economic and sexual liberation gave rise to growing misogyny among many male writers by the end of the 1890s. Turn-of-the-century antifeminist writings escalated in number and urgency of tone; many made direct reference to a last-ditch attempt to close the barriers to feminism, which they portrayed as a revolting foreign aberration. Once the doors were opened, they argued, "á esa inmunda cloaca iría a caer la sociedad moderna, envuelta en una corrupción universal" (modern society would fall into that filthy sewer, and be swamped by decaying matter). The same writer raised the possibility of the sexes themselves disappearing into a monstrous androgynous figure, "el hombre-femina " (the man-woman). Feminism was represented by its detractors as an infectious disease afflicting women, who were particularly vulnerable to "el creciente contagio de un feminismo morboso, de que adolecen tantas neuráticas [sic ], histéricas, desequilibradas, hipnotizadas y autosugestionadas que . . . sólo son útiles a la medicina" (the growing spread of a diseased feminism, contracted by so many neurotics and hysterics who are disturbed, mesmerized and deluded and . . . are only of interest to the medical profession).[17] Misogyny seems to have been endemic in western Europe during the turn of the century period, as Bram Dijkstra attests in his study of the visual arts.[18] Nietzsche, a virulent opponent of the women's movement, which he termed "one of the worst developments in the general uglification of Europe," was the intellectual guru for members of the up-and-coming generation of 1898 such as Maeztu, Baroja, and Azorín.[19] One of Galdós's most important colleagues, Leopoldo Alas, published numerous antifeminist articles in the 1880s and 1890s. Another influential young writer, Angel Ganivet, was working on La conquista del reino de Maya in 1893, in which he depicted women happily confined to segregated quarters


in the home, required to love like domestic animals and forcibly returned to their families if they proved sterile. In Granada la bella (1896) he attacked the recently formed women's Telephone Operators Schools, while in his Cartas finlandesas (written 1897–1898) he grappled with his mingled repugnance and grudging admiration for the relatively emancipated Scandinavian women. He spoke for the vast majority of Spanish men of his generation when he remarked that "Muy hello sería que la mujer, sin abandonar sus naturales funciones, se instruyera con discreción; pero si ha de instruirse con miras emancipadoras ó revolucionarias, preferible es que no salga de la cocina" (It would be fine if women could be educated sensibly, without abandoning their natural functions; but if they are to be educated with a view to emancipation or revolution, it's better that they stay in the kitchen).[20]

The idea of even the most exceptional women entering the male sphere was hotly resisted. Clarín and Valera ridiculed the candidacy of Pardo Bazán to the Academia Real in 1890, rightly suspecting that the issue was a symbolic one, and attacked women's growing extra-domestic pretensions as absurd and dangerous. While Valera tried unsuccessfully to belittle the issue, entitling his comments "una cuestión social inocente" (an innocuous social question), Clarín was more brutal, returning to the theme of keeping the sluice gates firmly closed: "Si hoy hacemos académicas a tres que valen, mañana pedirán plaza las muchas que creen merecerla" (If we make three decent women academics today, tomorrow all those who think they're any good will be asking for places). Intellectually, women, he boasted, "comparadas con los hombres se quedan tamañitas" (are nothing compared to men).[21]

The woman question must have touched Galdós on a personal level, and not just through his literary relationships with male colleagues such as Clarín and Valera. Intriguingly, despite all the evidence of his adherence to his culture's ideology, Galdós had a clandestine affair with Spain's leading feminist, Emilia Pardo Bazán, in 1889 and 1890.[22] During the latter part of her affair with Galdós, Pardo Bazán was reading and translating John Stuart Mill's Subjection of Women (1869). Her translation, the first in Spain, was entitled La esclavitud femenina and appeared in her series entitled 'Biblioteca de la mujer" in 1891. Galdós came the closest to semifamilial stability in Santander with Lorenza Cobián, who bore his child, María, in


January 1891. Yet he was also engaged in another documented affair at that time, with the struggling actress Concha-Ruth Morell. This liaison dated at least from the summer of 1891, suggesting that Galdós was simultaneously involved with at least two if not all three of these women. Morell's letters weakly echo some of Pardo Bazán's feminist positions, expressing Morell's more inchoate and often contradictory longings for independence, love, and a successful career. While the ambivalence in Galdós's novels on the issue of women's place seems to parallel his real-life attraction to, and subsequent abandonment of, these women for whom domesticity was not enough, the Galdosian enigma is ultimately preserved, since his letters to them have never been made available. The only evidence we have to go on is their alternately passionate and pleading letters to him, as he gradually withdrew.[23]

Tristana and the "Legless Angel of Victorian Romance"

Se ha querido limitar la vida de la mujer, física, moral e intelectual, de manera que no saliese del hogar doméstico, sin ver que no era obra de concentración sino de mutilación la que se hacía (People have tried to limit woman's life physically, emotionally and intellectually, so that she would not leave the home, without realizing that what they were doing was not focusing her but mutilating her).
Concepción Arenal[24]

Tristana prometía otra cosa. . . . Galdós nos dejó entrever un horizonte nuevo y amplio, y después corrió la cortina (Tristana promised something different. . . . Galdós gave us a glimpse of a wide new horizon, and then he drew the curtain).
Pardo Bazán[25]

The woman question, which was frequently present at a submerged symbolic level in previous Galdosian novels, becomes in Tristana (1892) the central subject of the novel. This work depicts the dire fate of a woman who tries to elude feminine domesticity. The title of the work itself, feminizing the name of the doomed lover of Iseult, suggests that both gender and sadness are going to be at issue in this work, especially since it also echoes the name of Flora Tristán, a famous Franco-Hispanic feminist of the early nineteenth century.[26] The novel reproduces the Tristan-Iseult myth structurally, with its love triangle between a young woman, the older man she is destined to marry, and a younger one. Don Lope, like King Mark, will even-


tually assert his power and separate the lovers. But the novel plays with the gender identities of its source. The character corresponding to the mythic Tristan is in fact Horacio, and not Tristana. Implicitly, thus, gender, in this version of the myth, has become problematic.

Tristana's one aim in life is to find a fulfilling career that will allow her to live independently. Instead, she has a leg amputated and undergoes a curious conversion to domesticity, becoming the wife of her aging seducer. The novel clearly alludes to the woman question of the 1890s; yet critics have never been able to reach a consensus as to the nature of the statement it makes. Some critics read it as an attack on feminism, in which the mutilation and enclosure of Tristana are correctives, applied by an author who fundamentally disapproved of his heroine's feminist aspirations.[27] Other commentators take exactly the opposite position, arguing that the novel should be interpreted instead as a feminist allegory, a protest on the part of the author about women's condition.[28]

The reason for the emergence of such diametrically opposed sets of readings lies, once again, in the ambiguity of narrative presentation. In Tristana Galdós has contrived a supremely equivocal narrative voice, using a chameleon narrator who cleverly manipulates contradictory points of view. The narrative alludes constantly to one of the major issues of the day but refuses ultimately to identify with either patriarchal or feminist positions.[29]

Tristana falls into three broadly distinct modes of narrative presentation. In the first of these, the characters are presented to the reader through the mediating consciousness of a narrator who is patently unreliable. From the outset, he engages the reader in a "now-you-see-it, now-you-don't" game, in which he constantly adopts different guises. In the novel's opening paragraph, he presents himself as an eyewitness, a mere acquaintance, who has to learn about don Lope from others: "la primera vez que tuve conocimiento de tal personaje y pude observar su catadura militar . . . dijéronme que se llamaba don Lope de Sosa" (the first time I met this character and could observe his military demeanour . . . I was told his name was don Lope de Sosa [349]).[30] Yet in the second paragraph this personal narrator suddenly becomes authoritatively omniscient, revealing Lope's age even while telling us that it is impossible to ascertain. The opening portrait of don Lope reveals the other major level of ambiguity in the narrator's technique: the constant oscillations between complicity


with and criticism of the characters. Towards don Lope he shows a kind of friendly malice, for while he describes his subject as noble, honourable, and basically decent, he simultaneously undercuts him by hinting that Lope is in fact vain, egotistical, socially pretentious, obstinate, and lecherous.

Since the narrator's oscillations in the opening paragraphs establish him as unreliable, we are already alert to the possibility of irony when the narrator launches into an exposé of don Lope's womanizing. The passage is a clever parody of moralistic rhetoric, a balloon of hot air which collapses at the pinprick insertion of an "etcétera, etcétera" that self-mockingly implicates the narrator in the practice of the very double standard he purports to condemn. The discovery is similar to that made at the end of La de Bringas , when we realize that the narrator of that novel is a former lover of Rosalía:

Inútil parece advertir que cuantos conocían a Garrido, incluso el que esto escribe, abominaban y abominan de tales ideas, deplorando con toda el alma que la conducta del insensato caballero fuese una fiel aplicación de sus perversas doctrinas. Debe añadirse que a cuantos estimamos en lo que valen los grandes principios sobre que se asienta, etcétera, etcétera . . . , se nos ponen los pelos de punta sólo de pensar cómo andaría la máquina social si a sus esclarecidas manipulantes les diese la ventolera de apadrinar los disparates de don Lope. (355)

(It seems superfluous to remark that all who knew Garrido, including the writer, deplored and continue to deplore such ideas, lamenting wholeheartedly that the senseless man's behaviour should have been such a faithful application of his perverse doctrines. Furthermore, those of us who value the great principles which are the basis of, etcetera, etcetera . . . , are horrified at the very thought of how society would function if its enlightened members took it into their heads to follow don Lope's crazy notions.)

The narrator's manipulation of contradictory positions is equally evident in the way he presents Tristana. The slippage between omniscient and eyewitness persona strikes us first, as he alternately professes to know all about the heroine and then disclaims knowledge, playing the part of a fallible acquaintance: "¿Qué dijo a Tristana el sujeto aquel? No se sabe" (What did the gentleman say to Tristana? No one knows [363]). More important, his attitude towards her feminist ideas is consistently double-edged, as he appears first friend, then saboteur.


In the early part of the novel the narrator adopts a largely anti-patriarchal role. He describes Tristana's awakening to an awareness of the problematic nature of gender as a realization of enclosure: "los horizontes de la vida se cerraban y ennegrecían cada día más delante de la señorita de Reluz" (life's horizons were narrowing and darkening more every day in front of Miss Reluz [359]). Like the heroines of the nineteenth-century female-authored Bildungsroman , Tristana grows up to a realization of coercive social pressures; she envisages women as bound and motionless (358). The novel contains many images of wings and frustrated flight, in the tradition of contemporaneous feminist discourse.[31] The narrator seems at pains to stress the master-slave dialectic between Lope and Tristana, consistently referring to the former as the "dueño," "señor," and "amo" (owner, lord, and master) and Tristana as "la esclava," "la cautiva," and "la prisionera" (slave, captive, and prisoner).

The narrative constructs patriarchal sexual relations in terms of devastating images of disease, mutilation, and enclosure. Initially, both the male characters are figured as pitifully damaged creatures. Don Lope, in his relations with women, is cast in the part of a war veteran, while Horacio's studio is equally reminiscent of the battlefield in its multiple depictions of fragments of naked women (364). The first image of mutilation which the narrator uses refers to Lope's mind, which, like scar tissue, is incapable of sensation—in this case, of feeling the harm he is doing to Tristana by seducing her:

La conciencia del guerrero de amor dejaba ver . . . arideces horribles de astro apagado y muerto. Era que al sentido moral del buen caballero le faltaba una pieza importante, cual órgano que ha sufrido una mutilación y sólo funciona con limitaciones o paradas deplorables. . . . Su conciencia, tan sensible en otros puntos, en aquél era más dura y más muerta que un guijarro. (354–55)

(The conscience of the veteran of love had . . . dreadfully arid parts, like those of a dead, collapsed star. The truth was, the good man's moral sense was lacking an important piece, like an organ which has been mutilated and which is unfortunately only partly, haltingly functional. . . . His conscience, which was so sensitive on other points, was, in that area, more hard and dead than a stone.)

Don Lope's moral disfigurement is compared to the ravages of leprosy (360). The narrator employs a simile of airborne bacteria to evoke the contemporary patriarchal mentality that Lope has absorbed:


"una moral compleja, que no por ser suya dejaba de ser común, fruto abundante del tiempo en que vivimos; moral que, aunque parecía de su cosecha, era en rigor concreción en su mente de las ideas flotantes en la atmósfera metafísica de su época, cual as invisibles bacterias en la atmósfera física" (a complex morality, which was widespread and not don Lope's alone, a crop that flourished in the times we live in; a morality which, although it appeared to be peculiar to him, was in point of fact the manifestation in his mind of the ideas floating around in the metaphysical atmosphere of his time, like the invisible bacteria in the physical atmosphere [351]). Don Lope's hypnotic power over Tristana is similarly figured as a contagious disease, a few pages later (357).

Horacio too has been handicapped—by a grandfather who, in his desire to create a model successor able to value commerce and domesticity, used to tie him to the table leg to prevent him from going out (365). Even though Horacio claims to have learned how to walk and even to fly after his cramping exposure to these bourgeois ideals, it is significant that Tristana appeals despairingly to him not to tie her to a table leg with his conventional prescriptions of behaviour (399).

The theme of disablement and disease extends, in the early stages of the novel, beyond the two male characters to encompass the whole notion of bourgeois conduct, and specifically middle-class notions of marriage and gender relations. Significantly, Tristana's first encounter with Horacio is set against the background of a procession of horribly defaced deaf-mute and blind children walking in pairs. The implications of faculties or organs diseased, or useless through mutilation, is very clear throughout the description of the blind children: "Las caras aburridas, muertas, de los ciegos, picoteadas atrozmente de viruelas, vacíos los ojos, y cerrados entre cerdosas pestañas, o abiertos, aunque insensibles a la luz, con pupila de cuajado vidrio" (The bored, dead faces of the blind ones were badly scarred by smallpox; some of them had eyes that were empty and closed, with gummy lashes; others were open, though impervious to the light, with set, glassy pupils [361]). The children walk in couples; "en cada pareja, los ojos del mudo valían al ciego para poder andar sin tropezones" (the deaf ones would use their eyes to help their blind partners walk without tripping [361]). Tristana often harks back to the chilling sight, recalling it as "la tarde aquella de los sordomudos" (that day we saw the deaf-mutes [363]). The patriarchal vision of the


ideal couple that Horacio cherishes is framed in terms curiously reminiscent of this episode of the blind children. He rhapsodizes about an utterly dependent wife who sees through her husband's eyes: "la esposa que vive de la savia moral e intelectual del esposo y que con los ojos y con el corazón de él ve y siente" (the wife who lives off the emotional and intellectual sap of her husband, who sees with his eyes and feels with his heart [377]). The narrator's elliptical way of hinting at the beginning of their sexual relations also suggests a sort of confining disablement: "y desde aquel dia no pasearon más" (after that day they didn't go walking again [376]).

Tristana's hopes that a relationship with Horacio can provide an escape from gender roles are doomed because ironically, it is Horacio, through whom she had hoped for escape from the imprisoning domestic ideal, who turns out to be its most enthusiastic devotee. Horacio ultimately finds Tristana alarming and disquieting and finds himself wishing she could be reduced to a more manageable size: "esperaba que su constante cariño y la acción del tiempo rebajarían un poco la talla imaginativa y razonante de su ídolo, haciéndola más mujer, más doméstica, más corriente y útil" (he hoped that his constant love and the passing of time would help to reduce his idol's capacity for imagination and reasoning, making her more womanly, more domestic, more ordinary and useful [379]). To Horacio, the notions of woman and domesticity are so inseparable that he takes pains to correct Tristana's repeated disavowals of domestic capabilities. Symbolically, he becomes a cultivator of doves and hens—both, like the ángel del hogar , tame, confined, nonflying birds. As Horacio and Tristana become estranged, he writes to Tristana from the country about the doves and hens who are the symbol of what he wants her to be: calm and contained. The birds become a way for the lovers to convey their fundamental disagreements over sexual roles. Horacio, commenting on Tristana's English lessons, for example, says that "las palomas no quieren nada con ingleses" (the doves don't want anything to do with the English [390]). Horacio finally rejects Tristana because she will not accede to bourgeois domestic ideals: "no le gusta el campo, ni la jardinería, ni la Naturaleza, ni las aves domésticas, ni la vida regalada y obscura" (she doesn't like the country, or gardening, or nature, or keeping birds, or the easy, quiet life [413]).[32]

Since Tristana is often figured not just as a restless bird but as a stampeding horse, the image of the wooden horses galloping crazily


on the merry-go-round which the lovers see in the playground early on in their affair is freighted with symbolic significance. The sight serves as a silent comment on the circularity and inevitability with which these two lovers will conform to conventional roles. By implication their affair, far from allowing Tristana to run free, will be a charmed but vicious circle, merely causing her to rehearse all the platitudinous gender roles from which she is trying to escape.

The antipatriarchal tenor of the beginning of the novel gives way to a distinctly antifeminist slant after Tristana begins the affair with Horacio and tries out her revolutionary ideas on him. The narrator abandons his earlier characterization of the heroine as justified in her demands, presenting her instead as insatiable and febrile. Although earlier he had recounted Tristana's awakening to the consciousness of oppression with great sympathy, he now comes to present her as an impossible, hysterical female. Throughout the rest of the novel, typically fin-de-siècle images of drunkenness, delirium, and hysteria recur throughout the narrator's characterizations of the heroine, who now appears inimical to the principle of order and regulation. Tristana's desire to spread her wings and make a life free of social and familial conventions makes her as dangerous as the anarchists whose bombs were spreading such fear in bourgeois hearts; the fact that the Spanish verb volar can mean both to fly and to explode is curiously appropriate to our reading of Tristana . Her characterization would have made her anathema to the middle-class audience for whom the novel was originally intended, for the social ideals of the Spanish bourgeoisie were order and stability: concepts such as peace and tranquility were the watchwords of apologists of the ideal society.

Throughout the novel that is called Tristana , attention is largely focused on the reactions and thought processes of the two male protagonists and the male narrator, as they react to Tristana. The heroine is constructed as the object of their and of our judgemental gaze, a state of affairs which becomes more pronounced as the novel develops. Tristana is censured by Horacio, don Lope, and the narrator for being the frantic dreamer of an impossible utopia that all three characterize as excessive, unhealthy, and unnatural. Horacio alludes to Tristana's mental powers as a "fiebre de ideación" (ferment of ideas [379]), and tells her that she needs to be cured of the "locas efervescencias" (crazy effervescences [389]) that disturb her. The narrator represents her as feverish, suffering from a kind of delir-


ium of the spirit (363), and possessed by manic-depressive and hysterical tendencies: "tan voluble y extremosa era en sus impresiones la señorita de Reluz, que fácilmente pasaba del júbilo desenfrenado y epiléptico a una desesperación lugubre" (Miss Reluz was so moody and extraordinarily sensitive that she would easily pass from an uncontrollable, hysterical joy to a mournful desperation [387]). Her liaison with Horacio he repeatedly dismisses as inebriated and stormy, a "tempestuosa embriaguez de los sentidos, con relámpagos de atrevidas utopías eróticas y sociales" (drunken storm of the senses, with flashes of daring erotic and social utopias [378]). The narrator's judgements of her veer between pitying and disapproving, but they always stress the notion of Tristana's tendency to sick excesses of fancy. In his view Tristana launches herself wildly, as the wooden horses of the merry-go-round do, into the realm of the impossible and the imaginary, "como córcel desbocado, buscando el imposible fin de lo infinito, sin sentir en su loca . . . carrera" (like a frenzied steed, seeking the impossible end of infinity, feeling nothing in her mad . . . race [398]). Tristana, in her letters as well as her conversation, is often shown asking for more, a characteristic presented by the narrator, who disapproves of her unrealistic social dreams, as a kind of draining sexual voraciousness (364, 368). As Gilbert Smith shows, there are strong parallels between the fictional Tristana and the plaintive and rather dizzy correspondence of the real-life Concha-Ruth Morell, with whom Galdós was involved at the time of writing the novel. The narratorial ambivalence in the novel towards Tristana may be accounted for, at least in part, by the incipient negativity towards Morell that was to lead Galdós to distance himself from her.

After the novel's contradictory feminist-antifeminist beginning, the mode of presentation changes entirely; the reader encounters the lovers' correspondence, while the schizophrenic narrative voice of the first part disappears. Replacing it is that of an editor of a series of letters. The comments of this new narrative persona, few as they are, reveal an unambiguously paternalistic and derisive attitude towards the affair documented in the letters. He is forgetful, and faintly bored: "esto decía la primera carta . . . , no, no, la segunda" (that was in the first letter . . . , no, no, the second [363]). After a brief interjection at the beginning of chapter 17, he disappears for the rest of the epistolary section, leaving only the voices of the two lovers, which eventually


dwindle to that of Tristana alone. At the crucial point when Tristana develops the tumour in her leg, there is no narrative comment whatsoever; even Horacio is silent, leaving only the feverishly bright and despairing voice of Tristana prattling on into an ominous void.

In chapter 19 the disease metaphor becomes fictional reality: Tristana develops a disease of mysterious etiology in her leg. At this point the two discourses, the patriarchal and the feminist, ambiguously mingle, as the text suggests two opposing explanations for the sinister train of events. From the antifeminist point of view of Lope and Horacio, it is significant that the disease which breaks out in Tristana's leg appears to be a tumour, for the uncontrollable multiplication of abnormal cells parallels the uncontrollable, insatiable, hubristic overreaching of Tristana's fevered mind. In her imagination she longs to overstep the order predicated by patriarchy; according to the norms of her society, her feminist ideas are "unnatural," an aberration. From Tristana's own viewpoint, however, the disease does not originate in feminism but in patriarchy. It is another case of don Lope wielding his power and mysteriously infecting her "porque la cojera es como un grillete que [me] sujeta más a su malditísima persona" (because my limp is like a shackle that binds me even more to that dreadful man [393]).

The representation of Tristana's unnamed disease demonstrated how, even in 1895, cancer and consumption remained metaphorically linked. Tristana is the typical consumptive subject, alternating between febrile hyperactivity and "passionate resignation," a "hectic, reckless creature of passionate extremes." Furthermore, as Sontag writes, according to the "mythology of TB, there is generally some passionate feeling which provokes, which expresses itself in, a bout of TB. But the passions must be thwarted, the hopes blighted. And the passion, although usually love, could be a political or moral passion," such as a revolutionary political doctrine.[33] The text has certainly done enough to suggest that it is Tristana's own passionate desire for a feminist utopia that causes her disease. But it simultaneously raises the possibility that she has been infected by don Lope, perhaps with syphilis, that great scourge of the nineteenth century. Alternatively, we could see her cancer as a kind of "demonic pregnancy."[34] All these alternatives exist simultaneously: the text does not allow us to choose among them, for Tristana , perhaps more than any other novel by Galdós, exhibits what Peter Goldman terms an "aesthetic of ambigu-


ity."[35] The tug of thesis and antithesis is deliberately held in suspension, never to be resolved.

Critics such as Carlos Feal Deibe comment upon the sinister description of the operation itself, figured as a drastic male intervention, the "cure" which Horacio and Lope had secretly desired for so long. The episode of Tristana's illness and operation contains many references to the notion of wings and flight. The immobilizing of Tristana by the anaesthesia prior to the symbolic mutilation of her wings is described as forcing her into a nest. Míquis "hizo con su pañuelo una especie de nido chiquitín" (made a sort of little nest with his handkerchief [404]) which he applies to her face when she is not looking. This produces a deathlike sleep, from which Tristana is resurrected a different creature. As Feal Deibe points out, the "nest" applied to Tristana's nose implies a desire to end her flight. Tristana has to be brought back to the nest—or the fold—from which she tried to escape.[36] Don Lope's self-congratulatory meditations on the immobilizing of Tristana make this point clearly: "¡Pobre muñeca con alas! Quiso alejarse de mí, quiso volar; pero no contaba con su destino, que no le permite revoloteos ni correrías; no contaba con Dios, que me tiene ley" (Poor winged doll! She tried to break away from me, to fly; but she forgot about her fate, which doesn't allow for flying or running; and she forgot about God, who's on my side [403–4]).

The disease in Tristana's leg and the resultant amputation are logical developments of many patterns of imagery operating in the novel. For one, the initial evocation of Tristana as a little oriental doll had served to evoke the practice of foot binding, which is later metaphorically realized. As a result of her illness Tristana is both figuratively and literally cut down to size, in a way that fulfils the wishes of Horacio who "se complacía en suponer que el tiempo iría templando en ella la fiebre de ideación, pues para esposa o querida perpetua tal flujo de pensar temerario le parecía excesivo" (liked to think that time would temper the ferment of ideas in her, because such a frightful flow of thoughts seemed excessive to him in a wife or a permanent mistress [379]). Don Lope gloats over the fact that he has "got" Tristana, that she is now immobilized and dependent, using the semantically rich adjective sujeta , which contains all three meanings. The theme of social coercion seen in class relations in Fortunata y Jacinta , in the series of middle-class characters who seek to shape the lower-class heroine for their own purposes, resurfaces in


this novel in terms of gender relations, as Lope and Horacio try to force Tristana into the patriarchal mould of feminine subordination and dependence.

After the operation, the number of diminutives which don Lope uses and the tone of oppressive paternalism which he adopts towards Tristana become quite blatant. He calls her "su cojita," his "enfermita" (little lame one, sick baby), and refers to her leg as a "patita" (little leg [424]). He pays for what he calls "leccioncitas de pintura" and a "carrito" (little painting lessons, a little wheelchair [1416]). Don Lope neutralizes the power of the erotic relation between the young couple by rhetorically allotting Horacio the place of one of Tristana's toys: "cuanto antojo tenga la niña, se lo satisfará su amante padre. Le traje los pinceles, le traje el harmonium, y no basta. Hacen falta más juguetes" (whatever my little girl wants, her loving father will give her. I got her the paintbrushes, the harmonium, and that's not enough. She needs more toys [409]). He is careful to stress the link between Tristana's lost leg and her lost possibility of sexual fulfilment (411). Tristana is, in effect, turned into a "female eunuch," or, to use Orwell's expression, "the real legless angel of Victorian romance."[37]

She also gives up her revolutionary ideas, as if these had been merely the result of her love affair with Horacio. Tristana becomes the angelic wife, with apparently no mind or inclinations of her own. After her operation Lope's imaginary script for her letter to Horacio has her say that "me hah salido alas" (I've grown wings) and that she is like the "ángeles del Cielo" (angels in Heaven [406]). The immediate effect is to pacify and tame her:

el abatimiento y prostración de la niña eran para causar alarma. No parecía la misma, y denegaba su propio ser; ni una vez siquiera pensó en escribir cartas, ni salieron a relucir aquellas aspiraciones o antojos sublimes de su espíritu. . . . Entontecida y aplanada, su ingenio superior sufría un eclipse total. Tanta pasividad y mansedumbre . . . agradaron a don Lope. (405–6)

(the girl was so depressed and low it was alarming. She no longer seemed the same person and contradicted her own personality; not once did she even think about writing a letter, nor did her mind bring forth any more wishes or wonderful dreams. . . . Dulled and stupefied, her great mind went into a total eclipse. Such passivity and docility . . . pleased don Lope.)

As a result of the operation, Tristana comes to admire the ideal of domesticity, which she formerly spurned, listening with interest and


enjoyment to Lope reading Horacio's eulogies of rural domesticity. "Sin duda," the narrator enigmatically remarks, this change occurs "por efecto de una metamórfosis verificada en su alma después de la mutilación de su cuerpo" (No doubt . . . because of the metamorphosis that had taken place in her soul after her body was mutilated [414]).

The vision of Tristana as angelic interpreter becomes the definitive one: the Tristana who hoped to become an artist-creator herself has been mutilated into an angel-woman who is, through her lack of libido, incapable of being an artist. Desexualized and tamed, she now takes lessons on a prosthetic "organito" (little organ) from a professor who, surely not incidentally, "habría convertido en organista a un sordomudo " (could have made an organist out of a deaf-mute [415; emphasis added]). Don Lope and Horacio in a proprietorial manner discuss which of them should pay for Tristana's medical treatment. Tristana is reintegrated into the establishment, eventually spending so much time in church that she has become "parte integrante del edificio y aun de la institución" (an integral part of the building and even of the institution [418]). Her attempts to become an artist suffer a final, risible metamorphosis. She takes up the one kind of art permitted to women under late-nineteenth-century patriarchy: "el arte culinario" (the art of cooking).

The narrator's repeated descriptions of Tristana as "la inválida" are the culmination of the imagery of sickness and disablement which is associated with sexual roles throughout the novel. The vision of Tristana mutilated in order to fit the pattern of the angel in the house concurred exactly with the vision of Concepción Arenal, one of Spain's most prominent feminist writers. In La mujer de su casa she expounded the theory that the domestic woman idealized by the bourgeoisie was a mutilated being: "lo terrible, es que haya miles y millones que . . . llaman perfección a la mutilación" (the terrible thing is that there are thousands and millions of people . . . who call mutilation perfection).[38]

At the end of the novel the original narrator returns, but with a significant difference: he has apparently lost his powers of omniscience, and is now only selectively knowledgeable. Although he continues his explanatory commentaries on don Lope and Horacio, he now presents Tristana from the outside only, disqualifying his own exegeses of her conduct with the phrase sin duda (no doubt). He tantalizes the reader with a mocking refusal to elucidate Tristana's constant changes of direction, as she abandons painting and takes


up instead first music, then religion, and finally domesticity, in a way that seems to make her a textbook example of nineteenth-century patriarchal theories on women's innate frivolity and lack of deep creative genius. As a result of this narrative technique, Tristana now appears oddly hermetic, caught up in an unreadable internal world from which the reader is absolutely excluded. The marriage which Tristana passively and indifferently undergoes fits her into the pigeonhole of the angelic wife, "encasillándola en un hueco honroso de la Sociedad" (inserting her into a respectable slot in society [428]). As if to register her effective death as an independent being, the narrative ceases almost entirely to record her private emotions or even her words. She is observed purely from the exterior, as a remote, almost autistic being. It is never clear whether she is resigned to the hopelessness of her situation, or whether a real change has taken place and she now feels at peace, accepting the situation which she had abhorred. It suggests a sort of internal death—a Tristana physically resurrected from the apple-scented surgical grave but emotionally as good as dead.

In the final section, the total exclusion of Tristana's perspective on events—even refracted through the masculinist consciousness of the narrator—is matched by a parallel privileging of the perspectives of the male characters. As the novel progresses, a curious network of complicity emerges between the increasingly misogynistic narrator and the two male characters. The narrator, in his capacity as editor, describes the perplexed recipient of Tristana's letters in a way that presupposes both his own and the reader's solidarity with Horacio: "el efecto que estas deshilvanadas y sutiles razones hacían en Horacio, fácilmente se comprenderá" (one can easily imagine the effect that these muddled and tenuous arguments had on Horacio), whilst mockingly referring to Tristana as "la visionaria niña de don Lepe " (don Lepe 's visionary child [400; original emphasis]). The rapprochement that takes place between Lope and Horacio towards the end of the novel, noted by Noël Valis, is foreshadowed in their shared judgement of Tristana as sick.[39] The narrator records approvingly that Horacio is capable of correctly estimating the effect of the "delirios o tempestades" (delirium or storms) of his affair with Tristana, which he comes to view as a "duke enfermedad" (sweet sickness [381]). Horacio's vision of Tristana is corroborated by don Lope, who declares that "no ha sido más que un hervor insano de la imaginación" (it was


just the seething of a diseased imagination [1403]). Tristana colludes with this male perception of herself as sick, drunk, crazy (389); and she perpetuates the diminishing of her stature perpetrated by Lope and the narrator with their constant use of diminutives in her own use of self-deprecating baby language.

Patriarchal order, with the woman safely confined to the home, relative and subordinate, is made to triumph in the novel by dint of the overt machinations of the author. Far from killing the angel in the house to produce the independent woman artist, as Virginia Woolf was later to advocate, this author kills the artist in his heroine in order to create the angel.[40] His intervention, as well as his portrayal of Tristana as hopelessly fragmented in her own desires, may very well have been motivated by his liaison with Concha-Ruth Morell, who behaved as Tristana does, dreaming of independence and begging for support in the same breath. The author enacts upon his female creation the patriarchal Spanish proverb: "la mujer, la pata quebrada y en casa" (woman should have her leg broken and stay at home). What is deliberately left unclear, however, is what kind of response Galdós anticipates from the reader. As an affirmation of feminine domesticity, Tristana is highly complex and ambiguous. The restatement of the domestic ideal made at the end of the novel is dark and bitter: the ángel del hogar has been fitted back into her niche but only after she has been effectively mutilated—even lobotomized. This Pyrrhic victory of patriarchal order stands out in bleak contrast to the cozy, sentimental pictures of domestic bliss which made conventional bourgeois reading.

The figurative insistence upon mutilation, disease, and imprisonment sows doubt about the validity of the patriarchy's authority and the sexual roles enforced by it. The novel's concluding question: "¿Eran felices? Tal vez" (Were they happy? Maybe), implicitly leaves the whole edifice of bourgeois gender roles dangerously undermined. The novel conveys an anxious ambivalence about nineteenth-century sexual roles, which it portrays, with deep pessimism, as cruel but necessary. Tristana dramatizes what Elaine Showalter describes as one of the paradoxes "at the heart of fin-de-siècle culture," namely, that among the men of the intellectual avant-garde, "male rebellion against patriarchy did not necessarily mean a commitment to feminism. Indeed, antipatriarchal sentiments frequently coexisted with antifeminism and even misogyny."[41]


The enigmatic final words of the novel are thoroughly characteristic of this paradox: even though the novel is so heavily weighted against the heroine's feminist aspirations, the narrator mockingly refuses to validate the conventional gender roles that have been so neatly imposed. He ends instead with an open, ironic question. The marriage of Tristana to Lope that takes place at the end of the novel accords with the social values which the narrator himself has been propounding in the latter half of the work, as he belittles her overweening desires to escape domesticity and become an artist. Nevertheless, the end of the novel is a grotesque parody of a conventional happy ending. Lope may be licking his fingers as he raises his chickens, but Tristana has been unnaturally mutilated and prematurely aged beyond recognition. There is a pervading sense of malady and hopelessness. If we compare Tristana to Tormento, the downward trajectory of the later heroine emerges very clearly. Tormento, although fallen, does manage to escape from the power of Pedro Polo and the Bringas family and leaves with Agustín intent on pursuing a happy life elsewhere. Tristana, in contrast, suffers the sort of lurid novelistic retribution for unchastity more commonly seen in the popular novel, although Galdós's novelistic technique, as we have seen, is so multilayered as to make the reasons for this undecipherable.

Tristana is thoroughly ambivalent on the woman question. It shows a double-edged move by Galdós, on the one hand an obsessive need to shore up bourgeois order—especially its vision of gender-and on the other a destructive, savage questioning of that order. Even though the novel ends in a marriage, that ultimate novelistic symbol of the bourgeois social contract, the route which the heroine has had to travel in order to reach the altar is so brutal that it does just as much to undermine the validity of bourgeois society's power as to celebrate it.

Seeing the Light: Halma's Conversion

Galdós's short novel Halma was published in October 1895. Although it is ostensibly the sequel to Nazarín , which appeared earlier in the same year, a female character, the condesa de Halma, replaces Nazarín in the major role. Halma explores what happens when a woman tries to assume the position of authority that was ascribed to


women in theory but denied them by social and legal practice. Generally considered a minor work, Halma has attracted little attention from critics. The relatively few studies devoted to it tend to follow the periodization scheme proposed by Joaquín Casalduero in the fifties, according to which Halma belongs in a trilogy of ahistorical novels (including Nazarín and Misericordia ) that deal with spiritual rather than social matters.[42] In fact, the novel's exploration of the proper role of charity and spirituality in society necessarily involves the question of gender. The work deals not, as some critics suggest, with the spiritual problems of a universal everyman, but specifically with the struggle of an upper-class woman to reconcile the conflicting demands of personal desires and social dictates. Far from transcending history, then, Halma is a didactic novel with a social message prompted by the cultural context in which it was written.

This may seem a strange claim to those accustomed to thinking of Galdós's turn-of-the-century work as increasingly metafictional. In fact, the metafictional elements in this novel are confined to three brief references to Galdós's earlier work Nazarín , and not broadly integrated into the narrative. Halma lacks the ironic texture of Galdós's earlier work, which typically employs repeated slippage from personal to omniscient narrators to destabilize its own message. While Halma does contain a narrative frame using a first-person narrator who is a genealogist, the main body of the narrative follows a straightforward omniscient mode using large amounts of dialogue. The equivocation and ambiguity produced by the author's previous manipulation of narrative personae is largely absent from this text.

Galdós often used names symbolically, and the title of this novel is no exception, since it identifies the heroine, Halma, with the soul (alma ). It is not fortuitous that her name is conferred by men; it is a contraction of her first husband's title, used of her by the man who becomes her second husband. The identification of a woman character with the principle of soul is no cultural accident, for the ascription of greater spirituality to women was an essential facet of nineteenth-century constructions of gender (as we saw in chapter 1). The heroine lives up to her name by manifesting many of the qualities of the feminine angel. The presentation of her first marriage establishes her as a model of womanhood. Like the angels of the conduct manuals, she supplies the principle of moral order: her piety and purity redeem her husband from a disorderly and licentious life. Although an aristocrat,


she exhibits all the qualities required of bourgeois women: devotion, thrift, piety, and self-sacrifice. She nurses the count when sick and redeems him spiritually: "[era] valerosa y sublime como enfermera, amantísima como esposa, diligente en el manejo de la humilde casa. . . . Del absoluto menosprecio de toda religión positiva había pasado [el Conde] . . . por influencia de la angelical Catalina, a un ferviente ardor cristiano" ([she made] a valiant and sublime nurse, a loving wife, and a diligent housekeeper. . . . From totally despising all forms of religion, the [count] . . . had moved to fervent Christian piety, through the influence of the angelic Catalina [580–81]).[43]

In widowhood, Halma once again demonstrates angelic qualities of patience and abnegation. Unlike some of Galdós's earlier heroines, she actively seeks enclosure. She shuts herself up within the family home, even arranging it like a convent cell (586). She devotes herself to feminine activities in the domestic sphere: reading, needlework, and prayer (587). There are repeated allusions to her as an angel. She is represented as ardently domestic, constantly engaged in activities such as sewing, cooking, cleaning, and sweeping. When nursing the priest Flórez, she insists on doing humble domestic chores, solicitously filling cupboards with clean clothes and folding sheets (613).

In a pattern familiar to the readers of Gloria , Halma enters the novel as the epitome of domestic feminine virtues but transgresses these as the novel proceeds. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles's characterization of Halma as a thin-skinned soul who bleeds at the slightest brush with reality is a more accurate description of the conventional angel than of this character, who, far from bleeding at brushes with others, proves undaunted by her family's effort to make her conform to their vision of her gender.[44] Her deviance from the angelic role occasions a series of conflicts involving gender and power. The first of these occurs between Halma and her domineering brother, the marqués de Feramor, who attempts to force her to remarry, arguing that her sex disqualifies her from deciding her own future. She laconically refuses and states her alternative plan: she wishes to found a religious institution, an idea which her family receives as scandalously inappropriate for a single woman.

The narrator's presentation of Feramor is sardonically negative. He is an unpleasant Anglophile, cold and overly correct, in marked


contrast to the sympathetically portrayed Moreno Isla of Fortunata y Jacinta . He is also an absolute conservative on gender roles, to the point that his wife is an absolute replica of him. Feramor lectures Halma that, as a woman, she is excessively influenced by imagination, and that her proper role in life is a passive and submissive one in the private sphere. He finally declares that he will not reclaim her dowry if she persists in her intent to use it on something he considers to be inappropriate:

Por no haber sabido a tiempo amaestrar la imaginación, ésta te desfigura los hechos. . . . Concrétate a un papel puramente pasivo, pues no naciste tú para la iniciativa ni la actividad. . . . Temo mucho tus ambiciones de fundadora. . . . Tú no posees ni ese capital encefálico que se llama razón, ni esa razón suprema de los actos colectivos que se llama capital. (588–89)

(Since you didn't control your imagination when you should have, it's causing you to distort the facts. Stick to a purely passive role, because you weren't born to take the initiative nor to do things. . . . I'm very much alarmed by your ambition to be a founder. . . . You don't have the brain capital called reason, nor any real capital, that supreme argument for collective acts.)

Galdós enlists the reader's sympathy for Halma by stressing that she is materially powerless against her brother. Only thanks to the intervention of the family priest, Manuel Flórez, will Feramor allow his sister to go ahead with her plans. Halma decides to spend her dowry, once granted, redeeming two men. She puts a great deal of money into the affairs of her feckless cousin, José Antonio de Urrea, and spends the rest founding a retreat at Pedralba. Her charitable project stretches the conventional feminine role to its limit, for instead of merely donating to charities from within a married home, as was expected, she has founded and created an institute of her own, rather as Guillermina of Fortunata y Jacinta does. Although philanthropic social work, if undertaken as a part-time extension of the duties of wife and mother, was an acceptable, and indeed a necessary part of the nineteenth-century middle-class woman's ideal agenda, by the end of the century increasing numbers of women were using the ideology of woman's superior moral nature and social concern in order to engage in work outside the home.[45] By thus expanding the province of their angelic duties beyond the family household,


women were beginning to deconstruct the notion of separate gendered spheres of activity, generating social anxieties that are recorded in this Galdós novel.

Halma causes a scandal by declining to give any money to the middle-class ladies who approach her for the usual donations:

Consuelo Feramor, María Ignacia Monterones y la marquesa de San Salomó eran al modo de presidentas, vicepresidentas, o secretarias en esas o las otras juntas benéficas señoriles que reúnen fondos, ya por medio de limosnas, ya con el señuelo de funciones teatrales, rifas o kermesses , para socorrer a los pobres de tal o cual distrito, edificar capillas o atender al inconmensurable montón de víctimas que los desatados elementos o nuestras desdichas públicas acumulan de continuo sobre la infeliz España. No hay que decir que las tres cayeron sobre la solitaria y triste viuda con el furor de piedad que desplegar solían en semejantes casos. (611)

(Consuelo Feramor, María Ignacia Monterones, and the marchioness of San Salomó were acting as presidents, vice-presidents, or secretaries of this or that ladies' charitable society, raising funds through donations or by luring people to contribute through plays, auctions, or fêtes to help the poor of this or that neighbourhood, build chapels or attend to the huge pile of victims which is constantly building up in this unhappy nation, because of the cruelty of the elements or the problems of society. It goes without saying that the three ladies descended on the sad and lonely widow with the frenzy of piety which they tended to exhibit in such cases.)

The narrator's throwaway expressions—"this or that" society or neighbourhood—indicate that these philanthropical societies are not to be taken seriously, as does the presence of the marchioness of San Salomó, whose spendthrift habits are familiar to readers of Galdós's earlier novels. Even her supporter Flórez feels uneasy at Halma's departure from the conventional interpretation of woman's redemptive mission:

¡Cuánto mejor que esta buena señora siguiera los caminos ya hechos y despejados, en vez de empeñarse en abrirlos nuevos, desbrozando la trocha salvaje! ¡Cuánto más cómodo para todos que acatara lo establecido y se echara en brazos de los que ya tienen perfectamente organizados los servicios de caridad, las juntas de damas, las archicofradías, as hermandades, mis colectas para escuelas, mis . . . ! (613)

(How much better it would have been had this good lady followed clear, ready-made paths, instead of insisting on making new ones, by


hacking her way through the undergrowth! How much more convenient for everyone if she'd only stick to the rules and leave it to those who have their charitable systems all organized: the ladies' philanthropical societies and religious organizations, the guilds, my appeals for the schools, my . . . !)

Yet within the terms of the narrative as a whole, the narrator's irony at the expense of this complacent bourgeois attitude to charity creates a contradiction, for it is precisely this socially accepted manifestation of female charity that Halma must, in the end, adhere to. Not only the characters within the novel, but ultimately the novel itself registers anxiety about the dangers of women taking their culturally ascribed moral superiority seriously enough to assume its logical corollary: power and authority over others.

Negative reactions to Halma's unconventional behaviour begin to extend beyond the family to the priest, whose grudging admiration for her talent at creative initiative is heavily admixed with fear (607). He eventually resorts to passing off Halma's ideas as his own, in order to regain his ascendancy (608). The reversal of the usual gendered hierarchy of power between Flórez and Halma is expounded at length by the narrator in the second part (chaps. v–vi). Flórez's reaction to her is that she is both an angel and, because of her unpredictable surges of inspiration, the devil (609). He fears the gradual erosion of his authority, praying that her next move will be of a kind easy to understand and control (609). Flórez, who is portrayed as temperamentally ill-suited to the position of power which his sex and his office as priest confer upon him, gradually gives up all pretence at dominance:

Las iniciativas de él casi nunca cuajaban; las de ella venían con tal fuerza que al punto conquistaban al maestro, y no había más remedio que seguirlas, componiéndolas y retocándolas después para conservar las preeminencias exteriores del poder gobernante. En suma, que si al principio Halma parecía una reina constitucional a la moderna, que reinaba y no gobernaba, poco a poco iba sacando los pies de las alforjas y picando en absoluta soberana. (609)

(His ideas almost never came to anything; hers were so forcefully held that they would overwhelm her teacher instantly, and he would have no option but to go along with them, fixing them up and adding his own touches later to preserve the appearance of being the ruling power. Thus, although Halma initially seemed like a constitutional monarch of the modern variety, who presided over but didn't


govern the country, she gradually became bolder, verging on absolute sovereignty.)

Halma's power is represented as destructive of male vitality. The narrator records, without comment, that once Flórez's power of command is removed, he suddenly declines through inexplicable weakness and "lúgubre congoja" (melancholy anguish) into illness and thence to death, a phenomenon reminiscent of the sapping of Feijoo's vitality by his young protégée Fortunata:

Hízose todo como Catalina de Artal deseaba. . . . Notaban en [Flórez] . . . una gran decadencia física, la cual parecía más grave por la pérdida de la jovialidad. Además, claramente se advertía cierta inseguridad en las ideas y dispersión de las mismas en el momento de querer expresarlas. . . . No era ya el mismo hombre; en pocos días su cuerpo perdió la derechura que le hacía tan gallardo; su cara se había vuelto terrosa, sus manos temblaban, y cuando quería sonreírse, su habitual expresión afable le resultaba fúnebre. (627)

(Everything was done according to Catalina de Artal's wishes. . . . [Flórez] . . . began to show signs of great physical decline, which seemed all the more serious because he had lost his sense of humour. Furthermore, he was clearly becoming muddled in his thoughts, and would forget them just as he tried to speak. . . . He was no longer the same man; in a few days his body lost the uprightness which had given him such a noble air; his face was ashen, his hands shook, and when he attempted to smile, his usually affable expression looked funereal.)

Flórez's failure to assert his will over Halma is associated with two negative results: his own destruction and death, and Halma's misguided path thereafter, which undergoes correction at the end of the novel. Flórez's death scene is the first of a series of redemptions which take place in a novel concerned above all with patterns of rightful order disturbed and reestablished. He dies reciting the passage from the Confessions in which Saint Augustine describes seeing the true light, which dissipates the cloud of error under which he has been labouring (638). The passage prefigures the later redemption of Halma, whose "conversion" is also a process of being made to see correctly the error of her ways.

The significance of the many allusions to the Confessions in Halma lies largely in the enormous popularity of Saint Monica, Augustine's mother, as a model of womanhood. For nineteenth-century Catholics, Saint Monica, like the Virgin Mary, represented the ideal of Christian


motherhood. They saw in her an icon of suffering love and humility, totally devoted to the redemption of her son, as she appeared in the popular Life of Saint Monica by Emile Bougaud (1865). Her special virtues were those of the angel: humility, service to others, and redemptive moral influence upon errant male relatives.[46] Halma's desire to play a Saint Augustine, founder and initiator, inevitably conflicts with the identification her gender offers with Saint Monica as loving supporter of a man. Unfortunately, the only commentator to recognize the allusions to Saint Monica in Halma reinforces the patriarchal gender codes operating in the novel; he castigates the heroine for not following Saint Monica's example to women, arguing that Halma has failed to understand the true message of Augustine's Confessions . If she had, he argues, she would have learned from Monica's model humility, submissiveness, and altruism.[47]

Halma's relationship with her cousin Urrea, the first of her redemptive projects, has all the attributes of redemptive maternal love represented by Saint Monica. They repeatedly define their relation to each other as that of mother and son. Halma corrects Urrea's anger, his impatience, his spendthrift ways, and his promiscuity, employing "la medicina de la caridad" (the medicine of charity [6171]) in order to redeem him both materially and spiritually, first by paying off his crushing debts, and second by demanding an improvement in his conduct. Her generosity prompts a transformation in Urrea, who becomes a "perdis redimido" (redeemed roué), like Halma's first husband.

The narrative employs a complex set of associations between Halma and archetypes of woman as superior moral being, the object of a venerating male gaze. Apart from the association with Saint Monica, it establishes clear parallels with the Virgin Mary, the mistress in the courtly love tradition, and Dante's Beatrice, all of whom are incorporated into the nineteenth-century ideal of the angel in the house, the "queen" of the domestic sanctuary eulogized by Ruskin and Sinués de Marco.[48] The network of associations between Halma and the Virgin Mary is carefully constructed. Many male commentators offer enthusiastic encomiums of Halma comparing her to the Virgin: "mi santa, mi Virgen Santísima" (my saint, my Holy Virgin [614]). Elsewhere the narrator refers to her "immaculate virtue" (613). After Halma puts a stop to Urrea's womanizing, he begins to think of her in devotional terms: "Halma era una diosa, un ángel femenino, . . .


glorioso y paradisíaco" (Halma was a goddess, a female angel, . . . glorious and heavenly [646]).

Urrea's adoration of Halma corresponds to the medieval cult of the Virgin as all-nurturing intercessor and refuge. Halma creates a haven at Pedralba for care and healing. Like an angel in the house, she offers a maternal space in a hard, cold, materialistic world, where people can be healed and set right. However, by attempting to create a female sphere outside the bourgeois married home, Halma transgresses gender lines. While Urrea strives to construct Halma's redemption of him as maternal—as both metaphorically giving birth to Urrea and nurturing him—he occasionally acknowledges that her role is rather more masculine, since she has reformed him, like a female Pygmalion: "Soy hechura tuya; soy un hombre nuevo, que has formado entre tus dedos, y luego me has dado vida y alma nuevas" (I am your creation; I am a new man, whom you have modelled with your fingers, and then you gave me a new life and soul [630]).

Halma temporarily succeeds in establishing an island of matriarchy at Pedralba, acting as the mistress of Pedralba and financial guarantor for Urrea. Despite her disingenuous claim that there will be no power hierarchy at Pedralba, her position as the head is acknowledged by all. Urrea leads a cult of slavish devotion and obedience to her, while don Remigio flatters her that "usted es aquí la santa madre, usted manda, y los hijos . . . , a obedecer calladitos" (you are the holy mother here, you give the orders, and the children . . . are to be silent and obey [653]). She rules the organization with a firm hand, and for a while all appears to be running along smoothly.

Halma even holds power over the Christ-figure of the preceding novel, Nazarín, who pursues a policy of respectful devotion towards her. But there are indications that this is only a temporary state of affairs, not long destined to continue. Even within her own domains, the countess herself insists on rigid sexual separation and the symbolic submission of women to men: "Lo más extraño de aquella singular comida fue que las mujeres no se sentaron a la mesa. Las tres, funcionando con igual destreza y alegría, servían a los señores. Luego comían ellas en la cocina. Esta era una costumbre medieval, que Halma no alteraba jamás por consideración alguna" (The strangest thing about that memorable meal was that the women didn't sit at the table. All three of them served the gentlemen skilfully and cheer-


fully. Then they ate in the kitchen. It was a medieval custom which Halma refused to tamper with for any reason whatsoever [651]).

This indication of the instability of Halma's power is rapidly substantiated by events. Patriarchal society intervenes in the novel, with massive authority, to overthrow Halma's rule. The insurrection is mounted by the three male satellites of Pedralba—the priest, don Remigio; the doctor, Pedro Laínez; and the bailiff, José Amador. Their intervention is sponsored by none other than the marqués de Feramor, Halma's brother. Their determination to force Urrea to leave Pedralba, against Halma's will, for the nominal sake of her reputation, springs from the undisguised wish to end Halma's appropriation of power. As don Remigio acknowledges, they have lost track of their original complaint, "para meternos en una cuestión constituyente, que . . . al menos hasta ahora, la ilustre dama no nos ha consultado sobre la manera de organizar el Instituto Pedralbense" (and got ourselves mixed up in a constitutional question, the fact that . . . so far, at least, the noble lady has not consulted us on how to run the Pedralba Institute [665]). In conversation with one another, they reveal that the elaborately courteous rhetoric of submission which they use toward Halma is a pose. In their view, a woman ruler is equivalent to no ruler: "la primera deficiencia que noto aquí es que no hay cabeza. Y esto no puede ser" (the first problem I see here is that there is no leader. And this can't go on [663]). The truth that she must accept, according to them, is the need for a masculine director (666). Their discussion of Halma reveals the disguised assumptions of the bourgeois ideology of domesticity, which idealizes woman as queen and priestess, setting her up as a moral authority whilst simultaneously denying her any power outside the domestic sphere. As Amador declares, "la Condesa es un ángel, y como ángel no debiera andar suelto" (the countess is an angel, and as an angel she shouldn't be given such a free rein [663]).

The problem posed in the narrative by Halma's desire for independence is resolved by the pronouncement of Nazarín, the wandering antiestablishment Christ figure of the previous novel. Up until this point, Nazarín has been a silent and enigmatic figure, declining ever to challenge Halma or to proffer advice. Yet, at the end of the novel, he throws off the cloak of what turns out to be assumed humility and courteously, but implacably, proceeds to correct Halma.


He announces that her system was wrongly conceived from the outset, and that she must make a radical change in her manner of practising charity and in her life-style. Her choice of a holy way of life is unacceptable, he tells her; she must gave it up and accept the new way that he is about to propose (676).

The correct path for the condesa de Halma, according to Nazarín, is that first proposed by the marques de Feramor: marriage and family. "¡Cuánto más sencillo y práctico, señora de mi alma, es que no funde cosa alguna, que prescinda de toda constitución y reglamentos, y se constituya en familia, nada más que en familia, en señora y reina de su casa particular!" (How much simpler and more practical it would be, my dear lady, if you stop being a founder, if you throw aside all constitutions and rules and form a family, nothing more, and become mistress and queen of your own household! [675]).

She can continue to practice charity, but from within the boundaries of the bourgeois household. Nazarín casts doubt upon the genuineness of Halma's spirituality, seeing it as merely the unhealthy product of an overactive imagination (675). Furthermore, he too decrees that she must have a husband in order to conduct her life properly: "su vida necesita del apoyo de otra vida para no tambalearse, para andar siempre bien derecha" (Your life needs the support of another life so as not to stumble, to be able to walk upright [676]).

Nazarín claims that the change he prescribes will give Halma absolute freedom from authority. Church and state, he claims, would no longer have any leverage over the condesa, an analysis seconded by critics such as J. E. Varey, G. G. Minter, and Casalduero, who argue that through marriage Halma will be "freed from the constraints of society."[49] Yet although Nazarín claims that the system he proposes is a liberatory option, belonging to no system (675), his stance is rooted in the ideology of domesticity, which promoted the commonplace that the proper sphere for woman's rule is the home: "es el hogar doméstico el Estado que reclama de un modo inmediato su dirección y su gobierno" (the home is the state which urgently requires your rule and guidance).[50]

These ideas are delivered as an almost uninterrupted monologue from Nazarín, disrupted only by the outbursts of the countess, who is shown in a state of mounting perturbation. Halma does not accept these judgements instantaneously. In fact, she shows every sign of being mortified by them. She is described as "nerviosa," "sofocada,"


"perpleja y aturdida" (anxious, panting, perplexed, and dazed [675]). As Nazarín nears the crux of his sermon, her reactions become brutally rebellious. Halma's body expresses her extreme emotion: her hair stands on end, her eyes start from their sockets, she wrings her hands. At the climax of the novel, when he commands her to marry, Halma is suddenly described not as a serene and composed lady, but as grotesquely animalistic. She emits a guttural cry and falls writhing to the ground in the throes of a hysterical attack: "lanzó la Condesa un grito gutural, y llevándose la mano a corazón, como para contener un estallido, cayó al suelo atacada de fieras convulsiones" (the countess gave a guttural cry, put her hand to her heart, as if to stop it from bursting, and fell to the ground, in the grip of severe convulsions [676]). In her delirium she snarls her dissent: "está loco, y quiere volverme loca a mí" (he's mad, and he'll drive me mad too [676]).

Galdós shows his heroine in the throes of classic hysteria, with the well known and much commented symptoms of the globus hystericus , a sensation of suffocation or choking, and seizure.[51] The episode of hysteria provides the novel's only major moment of narrative ambivalence about gender categories. Mainstream critical interpretations of the episode concur with the patriarchal point of view of the medical profession of the time, reaffirming the novel's message that Halma's "true path" is marriage and maternity. The explosion which the countess tries to contain implicitly derives—in this reading—from the subconscious rising of her womb, formerly condemned to childlessness by her mistaken zeal for independence.[52]

Yet the narrative offers a subliminal reading, more welcome to the "resisting reader." Halma's reactions throughout the interview and her choking and convulsions point to an explosion of frustration. As Showalter points out, "the globus hystericus , which doctors had interpreted as the rising of the womb, may have been a physical manifestation of [women's] choked-off speech."[53] Like Abelarda in Miau , the countess suffers hysteria in reaction to male manipulation. Significantly, Halma's companion Beatriz also contracts hysteria when she realizes the impotence of the women to resist the incursions of the men (671).

If we read the hysterical attack as a sign of protest on Halma's part, however, it is the last sign of rebellion she shows. Although she has already had the strength to reject the command to marry once, this time she accedes. Halma symbolically loses consciousness and her


old, independent self apparently dies. After a while she comes round, in both senses, even more drastically than Tristana. Her conversion to domesticity has all the attributes of a religious one. She signals her entire abandonment to Nazarín's will, which she declares to be the will of God: "ese hombre es el santo, ese hombre es el justo, el misionero de la verdad, el emisario del Verbo Divino. Su voz me trae la voluntad de Dios. . . . Me ha dicho la gran verdad" (that man is a saint, he's a just man, the missionary of truth, the messenger of the divine word. His voice brings me the will of God. . . . He has told me a great truth [677]). No longer the ruler, she now embraces her new role as adoring follower and loving wife, adoring God, like Milton's Eve, in her husband: "no fundo nada. . . . Mi ínsula no es, no debe ser, una institución. . . . Sea mi ínsula una casa, una familia" (I'm not a founder. . . . My little island isn't and shouldn't be an institution. . . . It must be a home and a family [677]).

From this point on, power is transferred to Urrea. Halma is shortly to lose the very name which constitutes her identity and the novel's title. She is no longer described as "la organizadora" or "la soberana" (organizer, sovereign) but is eclipsed by a radiant Urrea, "futuro señor de Pedralba" (future lord of Pedralba [678–80]). Nazarín gives thanks that Halma has seen the light and followed the natural order: "Da gracias a Dios por haber iluminado a tu prima. Al fin comprende que debe llevarse la corriente de la vida por su cauce natural. Su determinación resuelve de un modo naturalísimo todas las dificultades que en el gobierno de esta ínsula surgieron" (Give thanks to God for enlightening your cousin. At last she understands that life must flow along its natural course. Her decision solves all the difficulties of governing this island in the most natural way possible [678]).[54]

This decision cuts the Gordian knot, which is how the fiction constructs Halma's independence. In one stroke it accomplishes three redemptions: Halma redeems the error of assuming an independent and not a relative destiny; Urrea takes his "natural" place in the hierarchy as head of Pedralba; and Nazarín no longer bears the stigma of madness. Characters within the narrative and critics outside it agree in reading his judgement as incontrovertible proof of his wisdom and sanity. Even the narrator now replaces the diminutive "Nazarín" with the more reverential "don Nazario": "¿Qué prueba más clara del perfecto estado cerebral de don Nazario que su incomparable consejo y dictamen en el asunto?" (What clearer proof could there be of don


Nazario's perfect mental health than his invaluable advice and judgement on this matter? [679]). The five-part construction of the novel is reminiscent of the five acts of classical drama, in which problems are posed and resolved. Pedralba, which Halma envisioned as a place where order would be restored and people restored to their rightful selves, works its healing magic in the end against its transgressive female founder.

In the contemporary novels of the 1890s—in particular the Torquemada series, Angel Guerra (1890–1891), La loca de la casa (1892), Halma (1895), and Misericordia (1897)—Galdós portrays the women protagonists as redeemers, with a greater amount of psychological power over their male counterparts than at any previous stage in his novelistic production. In terms of gender ideology, Halma makes an intriguing counterpart to Angel Guerra . In the earlier novel, the narrative was structured around a woman as femme fatale, a tantalizingly seductive but remote nun who inspires the hero but also disturbs him by being a tormenting and forever unobtainable will-o'-the-wisp. In Halma , however, Urrea is allowed, in the end, to possess his redemptrix and to defuse her power over him, so that the tables are turned. The ideal female role inscribed in this novel is not one of independence but of integration into middle-class society through marriage. The text implies that, ideally, female power needs to be redefined as "influence," exerted from within and on behalf of the female sphere of home and family. The "happy-ever-after" ending of Halma, with its evocations of a future of domestic rural bliss for the married couple, is reminiscent of the moralistic endings of the conduct novels, and of the happy ending Galdós appended to La Fontana de Oro when he rewrote the novel. Like the writers of the fictionalized conduct manuals such as Sinués de Marco and Sáez de Melgar, whose work he had earlier parodied, Galdós is here using the novel as a fable of the proper roles of the sexes.

The didacticism of Halma makes it somewhat similar to Galdós's thesis novels, with their Manichaean world view.[55] As Francie Cate points out, in Halma , as in his early novels, the fictional world represented and the narrative techniques used are subordinated to the ideological message of the novel.[56] In Galdós's initial work, the individual's rebellion against social norms was sponsored. In Halma , however, the lesson offered is that of the individual's acceptance of those norms through her visionary conversion to domesticity. As in


Tristana , the text suggests that conformity to the current construction of gender is inevitable, but the narrative in Halma goes one step further, presenting it as a law of nature.

As Valera's Pepita Jiménez (1877) does, Halma directs its male and female protagonists towards more "masculine" and "feminine" roles respectively, finally staging what Lou Charnon-Deutsch terms a "salubrious transformation" that acts as a "celebration of gender specific roles and behavior patterns" seen in Galdós's novel in the restoration of the three main characters, Halma, Urrea, and Nazarín, to "true womanhood" and "true manhood" respectively.[57] Both novels reinforce the assumptions that love and marriage are the goal of women's lives, whilst men are designed to dominate. Halma is grounded in the assumption that being the angel in the house is woman's natural and rightful mission. It thus maps out the proper place for female spirituality in society: the home.

Prior to the 1890s, Galdós presents his female characters both from without and within, exploring their reactions to the confining role prescribed for them. However, beginning with Angel Guerra in 1890–1891, Galdosian female protagonists are portrayed almost exclusively from the perspective of fascinated or perplexed male onlookers. Enigmatic, hermetic women characters such as Leré, Tristana, Halma, and Cruz del Aguila are accessible to the reader only through the perceptions of male characters or a male narrator. In Halma the heroine is enclosed not simply at the level of plot but also at the level of narrative presentation. One of the aspects contributing to the richness and complexity of Galdós's writing during his mature period is the presence of a feminist subtext composed of recurring patterns of imagery of enclosure, oppression, and mutilation, as well as a style of narrative presentation that delighted in contradicting and undercutting its own judgements and generating plurivocal irony. Viewed from the perspective of gender, Galdós's writing in Halma is far more univocal; the subtext has disappeared. In its absence, the patriarchal discourse that informs the novel's ending is unchallenged and unmitigated.

Critics of Halma often assert that it proposes regeneration of a society in decline. John Sinnigen sees Galdós's later novels as part of a "search for new values to renovate a decaying society."[58] Others comment that Galdós sought regeneration in a renewal of timeless, universal values and institutions: "Galdós . . . sought to understand the


nature of Spain's malady and to find a possible remedy which might regenerate his country. . . . For Galdós, the antidote to Spain's infirmity is charity, a selfless, disinterested love nurtured within the most natural and basic human institution: the family."[59]

Halma reaffirms concepts that are neither new nor timeless, reinforcing the bourgeois ideology of separate spheres that had been part and parcel of the creation of the middle classes. At a point where middle-class women's entry into public life was beginning to destabilize gender roles, Galdós jettisoned the covert resistance to the gender categories of his class that was so much in evidence in his earlier writing. At the end of the century, in novels like Halma, Misericordia , and El abuelo , we find Galdós celebrating women's "natural" destiny as humble redeemers and nurturers.


New Women

Decadence and the New Woman

At the end of the nineteenth century, an image known as the "new woman" began to circulate widely in the media and literary fiction of Europe. The new woman was a dashing urban gender rebel, who assumed the right to live, dress, and act in defiance of bourgeois norms of feminine behaviour—to live alone, or with other women, to have affairs outside marriage, to work, to enter higher education, to smoke, to cut her hair short, to ride bicycles, to wear short skirts or even the "rational dress" of Amelia Bloomer, the divided skirt. As Michelle Perrot writes, "these liberated, sporting women, known as 'American women,' were a minority, but their attractive image, diffused by fashion magazines, had cultural prestige."[1] The new woman blurred the oppositional gender system of masculinity and femininity which the bourgeoisie had constructed. The stirrings of a revolution in gender identities which the new woman represented was rejected with extreme violence. Even though the majority of women remained in a dependent relationship to men, the idea that some women, albeit outside Spain, might not do so generated profound resistance. The image served to whip up public anxiety about the consequences of a sea change in attitudes and to encourage conformity to a preexisting code. The backlash took various forms; in the press, writers satirized or pronounced dire warnings against the new woman. Critics accused her of various outrageous acts:

Alpinismos, supresión de contrastes, agilidad de sportman , opresión de los pechos (fuentes misteriosos de la vida), supresión del encanto de la pasión, ingreso libre, semianárquico de la mujer en expansiones de íntima amistad con varios: todo esto produce esterilidad, desencanto y hombres con faldas .

(Climbing mountains, suppressing her difference, athletic agility, flattening her breasts [mysterious fountains of life], suppressing the de-


lights of passion, and freely and anarchically engaging in intimate friendships with men: all this produces sterility, ugliness, and men in skirts .)[2]

Male novelists, though ostensibly sympathetic, represented the new woman as inevitably doomed to failure and unhappiness.[3] There was also a widespread move to revive support for woman's role as wife and mother.

Though in some circles the new woman acquired a certain tenuous cachet, she represented for most people one of the most powerful symbols of decadence in a Europe preoccupied with the concept of degeneration.[4] And if turn-of-the-century Peninsular writers unanimously rejected the new woman, they shared an ideal of a New Spain, "otra España" (another Spain), in the title of Maeztu's 1899 work, populated by the "new men" envisioned by the Krausists. There was widespread agreement amongst those who wrote about national issues during the last decade of the nineteenth century that Spain was in chronic decline and needed "regenerating":

Degenerada es en gran parte nuestra literatura, ligera, alegre, inmoral, cuando no desenfrendada, y causa de relajación, en algunos casos, de las costumbres: degenerada nuestra fuerza militar . . . ; degenerada una parte de nuestro clero . . . ; degenerada en algunos establecimientos la enseñanza, reducida a un mercantilismo sin frenos.

(Our literature is for the most part a decadent one, lightweight, hedonistic, immoral, and often lascivious, and sometimes responsible for the decline in values: our military strength has declined . . . ; part of our clergy is corrupt . . . ; in some of our schools education has been reduced to nothing more than uncontrolled materialism.)[5]

Like this writer, the wide array of thinkers who participated in the regenerationist movement, such as Joaquín Costa, Macías Picavea, and Lucas Mallada, portrayed Spain as ailing and decadent and preached authoritarian remedies. Costa popularized the notion that the country needed—as Galdós's hysterical feminist Tristana did—the "política quirúrgica" of a "cirujano de hierro" (surgical policies of an iron surgeon). Tuñón de Lara argues that the regenerationist movement voiced the discontent of the middle and lower strata of the bourgeoisie with the aristocratic and upper-middle-class oligarchy of the Restoration.[6] The regenerationists themselves indirectly acknowledged a further class opponent, in their elitist championing of


a "revolution from above" which, they argued, would act as a "lightning rod" to neutralize working-class revolutionary leanings.[7] Reading regenerationist writings of the turn of the century, one might think that the question of gender was largely invisible to these men, since it barely appears among all the reforms urged. In fact, however, gender, along with class and race, figures in crucial ways in the discourse of turn-of-the-century regenerationism, which often took on prefascist characteristics. Costa, for example, equated Spain's decadence with feminization, charging that Spain was a nation of women or eunuchs, while César Silió used the now infamous crowd theories of Gustave Le Bon in order to support the messianic call for a heroically virile "Hombre" to lead the imbecilic masses out of their stupor.[8] Macías Picavea and Costa also used racial concepts such as "Germanization" and "Africanization" to explain what they saw as the denaturalization and sickness of their race. Costa wrote that "Yo me inclino a pensar que la causa de nuestra inferioridad y de nuestra decadencia es étnica" (I am inclined to believe that the reason for our inferiority and decline is ethnic).[9]

Lucas Mallada devoted some telling pages in Los males de la patria (1890) to the part that women had in the general decline: women were forgetting their mission, while feminine fancy and lujo were being encouraged by a defective education that did not equip them with domestic skills.[10] The later work of Galdós, which is indirectly infused with regenerationist discourse and ideals, follows Mallada's line of approach. Women assume a central role in Galdós's depiction of the middle-class project to regenerate society. As class conflicts and dissatisfactions intensified and the petty bourgeoisie began to feel squeezed out of a power system that privileged the alliance between the rich industrialists and the aristocratic landowners, the ideology of domesticity received a sudden boost in Galdós's work. The image of naturally domestic, loving, hard-working womanhood resurfaced with some of its early-nineteenth-century intensity as the rallying cry and proselytizing vision of a middle class once more defending its existence and advancing its claim to social power.

The closing decade of the nineteenth century marks a transition to yet another phase in Galdós's career; his election to Spain's Academia Real in 1889 established him among the contemporary canonical figures of the day (even though he did not formally enter the royal academy until several years later), and his writing thereafter began


to evolve distinctively new forms and themes. Moving away from realist narrative, Galdós began to experiment with a hybrid form, part novel and part drama, which he called the novela dialogada ; his first attempt produced the widely acclaimed novel of adultery, Realidad (1889). In the following decade, Galdós became immersed in writing dramas, first adapting Realidad for the stage in 1892 and completing twenty-three more plays over the remainder of his career. Along with the switch in genres came a transformation in the subject matter, structural alignments, representational strategies, narrative resolutions, and ideological implications of his work. Despite his declaration to the Academia Real in 1897 that the novel's function was mimetic, to be an "imagen de la vida," Galdós's later novels rarely pretend to be disinterested reflections of contemporary society, acting instead as parables with regenerationist overtones.[11] The current of didactic utopianism in Galdós's later fiction is in strong contrast to the ludic refusal to take sides frequently seen in his earlier works.

So prominent and forceful are the heroines of the novelas dialogadas and the drama of the 1890s that some scholars have incautiously described them as new women, welcoming them as evidence of Galdós's fin-de-siècle conversion to feminism.[12] My concern is that the novelistic and critical celebration of these characters' strength has overshadowed the anti-emancipationist agendas of the novels themselves. Close attention to the way that the representation of gender dovetails with the novels' avowed class objectives makes it much harder to sustain the thesis that these novels are aligned with any feminist project.

The Novelas Dialogadas : La Loca De La Casa and El Abuelo

La loca de la casa (1892), completed only a few months after Tristana , elaborates a contrapuntal structure of dichotomies that Galdós was to employ again and again, in slightly modified forms, in successive novels and plays thereafter. The work is structured around a number of binary oppositions that were frequently explored in nineteenth-century texts. Of paramount importance in this novel is the opposition between the ángel and the loca (madwoman) de la casa to which we shall turn shortly, but a number of others are also at work, including such gendered pairs of concepts as imagination versus reason,


spirituality versus materialism, and the class opposition between the aristocrat and the tradesman. The novel follows the fortunes of a wealthy family fallen upon hard times. Their problems would fall away if their model daughter, Gabriela, would agree to marry the greedy and vulgar Pepet Cruz, a nouveau riche who was once a servant in the household. But Gabriela, who is engaged to an aristocrat, cannot bring herself to make such a sacrifice. The situation is saved by her sister Victoria, the loca de la casa of the title, a would-be nun, who voluntarily renounces her mystical vocation to offer herself to Cruz in her sister's place. Victoria subsequently succeeds in converting her boorish husband into an acceptable middle-class husband and member of society, thus redeeming both her family and her spouse. She finds her true vocation in wife- and motherhood and assistance with the family bookkeeping.

This novel strives to convince us that it has inverted the value of the antinomy of the madwoman and the angel. The expression "la loca de la casa," as Marvellen Bieder reminds us, used to be synonymous with the imagination and thus stood by extension for female frivolousness, capriciousness, and fantasies. It was one of the negative counterparts of the angel, the self-denying, orderly, restrained woman.[13] In this text, atypically, it is the romantic madwoman, Victoria, and not the angel, Gabriela, who commits the act of self-sacrifice necessary to save the family. However, the premium on angelic conduct is ultimately reinscribed rather than discredited in this text. La loca de la casa traces the metamorphosis of its heroine from lonely and misguided mysticism to happy domesticity. While it was her morbid fantasy that initially drew her to the notion of sacrifice, her self-immolating act in marrying Cruz becomes a rite of passage in her therapeutic extirpation of fancy and her recuperation as the industrious housewife of bourgeois ideology. In nineteenth-century mythology, the New Testament ideal of Mary, the dreamer, was supplanted by Martha, the home-loving, practical woman. Galdós's text also suggests that Mary must, for her own sake and that of society, sacrifice her dreams and become a Martha.

When Victoria gives up her religious vocation in order to marry, she is converted to the bourgeois world vision. In the antithetical terms of the times, she gives up a "poetic" vision of life for a "prosaic" one. She tells her father what she has come to believe:


que Dios no quiere que yo sea mártir, que fué una chiquillada pensar en tormentos horribles, y que mi destino es una vida pacífica y monótona, labrando sin cesar aquel campo estéril, para obtener de él, poquito a poco, frutos de piedad y hacer algún bien a los que me rodean. Mis aspiraciones se achican; pero son quizás más prácticas. (474)

(that God doesn't wish me to be a martyr, that it was childish of me to think of terrible sufferings, and that my destiny is to lead a peaceful, monotonous life, ceaselessly working my poor soil so that little by little it will yield the fruits of piety, so that I can do some good to those around me. My dreams have shrunk; but perhaps they are more practical.)[14]

Her practice of this new creed involves a wifely struggle to kindle what Angel del Río terms a spark of goodness in her husband's selfish soul.[15] She makes it her mission to redeem her husband from his blind worship of money. She prevails upon him to conform to bourgeois notions of piety by providing charity for the spendthrift marchioness of Malavella and by financing the luxury construction of a chapel. Like Cruz del Aguila with Torquemada, Victoria transforms Pepet, raising him from the status of despised upstart into a respected member of the middle classes, from a peasant into a gentleman. The novel, which is laden with allusions to Pepet as an animal and a subject of transformational processes, bears a great resemblance to the myth of the beauty and the beast, which was widely republished in illustrated editions for a nineteenth-century Europe fascinated by the concept of feminine power to effect metamorphoses in men.

Pepet and Victoria come to share a strong work ethic, compounded with the values of thrift, family, domesticity, pragmatism, and charity to the needy. Their marriage is presented as one to be emulated as a paradigmatically middle-class relationship of companionate affection in which the wife holds the moral and the husband the material authority. Like many wives of small businessmen in the early phases of industrialization, Victoria contributes to the family enterprise from within the household by working on the business accounts and keeping house.[16] The novel endorses female strength and imagination only within the bounds of bourgeois marriage; like Lucas Mallada's Los males de la patria (1890), this work attacks fantasía (the fancy) as one of the ailments of which the protagonist, like the


nation, must be cured. The quixotic Victoria, "la otra, la beata, esa romántica de la fe, esa histérica, visionaria" (the other one, the sanctimonious one, so romantic in her belief, that hysterical woman who sees visions [451]), as she is pejoratively labelled at the beginning of the novel, must be cured of her "mad" fancy, which leads her to disdain marriage and the family; the ritual of self-offering returns her to a normative path as a domestic angel: "la loca de la casa vuelve a la razón y se casa con Pepet" (the madwoman in the house has come to her senses and is getting married to Pepet [454]). The sacrificial abandonment of fantasy through marriage is necessary for the utopic resolution of the novel, in which the heroine's redemption allows her to redeem others. At the end of the novel Victoria can truthfully tell her husband of her own sanctification: "soy tu ángel bueno" (I am your good angel [484]). She is symbolically the matrix of the new class that will redeem Spain, since she carries the child produced by their union of pueblo and aristocracy. Thus, in this work, the union of working-class man and domestic woman generates the future middle class that is to save the country from aristocratic degeneracy and working-class revolution alike. Pepet declares that he intends to generate offspring who will be "robustos, sanotes, para que aventajen a estas generaciones tísicas" (robust and healthy, so they'll surpass these generations of sickly weaklings [435]). His remark provides a quirky echo of the eugenics movements which were on the rise in Europe at that time. Characteristically, Galdós's novel inverts the basic binarism of eugenics: according to Francis Dalton, who coined the term eugenics in 1883, improvement of the race was to be achieved by arranged marriages between gifted men and wealthy women; in La loca de la casa , the gender terms of this equation are switched, since it is Pepet who is rich and Victoria who is distinguished.[17]

Gender norms, which were once disrupted and opened up by the schizophrenic narrative presentation in Fortunata y Jacinta , are reconstituted as natural in La loca de la casa . The male and female protagonists function as paradigms of the sex roles that Victorian thinkers believed to be universal categories: Pepet stands for reason, strength, acquisitiveness, and Victoria for imagination, feeling, intuition, morality. His role is to make money; hers, to support him, to redeem him from too unthinking a materialism, and to do good around her.[18]

Galdós's turn-of-the-century work invites its readers to discard the passive, vapid heroines of Victorian literature as misrepresenta-


tions of woman's angelic nature. It does not disavow the ideal of women as redeeming soul of the family, however. The modern Galdosian angel of the house—foreshadowed in Camila of Lo prohibido —is no fragile, decorous young lady but intelligent, determined, practical, hard-headed—while continuing to be faithful, self-denying, inspirational, and utterly devoted to husband and family.

El abuelo (1897) replays the theme of the discovery of natural femininity in the less conventionally angelic of two women. In this nineteenth-century Spanish version of King Lear , the ageing count of Albrit spends the novel trying to decide which of his two granddaughters he prefers—the delicate, fragile Nell or the down-to-earth, robust Dolly. He knows one of them must be the illegitimate offspring of his cruel and hypocritical daughter-in-law, Lucrecia, a heartless, promiscuous society vamp whose behaviour is partly attributed in the novel to her foreign (Irish) origins. Albrit is convinced that virtue is the product of breeding. The good woman, he assumes, will be the aristocratic one; his legitimate heiress will reveal herself by her good conduct. In fact the aristocrat of the two is not a virtuous woman. Nell, who is by blood the true heiress, turns out to be cold, hypocritical, and unloving, just like her mother, while Dolly, her naturally domestic sister, is ironically the one conceived out of wedlock. It is Dolly who loves to cook and clean and nurture others, and she who rescues Albrit when he wanders deranged on the heath. In the end Albrit casts off his aristocratic granddaughter in order to spend the rest of his days with his devoted Dolly, whose Ibsenian name becomes more and more significant as the novel progresses along its anti-Ibsenian route. In its clear-cut opposition between the heartless, immoral aristocrat and the loving, family-centred bourgeoise, Galdós's novel comes very close to the stock in trade of Angela Grassi and the sentimental novelists whose representations of domestic womanhood had been working to enshrine bourgeois values in the heart of the nation since the middle of the century.

The theme of necessary conversion to domesticity predominates in most of Galdós's plays of the fin de siècle, particularly La de San Quintín (1894), Voluntad (1895), and Mariucha (1903). Each features a willful, stubborn heroine who must sacrifice her personal desires and social aspirations for the good of the family and who achieves transformation through marriage into a model woman. The heroines embrace their role as worker-within-the-home, even though two


(Rosario of San Quintín and María of Mariucha ) are aristocrats; they all participate in the family business as bookkeepers and advisers. Each of these women ultimately adopts a bourgeois stance, actively collaborating in managing, converting, and maximizing the family fortunes. Only one of the heroines—María of Mariucha —breaks off relations with her own family, but only because of their intransigently aristocratic viewpoint. She founds a new family unit, based on thrift, hard work, and domesticity, with León.

The women protagonists of these dramas display great strength and decisiveness, taking a central role in regenerating the family unit from within. But despite this fact, and even though the texts themselves use the term "mujer nueva" to describe their heroines, these works in fact appropriate the vocabulary of feminism for their own nonfeminist ends, using a similar tactic to the Catholic women's movement that grew up at the beginning of the twentieth century.[19] Galdosian new women are defined in terms of their iconoclastic attitudes to class rather than gender. They reject decadent aristocratic values and life-styles to adopt those of the commercial bourgeoisie. They restore family fortunes, in contrast to the plethora of novelistic cursis and spendthrifts who ape aristocratic habits and waste money. Galdós's heroines use their talents to work within the family or marital home at traditionally feminine activities—making flowers, selling dresses, doing the accounts. They function as the private side of the bourgeois couple. Their role is to redeem society by espousing and promoting middle-class ideals. In La de San Quintín Galdós repeatedly uses a domestic metaphor—the mixing of ingredients for rosquillas (doughnuts)—for the mixing of the upper classes with the lower, a process of intermarriage, led by women, which he presented as vital to the nation's health. In gender terms, the characters of the fin-de-siècle Galdós texts are not radical innovations. In keeping with the novels' political aim of promoting the lower middle class as the saviour of society, they re-enshrine an ideology of feminine abnegation and love and woman's relative destiny which was, by then, under attack.

The nonfemmist and indeed antifeminist implications of Galdós's later work are particularly clear in Electra (1901), a play whose deeply conservative position on gender passed unnoticed at the time of its appearance, when its anticlericalism caused riots on the streets of Spain. The play was heralded by the young members of the genera-


tion of 1898 as radically liberal and held up as a banner for the new society: "Yo contemplo en esta divina. Electra ," wrote Maeztu, "el símbolo de la España rediviva y moderna. . . . Saludemos la nueva religión: Galdós es su profeta; el estruendo de los talleres, su himno" (In this divine work, Electra , I envision the symbol for a resuscitated, modernized Spain. . . . Let us hail the new religion: Galdós is its prophet; the din of factories, its hymn).[20] Yet the play's thesis as regards women is anything but progressive or libertarian. The heroine, initially an infantile, frivolous creature, metamorphoses under the pedagogic attentions of her paternalistic fiancé Máximo into a model little woman, "un angelito cocinero" (an angelic little chef [122]), who plays mother to his children, lovingly cooks his meals, and cleans his house.[21] The insubordination which Máximo urges her to practice entails disobeying her guardians in order to marry him. The liberty to choose between marriage and the convent is, as Librada Hernández points out, the extent of feminine "emancipation" in this work.[22] There are two competing male visions of what it means for woman to be an angel in this play: the conviction of Pantoja, standing for the Church, that it means being a nun, and the view of Máximo, standing for progress, science, and liberalism, that it means being a wife. It is the latter concept that triumphs in the play, as the clerical forces of reaction are resoundingly defeated.

In Electra , as in Shaw's Pygmalion and Galdós's own Fortunata y Jacinta , the truly womanly woman is presented as closer to nature than man, and as ruled by instincts, emotions, and the imagination, a being which needs careful cultivation if it is to bear fruit. Electra, an empty-headed, childish creature, undergoes a redemption in the hands of Máximo, who carefully encourages Electra's domesticity and inclination to marry; the play shows how, under his direction, Electra is transformed into a perfect wife, housekeeper, and mother.[23] The work suggests that Electra only attains womanly maturity when she acknowledges her irrational, dependent nature and confesses the need for the guiding authority of a husband to shape and direct her. Máximo contemplates with ecstatic yearning the product of his labours: "allí [está] el ideal, allí la divina muñeca, entre pucheros . . . juguetona y risueña" (there's the ideal, there's the divine doll, among her pots and pans . . . playful and smiling [122]). While Shaw acknowledged that Galatea might be irritated by Pygmalion's paternalism, Galdós's play shows no such redeeming irony at the expense


of his hero. As in Doña Perfecta and Casandra , in Electra the angel of the house is central to the play's thesis; it succeeded in igniting anticlericalism by depicting woman's "natural" destiny as loving, domesticated wife and mother tragically thwarted by the clergy and their followers. The play's much-touted critique of angelic behaviour is only a rejection of what it presents as the clergy's perverse desire to force Electra into a convent. Thus Electra's complaint that "quieren anularme, esclavizarme, reducirme a una cosa . . . angelical" (they want to disempower me, to enslave me, to reduce me to an angelical thing [54]) cannot be read as a revolt against the angel of the house. In Electra , as in so much of Galdós's later work, the feminine destiny didactically presented to the reader as revolutionary and new is the product of a masculine liberal agenda rather than the feminist one whose language it appropriates.

Teaching Women

It is widely held that Galdós's work reflects the evolution of his political beliefs across the course of his life from a liberal bourgeois stance towards a prosoclalist position.[24] Galdós did indeed move to the left at the advent of the twentieth century. In 1886 he had accepted a nomination as "cradle" deputy in Sagasta's "Long Parliament," with what his biographer calls "philosophic resignation" at thus collaborating in the Restoration's parody of democracy; yet twenty years later, he had shed this cynicism and saw politics as a mission.[25] In 1906 he declared himself a Republican, and by 1907 was once again elected a deputy to the Cortes, although in very different circumstances. In 1909 he became titular head of the executive committee of the Conjunción Republicano-Socialista. In 1912 he went so far as to rhapsodize about socialism, claiming that "Por ahí es por donde llega la aurora" (That is the way the dawn lies).[26] Yet the paradox, at least from our standpoint at the end of the twentieth century, is that the treatment of gender issues in Galdós's novels becomes more conservative at the very point when the writer himself became more left-wing. In fact, most of the early-twentieth-century male socialists and anarchists in Spain still held to bourgeois gender roles and idealized feminine domesticity. La Emancipación , for example, a socialist weekly, described woman's lot after the projected social rev-


olution: "elevada en consideración y en derechos, entrará a ejercer la función que la naturaleza le ha designado, la de jefe de familia encargada de velar por la educación moral de los hijos, de formar el corazón de éstos, de sembrar en él el germen fecundísimo del amor" (given greater rights and more respect, [she] would begin to fulfil the function nature allotted her, that of head of the family in charge of overseeing the moral education of the children, of moulding their hearts, of sowing in them the fertile seeds of love).[27]

While Galdós's mature work, written while he was politically in the centre, exhibits an uneasy half-consciousness of gender as a problematical category and explores the tensions between gender and class around which nineteenth-century feminism crystallized, his later work evinces a doctrinaire determination to fix such uncertainties and instabilities. It proposes regeneration of the nation's ills—clericalism, caciquismo (political corruption), poverty, illiteracy, a primitive agriculture, a moribund aristocracy—via unquestioning adherence to bourgeois codes of morality, conduct, and gender. By the early twentieth century, education had become a meeting point for would-be reformers of women's position of all political hues. At this juncture, conservatives and socialists took a fundamentally similar view that the modern woman's mission was the improvement of future generations. Both right- and left-wing commentators, in France as well as Spain, advised women against agitating for political goals such as suffrage, and directed them instead to the mission of educating the next generation, which they presented as a more socially useful, less egotistical, and more effective long-term strategy for improving women's position and the state of the nation in general.[28]

It was in middle-class women's interest to take the idea of woman's nurturing mission seriously, for it allowed them to expand their sphere beyond the home and even to earn a living, which for many single women was a pressing need. However, political and rhetorical control remained in the patriarchal camp. The turn-of-the-century feminization of certain public institutions such as education and health care paradoxically extended women's sphere into the public domain while leaving intact the ideology of the separate spheres of the sexes. As Michelle Perrot notes, professions such as teaching and nursing were absorbed into the concept of the feminine mission, so that "the model of mother was transposed from the private to the


public sphere: a woman teacher or nurse was seen primarily as a mother, and female professions exploited the notion of feminine devotion and sacrifice."[29] By endorsing women's role in public life in gendered terms, traditional authorities could countenance and appropriate the changes in employment and behaviour patterns. They could interpret women's public appearance not as a gender revolution but as the demonstration of women's true nature, put to the service of the country. Thus, in 1900, a French public school inspector could affirm without any apparent sense of incongruity the contradictory propositions that it was contrary to nature for a woman to go out and earn a living, but that as teacher, she retained her natural role as a mother.[30] The young woman as teacher, maternally devoted to her young pupils—often as an apprenticeship for her care of her own children later—was a vision that satisfied gender conservatives while also meeting the growing need for teachers and the need of middle-class women to earn a living respectably.

The last two novels in the contemporary series—fantastic, allegorical works—are informed by this vision. Both El caballero encantado (1909) and La razón de la sinrazón: Fábula teatral absolutamente inverosímil (1915) contain heroines who are teachers. El caballero continues the theme of Galdós's drama of the 1891s. A wealthy high-society couple, Carlos and Cintia, are redeemed from their parasitic and aimless lives by being magically transformed into Gil, a labourer, and Pascuala, a teacher. Their experiences as working people alter their outlook profoundly; the novel ends by returning them to their former existence in Madrid and they make plans to regenerate Spanish society.

The novel is both aggressively didactic and defiantly self-conscious, an apparently contradictory conjunction. It is subtitled Cuento real . . . inverosímil and the narrator calls it a "fábula verdadera y mentirosa" (true and mendacious fable [75]). Like Aesop's fables, it has a pedagogical element, but unlike most didactic literature it is manifestly aware of being a fiction, a tissue of inventions. It flagrantly transgresses genre lines, mixing the naturalistic with the fantastic, novel with drama, realism with metafiction. Galdós, incidentally, had indicated in the prologue to Casandra that he approved of such genre "incest" if it would produce a more virile writing: "Casemos, pues, a los hermanos Teatro y Novela . . . y aguardemos de este feliz entronque lozana y masculina sucesión" (Let's marry the theatre to


its sister the novel . . . and wait for lusty male offspring from this happy coupling [906]).[31]

While the dream and fantastic elements of El caballero encantado link it to the last novels of the fifth series of the episodios nacionales and seem, like them, to militate against interpretation, it also flaunts before the reader its bitter attack on contemporary society. The social protest is inescapable. There is much in the novel that would lead a deconstructionist to read it as an allegory of the instability of the sign and of the unreadability of the novel as history; it clearly offers a caution against what Diane Urey calls the vain attempt to "make connections between characters and society or characters and symbolic meanings."[32] Yet the parodic elements are directed against contemporary social conditions just as much as against the reader's attempt to make sense of the text; the novel faces both inside and outside, an example of littérature engagée that is also metafictional.[33] It is densely populated with intertextual echoes of regenerationist writings. For example, as Mallada does in Los males de la patria , Tarsis denigrates art and literature that do not promulgate capitalistic values: "los chispazos, los resplendores de fuegos fatuos que vemos en literatura, en artes gráficas y en algún otro orden de la vida intelectual, no nos invitan a que trabajemos. Todo nos llama al descanso, a la pasividad, a dejar correr los días sin intentar cosa alguna que parezca lucha con la inercia hispánica" (the sparks and gleams of the will-o'-the-wisp we see in literature, in the arts, and some other areas of intellectual life don't encourage us to work. Everything invites us to be inactive, to be passive, to let the days go by without trying to do anything that would seem like a struggle against Hispanic inertia [98]).[34]

El caballero encantado consciously inverts elements of the plot of Cervantes's Don Quijote . The hero is the enchanted knight from whose point of view the narrative is presented. The novel follows him on an odyssey around rural Spain. But whereas don Quijote's enchantment, under the spell of excessive reading of chivalric romances, consists in falsely imagining "real" working people to be infinitely more noble and interesting than they are, Galdós's hero, who is magically transformed by the author writing, comes to appreciate the "truth" that working-class characters are infinitely more interesting and worthy than the upper-class acquaintances of their former "real" life. Galdós's novel, like Cervantes's, is focused on the masculine pursuit of an elusive feminine figure, but unlike Dulcinea, the heroine of El


caballero is much more attractive in her imaginary and magical lower-class incarnation as the struggling young teacher Pascuala than as her earlier self, a gentlewoman.

The novel contains another important female "character," if the term can be applied to a fantastic construct: the mother, the spirit of Spain, reminiscent of the muse of Spanish history who appears variously in the last four episodios nacionales as Mariclío, Clío, and Madre Mariana. The mother, a novelistic incarnation of the eternal feminine, also represents "nuestro ser castizo, el genio de la tierra, as glorias pasadas y desdichas presentes, la lengua que hablamos" (our real national character, the spirit of the land, of past glories and present misfortunes, the language we speak [173]). She is wise, loving, maternal, but also enigmatic, unknowable, and constantly changing guises, a will-o'-the-wisp. It is she who is credited with decreeing and engineering the magical transformation of the lovers to redeem them so that they can, together, found a new Spain. She is the source of absolute wisdom. The literary history she represents is that of the male canon, seen in the text as a series of allusions to Cervantes, the Cantar de mio Cid , Gonzalo de Berceo, and Larra's pseudonym, "el pobrecito hablador" (152, 290). The mother plays an angelic role, allowing Gil to sleep the night in her lap and permitting herself to be chained and force-marched across the country as a convict, because "no podré ser redentora si no soy mártir" ([can't be a redemptrix if I'm not a martyr [308]). The mother's diagnosis of the nation is that it needs compulsive remasculinizing therapy. Abulia (lack of willpower), inertia, and empty rhetoric, she declares in terms similar to Ganivet's, are feminine vices with which Spain is hopelessly infected: "'los hechos son varones, las palabras son hembras' . . . cuando las palabras, o sean as féminas, no están bien fecundadas por la voluntad, no son más que un ocioso ruido. Y aquí verás señalado el vicio capital de los españoles de tu tiempo, a saber: que vivís exclusivamente la vida del lenguaje" ("deeds are male, words are female" . . . when words or women aren't properly inseminated by the will, they're no more than useless noise. And here you can see the main vice of the Spaniards today: namely, that you live exclusively off language [150–51]). The mother's vision for the redeemed Spain is a paternalistic revolution from above, not below: "no creas que mi ejemplaridad consiste en volver la tortilla , como dice el vulgo, haciendo a los ricos pobres y a los pobres ricos: no. Eso sería trocar los; términos de desigualdad" (don't think my examples consist of "tossing the omelette," as they say,


making the rich poor and the poor rich: no. That would be to invert the terms of the inequality [141]). Instead, the novel suggests that what is needed is a bourgeois revolution in moral attitudes and education, fostering thrift, hard work, and domesticity, led by the ideal man and the ideal woman.

The couple under redemption, Carlos and Cintia, are in their aristocratic lives the bad gender stereotypes of the nineteenth century: a bored señorito and a frivolous society flirt. In their new lives, they become archetypes of their sexes: Gil is strong, brave, daring, and passionate. It is he who is the real centre of the redemption and of narrative presentation. He constantly engages in exploits—sexual, valorous, or work-related. Pascuala's attributes are beauty, sexual control, natural grace and gravity, and maternal love. While Gil enjoys the frankly sexual advances of the lower-class Eusebia, he idealizes the fact that Pascuala contains desire—both his and her own: "Si él, Ilevado de su fogoso temple, acortaba la distancia honesta, ella le contenía con ademán grave, y con su inefable sonreír, que valía por un mandato" (Whenever, because of his fiery nature, he overstepped the bounds of propriety, she would stop him with a grave gesture, and with her sublime smile, which was the same as an order [170–71]). Pascuala fits the contemporaneous ideal of middle-class feminine sexuality, whereby "woman's virtuosity lay in her containment, like the plant in the pot, limited and domesticated, sexually controlled, not spilling out into spheres in which she did not belong nor being overpowered by the 'weeds' of social disorder."[35] Although later in the novel the lovers elope and spend a few nights in an inn, the consummation of their affair is glossed over by a metafictional device (261). They return to Madrid to become the ideal couple of the future: sexually liberated by their extramarital union but still heterosexual and monogamous.

Cintia is promising material for redemption, since she is a Latin American, representing the New World rather than the inbred Spanish aristocracy. She is also vigorous and beautiful, compared to the plain and sickly noblewoman with the foreign name, whom Tarsis was destined to marry in Madrid: "Mary ostentaba un seno enteramente piano, tabla rasa por la cual resbalaban con desconsuelo las miradas de amor . . . gentileza de palo vestido o de palmera tísica, y de añadidura un habla impertinente arrastrando las erres" (Mary had a chest as flat as a board, a smooth surface over which the lover's gaze slid disappointedly . . . a dressed-up stick of an aristocrat, who


looked like a sick palm tree, who had a peevish voice and drawled her r's [79]). By comparison, Cintia-Pascuala is a lively, young Spanish beauty, whose "incomparables facciones correspondían a la forma encomiástica con que el mozo las había descrito" (flawless features lived up to the praises of the boy who had described her [164]).

Cintia-Pascuala is a licensed primary schoolteacher. Her attitude to her work is presented as an extension of her maternal nature. "Las quiero," she says of her girl pupils, "y ellas me quieren a mí . . . , creo yo que tanto como quieren a sus madres . . . , tal vez más" (I love them, and they love me, I think almost as much as their mothers, maybe more [222]). After three weeks in her first job in a poverty-stricken village, she is desperate to leave, but when Gil tries to elope with her the children emerge, in a dream sequence, to prevent her leaving. She protests: "No me dejan . . . Vete, Gil . . . Ya ves, no puedo . . . Esclava soy de esta menudencia" (They won't let me. Go away, Gil. You see, I can't. I belong to these little ones [229]). She inspires Gil to become a teacher also. Cintia-Pascuala evolves from a maternal teacher into a pedagogic mother. It is she who plans a utopic mission for the couple as educators: "Construiremos veinte mil escuelas aquí y allí, y en toda la redondez de los estados de la Madre. Daremos a nuestro chiquitín una carrera: le educaremos para maestro de maestros" (We will build twenty thousand schools here and there, all over the Mother's domains. We will give our little boy a career: we will raise him to teach teachers [344]). As in El abuelo , this novel offers the moral that the middle-class view of the world is the right one, that "en los tiempos que corren no hay más riquezas que la virtud y el trabajo, y más vale así" (these days the only wealth worth having is virtue and hard work, and that's the way it should be [868]).

La razón de la sinrazón , a short novel in dialogue, was written in 1915, during the first years of World War One; Galdós, by this time almost seventy-two years old and blind, was the querulous beneficiary of a faltering national subscription fund that did not succeed in rescuing him from financial straits. The title of the work evokes Galdós's longstanding love of contradiction, paradox, and antithesis; the work is, like its predecessor, a fantastic parable. Atenaida, a model young woman, "agraciada, esbelta, vestida con modesta corrección provinciana" (graceful, slim, and wearing a modest, proper outfit as befitted a girl from the provinces [1135]) goes to work as a governess for a wealthy family in Farsalia-Nova.[36] She is reacquainted there


with Alejandro, her former lover who is now a widower. A self-made business man, Alejandro has fallen victim to "la muerte crematística" (financial death) of luxury, and has been driven to ruin by his uncontrollable spending. In an episode reminiscent of Jane Eyre , Alejandro pretends that his recently deceased angelic wife, "toda ternura y abnegación" (all tenderness and self-sacrifice), has been reincarnated as a madwoman, only to find his fiction comes true. His wife returns as a demonic inverse of her former self, "impertinente, irascible" and "varonil" (peevish, irascible, and manly [1157]). In contrast, Atenaida is a model of right-thinking behaviour. Devoted to helping others, she cannot be tempted by el lujo or seduction, but is a serious, grave, loving counselor to Alejandro, whom she wishes to redeem and return to her reign of reason. She proclaims herself the source of the values of work, energy, and love: "El trabajo continuo que ves en mí es creación, radiación de energías. Yo estudio y enseño a los que no saben; yo produzco elementos de vida. A esta acción continua añade un sentimiento poderoso; el amor que te tengo, que sobrevive inalterable a . . . todas tus inconsecuencias y frialdades" (The work you see me doing all the time is creative; it radiates my energy. I study and I teach those who know nothing; I produce life. To this continual employment you can add a powerful feeling; the love I feel for you, which outlives . . . all your fickleness and coldness without changing [1169]).

When Alejandro becomes a minister, Atenaida exercises feminine influence, in the classic nineteenth-century feminine mode, from behind the scenes. She draws up a reformist agrarian law which he passes off as his own. Atenaida's bill is received as so scandalous that Alejandro is forced to resign and unreason takes over the world, eclipsing the sun and producing a cataclysm. All the men, terrified, look to Atenaida. She and Alejandro elope together through the storm, and they resolve to adopt working-class clothes. Alejandro voices their regenerationist doctrine: "la virtud verdadera y permanente consiste no sólo en el cumplimiento estricto de los deberes, sociales, sino en la diligencia, en la actividad, en el trabajo constante" (true, lasting virtue lies not only in strictly fulfilling one's duties in society, but in diligence, occupation, constant hard work [1177]).

The pair encounter a model for their relationship—the housekeeper (who once was a schoolteacher) and the priest, living together in perfect if very unorthodox domestic partnership—who befriend


them. Like the most respectable of housewives, Atenaida and the housekeeper are lovingly if vaguely portrayed busily working away at "domésticas funciones" (domestic chores [1179]). The couple reach their journey's end at the idyllically beautiful land of truth where they visit the also symbolically named patriarch don Juan de Valtierra. Alejandro paints an enthusiastic picture of their future: "Aquí practicaremos la verdadera santidad, que consiste en cultivar la tierra para extraer de ella los elementos de vida, y cultivar los cerebros vírgenes, plantel de las inteligencias que en su madurez han de ser redentoras" (Here we will practice true saintliness, which consists in farming the land to bring forth life from it, and cultivating virgin brains, the seedbed of minds that when they grow up will be a redemptive force [1181–82]). This formula for right-thinking conduct in the Spain of the future is remarkably similar to Costa's 1901 speech in Salamanca, republished in 1914, in which he claimed, "El honor y la seguridad de la Nación . . . están en manos de los que aran la tierra, de los que cavan la viña, de los que plantan el naranjo . . . de los que hacen los hombres y los ciudadanos educando a la niñez" (The honour and safety of the Nation . . . are in the hands of those who plough the earth, who hoe the vines, who plant the orange trees . . . those who make men and citizens by educating children).[37]

The couple live out Costa's motto of escuela y despensa (education and food), for after marrying and acquiring a farm and a school, Alejandro becomes a farmer while Atenaida is the local school-mistress: "Yo cultivo la tierra, y Atenaida, los cerebros de estas tiernas criaturas" (I till the land and Atenaida tends the brains of these young creatures [1183]). The sexual division of labour is fundamental to the regenerated Spain, as is the assumption of different psychological and emotional realms for the sexes. Alejandro worships his wife as a redeeming angel whose goodness and moral sense have cured him of lujo and abulia : "en mi corazón tienes tu altar. Eres la perfección humana; por tu constante actividad y labor infatigable, vives irradiando energía y comunicándola a todos los seres que te rodean. . . . Tú me sacaste del pantano de la mentira y de los convencionalismos sociales" (I have made an altar for you in my heart. You are perfection itself; by your continual and tireless work, you give off energy all the time and you pass it to all those around you. . . . You pulled me out of the swamp of lies and suffocating conventions [1181]).


The last scene of the work is a vignette of the couple in their new home, the fields in the background and Atenaida in the foreground joyfully contemplating the crowd of noisy children in the school gateway. Atenaida is given an enormously idealized projection as the redemptrix of man and society. She is a symbolic, larger than life figure who reminds us of the Statue of Liberty. The Atenaida of the closing pages is seen through Alejandro's eyes as a sublime beauty: "el cuerpo estatuario y arrogante la actitud; imperioso el gesto; circuida la hermosa cabeza con un resplandeciente nimbo de plata" (her statuesque body struck a proud pose; her gesture was imperious; her lovely head was surrounded by a shining silver halo [1182]).

While the equation of woman with reason initially suggests to the reader a transgression of bourgeois gender categories, in fact this assumption turns out to be erroneous. The associations that the narrative draws on are conventional for all their apparent novelty. The narrative presents the ideal woman as wife, mother, and teacher redeeming man from the lujo , corruption, promiscuity, and ignorance of urban society, which are equated in the novel with unreason. The novel's closing vision is of the liberal bourgeoisie triumphant: Atenaida, a hieratic figure, pronounces that lower-middle-class values—work, fidelity, marriage, the sexual division of labour and of mental and physical attributes—are the basis of human happiness:

(Avanzando con solemne arrogancia como personificación de una idea sublime .) Ved en esta mujer humilde el símbolo de la Razón triunfante. (Alejandro y el Cura la contemplan extáticos; y ella, soberanamente hermosa, pronuncia las últimas palabras .) Somos los creadores del bienestar humano . . . (El rostro de Atenaida aparece coronado de estrellas .) (1183)

([Advancing proudly and solemnly like a sublime idea personified .] "Behold in this poor woman the symbol of reason triumphant." [Alejandro and the priest stare at her in ecstasy; and she, supremely beautiful, pronounces the last words .] "We are the creators of human happiness." [Atenaida's face appears to be crowned with stars .])

Galdós's narrative fiction demonstrates the intimate and mutually responsive nature of the relation between gender and class in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. In the early years of the Restoration, hostility mingled with attraction to the proselytizing zeal of bourgeois society surfaced in Galdós's work in the self-aborted questioning of the natural and universal status of bourgeois


gender categories. Later, as the bourgeoisie came to seem less secure thanks to its adulteration by alliance with the landed aristocracy and the threat posed to its power by the rumblings of working-class militancy, the reinforcement of a unifying gender ideology centred on the deeply attractive if increasingly anachronistic vision of woman as a timeless haven of maternal love came to play a role of paramount importance in Galdós's novels. Tellingly, it is only in his fantastic novels that women are envisaged as extradomestic professionals or allotted any enduring power. Perhaps understandably, it is the uneasy instability of the mid-Restoration novels that continues to attract modern readers. The late novels' authoritarian certainties about gender ring somewhat hollow to readers grappling with their own ambivalence about the Victorian vision of home and sex roles, which continues to cast its powerful spell over late-twentieth-century society.



At the end of the series of sample readings we have undertaken of Galdós's sprawling opus we arrive, appropriately enough, at more questions, the answers to which are far from conclusive. The problem that looms largest is how to account for the elements in these works that critique the oppressiveness of the doctrine of separate spheres and all it entailed, especially for women. What lies behind the clash of value systems characteristic of so many Galdós novels? If our reading of Galdós's various fleeting comments on the woman question is correct and he did support conventional Victorian gender ideology, how do we explain the emancipationist impulse so obviously operating, especially in his early novels? To whom, or to what, should we ascribe this voice, given that there was no openly feminist discourse at work within Spain between 1850 and the late 1880s?

Authorial intention is always the most tempting, and the most dangerous, ground to fall back on when such a dilemma faces us. Many readers have dealt with the contradictory treatment of gender in Galdós's novels by ignoring the patriarchal aspects of the works and claiming that Galdós himself was a feminist. The pitfalls of this approach are only too evident, causing Roberto Sánchez to attack it as "idle speculation."[1] In addition to the conflictive nature of the narratives themselves, the nonfictional writings we have looked at in chapter 2, taken from a wide range of points in Galdós's career, contradict the appealing vision of him as a gender radical. Unless more evidence turns up, in the form of new letters or articles by Galdós, we cannot conclude that the author was consciously trying to promote women's emancipation. Besides, any critical reading that attributes all the spiralling meanings of Galdós's novelistic language directly to his own personal views ventures onto shaky theoretical ground, since few still believe that fictional writing is a truthful, undistorted reflection of the author's beliefs. The term fiction itself, as John Kronik reminds us, is synonymous with falsehood.[2]


We can avoid the most reductionist aspects of the authorial intention argument (though not the charge of speculation) by positing that Galdós himself was unconsciously ambivalent about the image of domestic womanhood that his culture was so heavily invested in promoting, and that this unconscious aspect surfaces in his novels despite, rather than because of, his overt intentions. A cogent argument has been advanced by a group of critics of the Victorian novel that the narratives of Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, and Collins, for example, embody a "reluctant, often unwitting" perception of a "failure in Victorian sexual relations," which "coexists in the novels with a strenuous insistence on traditional values." Thus, they contend, the tension created between "conscious intention and intuitive perception creates a persistent ambivalence that is a defining characteristic of their fiction."[3] This formulation is more satisfactory than the feminist-antifeminist dichotomy posed by earlier critics, since we can apply it to Galdós's work without simplifying its contrasting voices. It also squares with what little we know of the author's personal life: Galdós's basic adherence to domestic ideology seems to have been at war with an attraction to women who were not angels, to judge from his relations with Emilia Pardo Bazán and Concha-Ruth Morell, both of whom railed against domesticity and from both of whom Galdós broke away, despite their protestations.

Furthermore, the frequency with which Galdós's texts present heroines who are ostensibly gender rebels but gradually reveal the true depths of their adherence to the reigning feminine ideal seems to point to a characteristically Victorian fascination with redeeming fallen women. The unveiling of unsuspected angels in the house is somewhat of a compulsory gesture in Galdós's novels. The most spectacular of many such revelations is perhaps that in Lo prohibido (1884) of Camila, who at the beginning of the novel appears to be a brazen hussy who runs a catastrophic household but comes to impress us as far more truly domestic, thrifty, loving, and moral than her sisters.[4] An attraction to the faults in a classic pattern was a quirk of Galdós's personal taste in art. As Peter Bly shows, Galdós was fascinated by women in paintings who betrayed some slight flaw—the wide mouth of Mona Lisa or flat nose of Lucrezia, the narrow forehead of the duchess of Oxford.[5] While he disliked excessive deviation from the classical norms of beauty, such imperfections intrigued him. The pleasure that Galdós the art critic took in optical illusions of de-


viance in portraits of women that then allowed the lingering eye to rediscover the portrait's fundamental similarities to a widely held ideal is very close to his novelistic representations of women, seen both in the works analyzed in depth in this study and in others whose inclusion would have made it too unwieldy.

Yet there are linguistic aspects of Galdós's prose that tend to produce ambivalence independently of the author's conscious or even unconscious motivations. Roland Barthes argues suggestively that "a text is not a line of words releasing a single 'theological' meaning (the 'message' of the Author-God) but a multidimensional space in which a variety of writings, none of them original, blend and clash"[6] This notion of the text as the conjunction of a multitude of colliding languages, each with its own peculiar history, is supported by Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of heteroglossia. Bakhtin's theory of the dialogic role of language is eminently applicable to the Galdós texts we have been studying. The Galdosian enterprise was to weld together into a mirror of bourgeois life various discourses of nineteenth-century liberalism—including, but not limited to, gender, class, religion, history, and politics—all of which were interconnected, but ultimately so prone to diverge that it proved impossible to create a stable rather than a shifting, multidimensional image. Often the ideologically charged nature of language itself led to the tensions in Galdós's fiction which are the subject of this book.

Galdós's frequent use of women characters as allegories of Spain means that his heroines are predestined to reenact in their own fictional destinies that of Spain's failed revolution. The shift in the ideology of women's place that occurs in Gloria and La familia de León Roch is, in part, an unexpected side effect of the troping of the female protagonists as Spain. It has often been noted that the eponymous heroine of Gloria and Rosario in Doña Perfecta stand for liberal Spain oppressed by the forces of reaction. Yet if the allegory is to work realistically on both levels, the characters must strain for liberty in their own right, as women. In order to flesh out this level of the allegory to a level consistent with the verisimilitude he desired, Galdós relies heavily on romantic imagery of woman as caged bird, and it is at this point that we encounter what Bakhtin describes as the problem of "ideologically saturated" language. As Bakhtin states, the prose writer "makes use of words that are already populated with the social intentions of others and compels them to serve his own new


intentions," since "each word tastes of the context and contexts in which it has lived its socially charged life."[7] The language Galdós uses to create his heroines is saturated with feminist associations from an earlier period and cannot simply be purged of such connotations and harnessed to Galdós's uses as historical allegory; it continues to pull in another direction. It is also, of course, destined to be abandoned. Since Spain in Gloria and Doña Perfecta is portrayed as having failed to break free of the monarchy, the heroines' stand against patriarchal constraints is similarly doomed to fail. Thus the presence of feminist imagery early in these novels is at once real and also something of an optical illusion, since it is employed to serve other purposes, and not for its own sake.

María Egipcíaca, in contrast to Gloria, stands for reactionary Spain, resistant to the best efforts of its would-be reformers. Again, the apparently antipatriarchal opening of the novel is an illusion, since the implied author's allegiance is ultimately to León, who stands for the revolutionary modernization of Spain. María Egipcíaca's successful rear-guard action against León is not a cause for celebration but ultimately a tragic spectacle of "la España profunda" (the old Spain) at work. When the allegory of nationhood works through women characters, as it does in Galdós's early novels, it adopts the language of feminist protest. Equally, because of the overwhelmingly negative view of the achievements of revolutionary Spain that predominates in the early novels, this discourse must self-destruct. In contrast, in Fortunata y Jacinta , Fortunata's relative success as a woman in refusing to "entrar por el aro" (jump through the hoop) of social conventions is motivated by the more optimistic view of the September revolution at work in this later novel. Even though the representation of the heroine remains embroiled in the author's contradictory attitudes to liberal aspirations—his admiration for radicalism and his fear of disorder—the revolution is seen ultimately as a birth, not a death. Fortunata passes a baby to Jacinta, the legacy of a revolution whose benefits, the novel suggests, would unfold in the next generation; and at the same time, Fortunata herself achieves a measure of self-realization.

In the novels of the 1880s, Galdós centres his critique of apparently universal faults such as social climbing and conspicuous consumption on female characters. At this point, his narratives become complicated by the schizophrenia latent at the heart of liberalism itself,


built around dangerously labile categories such as "universal," which was never meant to be taken at face value but was always liable to be extended to all, including women.[8] The author's almost exclusive use of women to illustrate supposedly universal flaws such as el lujo , adultery, cursilería , and sexual hypocrisy tends to send a misogynistic message that the texts simultaneously work to disavow by declaring that their subject is really the dilemma of middle-class Spain, "el eterno quiero y no puedo" (the eternal desire for the unattainable). Contrapuntally, Galdós frequently shows that the rebellious women spenders in his novels are individuals who want freedom and equality, which the rhetoric of liberalism appeared to allow them but from which in fact their sex disqualified them.

Contending facets of Galdós's realist aesthetic—the plenitude of detail, the fascination with human psychology, the privileging of objectivity and moral relativism, and the often transparent desire to improve the reader—help to create the multitude of conflicting impulses that agitate the texts and pull them in different directions. Galdós's portrayal of Rosalía de Bringas's life, for example, is at once so psychologically minute and so careful to avoid open didacticism that it imaginatively creates the frustrations of a life subject to Francisco Bringas's domestic tyranny and ends up partly siding with Rosalía at the same time as it condemns her. Thus, the novel leaves the reader uncertain whether Rosalía is a typical example of the gender-specific flaw of el lujo , or whether she is justified in claiming what is in fact a universal right to freedom through her use of money. What makes these mid-Restoration novels so interesting is that all the different contexts they explore—political allegory, examination of class and of gender roles, lessons on social morality—rest in a creative suspension that never quite breaks down. No single discourse ever succeeds in subjugating the others, thanks to the masterly exercise of an ambiguous style of narrative presentation that balances what Bakhtin would term the centrifugal forces of the text against the centripetal force holding them all together. As a result Galdós's novels of the 1870s and 1880s are, Alicia Andreu skilfully argues, polyphonic texts full of endless readerly possibilities.[9] Their implied author is a master of elusiveness and enigma, refusing to allow any one meaning to become dominant.

While we might explain the dialogic role of gender in the early and middle novels without resorting to conscious authorial intention but


consider instead a combination of suppressed and probably unconscious authorial ambivalence and the effects of figurative and narratorial language, we could not easily account for the shift in the later novels to unabashed proselytizing of a middle-class world view without recurring at some level to a change in authorial perspective. Once feminist discourse became publicly established in Spain with the Congreso Pedagógico of 1892, Galdós no longer uses it to contest bourgeois values. Indeed, he appropriates aspects of feminist discourse, such as the term "new woman," in the service of a conservative class agenda. Following his decisive intervention as author in Tristana in 1892, Galdós creates less "writable" (scriptible ) texts which are increasingly univocal on the issue of gender. He moves from open-ended mimesis towards parable.

Whereas ambiguity about societal gender codes predominates in Galdós's middle period, his later work becomes more monologic. Even though consciousness of class still takes a gendered form, gender itself is no longer a site of controversy.[10] In contrast to the dynamic counterbalancing of meanings between the discourses of class and gender in Fortunata y Jacinta , for example, the synthesis breaks down in the late novels. Instead of continuing to use gender both as a conduit for articulating his narrative vision of Spain and as the site for registering subliminal conflict, Galdós after the turn of the century allots these functions to class. These novels no longer show a tendency to contest gender roles as a way of questioning class values: perhaps that enterprise had come to seem too risky in the wake of the collapse of the empire in 1898 and the workers' uprising in Catalonia during the Tragic Week of July 1909. Atenaida's performance as regards gender, for example, is not subject to the oscillations of a Tristana or a Gloria; it is purely a function of her class identity. The late novels are much more anxious to point to a moral of class solidarity and the exemplarity of bourgeois life-style for reforming the nation; their narrators less prone to ludic refusal to commit themselves.

We tend to think of social history in terms of discrete units of nations. While the debates about women's education, work, and suffrage in the various societies of western Europe and North America clearly had sharply diverging characteristics, the idea of woman as ministering angel of the home became a Victorian institution that transcended national and cultural boundaries. Often more proscriptive than descriptive, this international model was designed to erase


difference and create class solidarity. Many more historical studies are needed to elucidate the specific ways it affected everyday life in Spain and to what extent it actually became a way of life as opposed to an ideal. In the absence of such work, our analysis of its effect on Galdós's novelas contemporáneas must serve as a preliminary exploration of a phenomenon to which we may hope succeeding writers will have a great deal to add. We will then be more prepared to examine how the multiple ambiguities of Victorian thought inscribed themselves into the work of Spain's much-mythologized "liberal crusader," and to decipher the enigma of his polyphonic representation of women, which has drawn so many readers to his ample series of novels of contemporary social life.


Appendix 1


List of Galdós's Novels



La sombra (1870)


La Fontana de Oro (1871)


El audaz (1871)


Rosalía (written ca. 1872, published 1983)

First series (1873–1875)

Doña Perfecta (1876)*

Second series (1875–1879)

Gloria (1877)


Marianela (1878)


La familia de León Roch (1878)




La desheredada (1881)


El amigo Manso (1882)


El doctor Centeno (1883)


Tormento (1884)


La de Bringas (1884)


Lo prohibido (1884–1885)


Fortunata y Jacinta (1887)


Miau (1888)


La incógnita (1888–1889)


Torquemada en la hoguera (1889)


Realidad (1889)


Angel Guerra (1890–1891)


Tristana (1892)


La loca de la casa (1892)


Torquemada en la cruz (1893)


Torquemada en el purgatorio (1894)


* Galdós began the contemporary series in 1876, though he later assigned its starting date to 1881.

(table continued on next page)


(table continued from previous page)




Torquemada y San Pedro (1895)


Nazarín (1895)


Halma (1895)


Misericordia (1897)


El abuelo (1897)

Third series (1898–1900)

Casandra (1905)

Fourth series (1902–1907)

El caballero encantado (1909)

Fifth series (1908–1912)

La razón de la sinrazón (1915)



Appendix 2

La Misión De La Mujer

Signo de paz entre Dios y el hombre; ángel hermoso que disipando las tempestades de la vida señale con su diestra el cielo; eso debe ser la mujer en el mundo. Hija, esposa y madre, su mision en la tierra es la mision más hermosa.

Ella debe ser el arco iris que aleje la tempestad haciendo renacer el sol de la alegría. Si la mujer se propone que en si hogar reine la calma, con su amante sonrisa y persuasivas palabras puede desterrar las más rudas tormentas del alma, apareciendo entónces á los ojos de los suyos radiante como un sol, y á la vista de los demás buena como un ángel.

El hombre, creado para luchar y dotado de pasiones fuertes, cuando no tiene con quién, lucha consigo mismo. La mujer, creada para la paz y adornada de los más puros y suaves sentimientos, ha de sembrar la dicha por donde quiera que pase y derramar el bien en sus semejantes, ejerciendo la caridad y practicando la virtud, pero sin ruido, sin ostentacion alguna, porque la modestia es ó debe ser una de las primeras cualidades que adornen el corazon de la mujer.

Dios sabe lo que hace. Grande es la tempestad y hermosa la calma; ambas revelan la majestad y sabiduría de Dios. Anhelo de saber, ambicion de gloria, pasiones encontradas y una constante voz que grita ¡más allá! combaten el corazon del hombre, produciendo ideas y hechos que asombran y regeneran á la sociedad que en pago de sus inmensos sacrificios hace de ellos mártires y dioses eternizando su memoria. Dulzura, persuasion, amor y sensibilidad reinan en el corazon de la mujer destinada al más sublime sacrificio, á la más pura abnegacion, á la más santa caridad. Hacer el bien sin esperar más recompensa que la satisfaccion de hacerle. Derramar la luz del consuelo en el estrecho recinto del hogar, enjugando con amor las lágrimas de


los séres queridos; formar el corazon de un hijo que quizá Ilegue á ser justo orgullo de su pátria . . . hé aquí la mision del sér más sensible de la creacion.

El hombre piensa más que siente; la mujer siente más que piensa.

Algunos dicen que la mujer es un mártir á quien se le niega la palma del martirio, y que apta para producir acciones grandes en su hogar y fuera de él, yace sumida en el más absurdo oscurantismo.

Alguna razon tiene en cuanto á que la mujer debe desarrollar más su inteligencia, que suponen, y á mi modo de ver no se engañan, de tanta capacidad como la del hombre. ¿No puede haber dos objetos que tengan el mismo valor y sin embargo sean distintos?

Yo he oido la relacion de un hecho sublime en boca de un hombre de talento, y he pronunciado frases de entusiasmo; luego, más tarde, he vuelto á oir el mismo hecho contado por una mujer de talento tambien y de instruccion, y he derramado lágrimas de sentimiento.

Si la mision de la mujer es la de difundir el bien y el consuelo en su hogar, fuera de él y segun su posicion social y facultades intelectuales, ¿acaso puede llegar á tener más gloria?

El verdadero heroismo es aquel que no piensa en arrancar un laurel á la admiracion general, sino que movido por su propia abnegacion se lanza á las más árduas empresas y perece si es necesario por salvar una idea justa ó librar de la muerte á uno de sus semejantes, á un sér querido, pedazo de su alma; y la madre, cuando se desvela por educar cuidadosamente á sus hijos, que son pedazos de su alma, llena la difícil y gran mision de preparar y fortalecer su espiritu para que jamás perezca en los combates del mundo.

La mujer, toda sentimiento, cuando ejerce el bien, embriagada por decirlo asi con la propia satisfaccion que siente y deslumbrada con su presente gloria, no anhela alcanzar más láuros, ni desea ardientemente que las generaciones venideras repitan su nombre, y esa es la mils sublime de las heroicidades; sacrificarse en aras de la humanidad sin pedirla en cambio un glorioso recuerdo ni una hoja de laurel.

De la misma manera que las melodiosas notas arrancadas del arpa de un ángel pueden llenar los espacios con su celeste armonia, los sublimes arranques del sensible corazon de una mujer digna pueden traspasar las esferas de su hogar y llenar el mundo con su embriagador aroma.


¡Dichoso el día en que la mujer llegue á comprender la grandísima importancia que tiene en la sociedad y los altos deberes que está llamada á cumplir, empleando debidamente las muchas facultades que Dios le ha dado para ejercer el bien!

Blanca de Gassó y Ortiz, "La misión de la mujer," La Guirnalda 7 (1 August 1878): 159.




1. Many of Galdós's novels have appeared in English. Translations that have appeared since 1950 include four by Karen Austin, The Shadow (Athens: Ohio University Press, 1980), Angel Guerra (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1990), The Unknown (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1991), and Reality (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1992); two by John M. Cohen, Torment (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1952) and Miau (London: Methuen, 1963). Others are by Lester Clarke, The Disinherited (London: Folio Society, 1976); Agnés Moncy Gullón, Fortunata y Jacinta (New York: Viking, 1987); Jo Labanyi, Nazarín (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993); Frances López-Morillas, Torquemada (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986); Joan Maclean, Compassion (New York: American RDM Corporation, 1966); Harriet de Onis, Doña Perfecta (Woodbury, N.Y.: Barron's Educational Series, 1960); R. Selden Rose, Tristana (Peterborough, N.H.: R. R. Smith, 1961); Nicholas Round, Torquemada in the Fire (Glasgow: University of Glasgow, 1985); Walter Rubin, The Golden Fountain Café (New York: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1989); Robert Russell, Our Friend Manso (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987); Gamel Woolsey, The Spendthrifts (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1951).

2. See Appendix 1 for a list of the novels in question. For convenience, they are sometimes all referred to as the contemporary novels, in order to distinguish them from Galdós's four series of historical novels, the episodios nacionales (national episodes). The cutoff line between the early novels and the contemporary series is debatable, since it was changed by Galdós himself; originally, the contemporary series began with Doña Perfecta in 1876 but was later pushed back to La desheredada of 1881.

3. C. P. Snow, The Realists: Portraits of Eight Novelists (London: Macmillan, 1978), 167-94.

4. Anthony Percival, Galdós and his Critics (Buffalo: Toronto University Press, 1985), 6.

5. Susan Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas: Women Writers and Subjectivity in Spain , 1835-1850 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 294.

6. Jane Flax, "Postmodernism and Gender Relations in Feminist Theory," Signs 12, no. 4 (1987): 627.

7. Elaine Showalter, Speaking of Gender (New York: Routledge, 1989), 1-2.

8. Showalter, Speaking of Gender , 4.

9. Showalter, Speaking of Gender , 4.

10. Fredric Jameson, "Symbolic Inference; or, Kenneth Burke and Ideological Analysis," The Ideologies of Theory: Essays 1971-1986—Situations of Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1988), 1:140.

11. Lynda Nead, Myths of Sexuality: Representations of Women in Victorian Britain (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988), 8.

12. Rosalind Coward, Patriarchal Precedents: Sexuality and Social Relations (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983), 2.

13. Jane Tompkins, Sensational Designs: The Cultural Work of American Fiction, 1790-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985).

14. Annette Kolodny, "Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory, Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary Criticism," The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature, and Theory , ed. Elaine Showalter (New York: Pantheon, 1985), 163.

15. Stephen Gilman, "The Consciousness of Fortunata," Anales Galdosianos 5 (1970): 55-57.

16. Judith Fetterley, The Resisting Reader: A Feminist Approach to American Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1978), xx, xxii.

17. Adrienne Rich, On Lies, Secrets, and Silences: Selected Prose 1966-1978 (New York: Norton, 1979), 35.

18. For example, Daria J. Montero-Paulson, La jerarquía femenina en la obra de Pérez Galdós (Madrid: Pliegos, 1988), Josefina Acosta de Hess, Galdós y la novela de adulterio (Madrid: Pliegos, 1988), and Lisa Condé, Stages in the Development of a Feminist Consciousness in Pérez Galdós (1843-1920): A Biographical Sketch (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1990).

19. Naomi Schor, Breaking the Chain: Women, Theory, and French Realist Fiction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 144.

20. Lou Charnon-Deutsch, Gender and Representation: Women in Spanish Realist Fiction (Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 1990), xii.

21. Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 101.

22. Innumerable studies have appeared on the nineteenth-century domestic ideal of femininity in Britain and America, starting with the anthology edited by Martha Vicinus, Suffer and Be Still: Women in the Victorian Age (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972). In contrast to the plethora of Anglo-American studies, there are only two book-length studies on this issue as it affected Spain: Alicia Andreu's work on the figure of the virtuous woman in Galdós y la literatura popular (Madrid: Sociedad General Española de Librería, 1982), and Bridget Aldaraca's study of domestic ideology in El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1991), which appeared after this book was largely complete. Aldaraca's study breaks important new ground in its perceptive and illuminating Marxist analysis of the Counter-Reformation and eighteenth-century antecedents of the nineteenth-century ideal of the angel in the house, as well as in its textual analyses of a number of novels not examined in the present volume.

23. Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction , 4.

24. Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice (London: Methuen, 1980), 109. Mikhail Bakhtin, The Dialogic Imagination , ed. Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).

25. Toril Moi, Sexual/Textual Politics: Feminist Literary Theory (London: Methuen, 1985), 26 (original emphasis); Belsey, Critical Practice , 46.

26. Nancy Cott, "Passionlessness: An Interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology, 1790-1850," Signs 4, no. 2 (1978): 219.

1— Woman's Mission As Domestic Angel

1. Nancy K. Miller, The Heroine's Text: Readings in the French and English Novel, 1722-1782 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), ix.

2. Sofía Tartilán, Páginas para la educación popular (Madrid: Imprenta de Enrique Vicente, 1877), 231. Although María del Carmen Simón Palmer's recent bibliographical studies list some two thousand surviving nineteenth-century works on the subject of woman, this material has become the subject of academic investigation only in the last decade.

3. Jane Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism: Women in Britain, France, and the United States, 1780-1860 (London: Macmillan, 1985), 8.

4. Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, "Tradition and the Female Talent," in The Poetics of Gender , ed. Nancy K. Miller (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 202-3.

5. See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality , trans. Robert Hurley (1978; reprint, New York: Vintage Books, 1980); Carl Degler, "What Ought To Be and What Was: Women's Sexuality in the Nineteenth Century," American Historical Review 79, no. 5 (1974): 1467-90; Erna Olafson Hellerstein, Leslie Parker Hume, and Karen Offen, eds., Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France, and the United States (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981); and Peter Gay, The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984-86).

6. Mary Nash, ed., Mujer, familia y trabajo en España (1875-1936) (Barcelona: Anthropos, 1983), 41.

7. The theory of the public sphere originates in the work of Jürgen Habermas, first published in English as The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Thought (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991). Habermas's work has been extensively used by feminist historians and social scientists. See Joan B. Landes, Women in the Public Sphere (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988), who argues that in the passage from absolutism to bourgeois liberal democracy, women were generically excluded from constituting "the public," a body which monitored and discussed matters of common interest and was thus an important new political institution.

8. See, for example, J. R., La mujer: Lo que ha sido, lo que es, lo que debe ser (Barcelona: Manuel Sauri, 1865), 53.

9. Bridget Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1991), 27.

10. Carmen Martín Gaite, in Usos amorosos del dieciocho en España (Madrid: Siglo XXI, 1972), describes how during the eighteenth century even within their homes many Spanish women of the upper classes remained segregated to the estrado , a dais in the drawing room, enclosed by railings, where women sat on cushions and sewed (27-8). José María Blanco White's second letter, dated 1798, also attests to the reclusive life lived by middle-class women in Andalusia at the end of the eighteenth century but records that Spanish husbands had by this point undergone a "thorough change" as regards their proverbial jealousy, with the result that women's manners were a "strange mixture of caution and liberty" ( Letters from Spain [London: Henry Colburn, 1822], 48-49).

11. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 61, 32.

12. Tartilán, Páginas para la educación popular , 232.

13. From Antonio Cánovas del Castillo's prologue to Miguel Guijarro, ed., Las mujeres españolas, portuguesas y americanas tales como son en el hogar doméstico  . . . (Madrid: Imprenta de Miguel Guijarro, 1872), 1:xiii.

14. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 55.

15. María del Pilar Sinués de Marco, El ángel del hogar , 7th edition (Madrid: J. A. García [ca. 1890]), 1:243. See also Concepción Gimeno de Flaquer, who remarks in a similar vein "¡Oh madres, de vosotras es el reino de la tierra! . . . podeis purificar las costumbres y levantar las ideas, pues sois fuertes por medio de vuestro amor" (Oh mothers, it is you who rule the world! . . . you can purify customs and elevate ideas, for you are strong through your love) ( La mujer española: Estudios acerca de su educación y facultades intelectuales [Madrid: Imprenta de Miguel Guijarro, 1877], 210).

16. Juan P. Criado y Domínguez, Literatas españolas del siglo XIX: Apuntes bibliográficos (Madrid: Imprenta de Antonio Pérez Dubrull, 1889), 61. One of the popular anthologies of the day similarly credits the ángel del hogar with an inspirational, redemptive influence on those around her: "con el ejemplo, con la palabra, con la dignidad y la moral entereza que nacen de una conciencia limpia y serena, encamina al bien a su familia, y sirve como de regulador y de espejo en los pensamientos y en las acciones del hogar" (with her example, with her words, with the dignity and moral integrity born of a clear and tranquil conscience, she guides her family towards right and acts as a regulator and a mirror in the thoughts and actions of the household) (Leopoldo Augusto de Cueto, "La mujer de Guipúzcoa," in Las mujeres españolas , ed. Guijarro, 1:429).

17. It is worth noting that even in industrialized countries such as Britain, the separation of spheres remained an ideal for large segments of the population. Jane Rendall argues that many women's domestic chores—such as fetching water, washing clothes, buying bread, sewing, and gathering wood—"far from being private, individual ones, undertaken within the home as a refuge from the outside world, were impossible within the strictly limited resources of most working peoples' homes, and were as likely to be dependent on communal resources, and undertaken with other women" ( The Origins of Modern Feminism , 191).

18. Nancy Armstrong, Desire and Domestic Fiction: A Political History of the Novel (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).

19. For a description of these new social types, see Charles Kany, Life and Manners in Madrid, 1750-1800 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1932), 174-208.

20. Martín Gaite states that numerous eighteenth-century writers mentioned the estrado with nostalgia as a thing of the past ( Usos amorosos , 28). Charles Kany mentions that by the second half of the century, the word estrado had come to refer simply to the drawing room, where the sexes mingled relatively freely, rather than the original women-only dais in the room ( Life and Manners in Madrid , 270).

21. See the excellent discussions of this process in Michelle Perrot, ed., A History of Private Life: From the Fires of Revolution to the Great War (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), 4:9, 100. Lawrence Stone, in The Family, Sex, and Marriage in England, 1500-1800 (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1977), and Rudolf Trumbach, in The Rise of the Egalitarian Family: Aristocratic Kinship and Domestic Relations in Eighteenth-Century England (New York: Academic Press, 1978), argue that attitudes to marriage and the family were transformed in western societies into new models of companionship and affective ties with the rise of the bourgeoisie in the eighteenth century.

22. Olafson Hellerstein et al., Victorian Women , 2.

23. Rendall, The Origins of Modern Feminism , 206.

24. See Martín Gaite, Los usos amorosos del dieciocho , chap. 1, for a discussion of the custom of the cortejo , adopted in Spain around 1750.

25. John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies (Philadelphia: Henry Altemus, 1893), 137.

26. E. Escartín y Lartiga, ''El triunfo de la anarquía: Los problemas del siglo XX," in Mujer, familia y trabajo en España (1875-1936) , ed. Mary Nash (Madrid: Anthropos, 1983), 65.

27. J. Sánchez de Toca, El matrimonio (Madrid: A. de Cárlos é hijo, 1875), 1:165.

28. Galdós's El audaz (1871) engages in a classic early bourgeois critique of the power and freedom of the eighteenth-century aristocratic woman in the unsympathetic portrayal of the haughty, independent, and undomestic heroine Susana Cerezuelo and the biting satire of two minor characters, the literata Pepita Sanahuja and the would-be diplomat Antonia de Gibraleón.

29. Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990).

30. Cynthia Eagle Russett, Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1989).

31. Juan Valera, "Las mujeres y las academias: Cuestión social inocente" (1891), in Obras completas (Madrid: Aguilar, 1949), 2:861. See also Leopoldo Alas, "Nietzsche y las mujeres" (1899), reprinted in Clarín: Obra olvidada , ed. Antonio Ramos-Gascón (Madrid: Jucar, 1973), 206.

32. Escartín y Lartiga, "El triunfo de la anarquía," 65.

33. Susan Kirkpatrick, Las Románticas: Women Writers and Subjectivity in Spain, 1835-1850 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 57.

34. Enrique Pérez Escrich, "La mujer de Valencia," in Las mujeres españolas , ed. Guijarro, 2:459.

35. Fernando de Castro, Discurso . . . en la inauguración de las conferencias dominicales para la educación de la mujer (Madrid: Rivadeneyra, 1869), 6.

36. Quoted in Criado y Domínguez, Literatas españolas , 37. Accent usage in the nineteenth century was more free than it is now. I have not modernized diacritics and spelling but have simply followed my sources throughout.

37. William Acton, The Functions and Disorders of the Reproductive Organs , 4th ed. (London, 1865), 112. Quoted in Laqueur, Making Sex , 196. The physician Pedro Felipe Monlau echoes this opinion in his Higiene del matrimonio, o el libro de los casados (Paris: Garnier, 1865), 180: "el instinto genésico es más imperioso en el hombre que en la mujer . . . de ahí que la continencia sea más fácil en ésta que en aquél" (the reproductive instinct is more powerful in man than in woman . . . thus continence is easier for her than for him).

38. In the 1870s medical practitioners tried to control what they considered to be excessive or abnormal female desire by performing ovariotomies and clitoridectomies on women.

39. Cánovas del Castillo, prologue to Las mujeres españolas , 1:xiii; F. de Alvaro, "De la castidad conyugal," La Guirnalda 10, no. 6 (20 March 1876): 43.

40. Fraser Harrison, The Dark Angel: Aspects of Victorian Sexuality (London: Sheldon Press, 1977), 42.

41. María del Pilar Sinués de Marco, Verdades dulces y amargas: Páginas para la mujer (Madrid: Viuda e hijos de J. A. García, 1882), 202-3.

42. Leopoldo Martínez Reguera, La mujer en su origen y organización es más perfecta que el hombre (Madrid: M. Romero, 1882), 49.

43. Barbara Taylor, Eve and the New Jerusalem: Socialism and Feminism in the Nineteenth Century (New York: Pantheon, 1983), 126.

44. Escartín y Lartiga, "El triunfo de la anarquía," 65.

45. Saturnino Estéban Collantes, "La mujer de Palencia," in Las mujeres españolas , ed. Guijarro, 2:271.

46. María del Pilar Sinués de Marco, La mujer en nuestros días: Obra dedicada a las madres y a las hijas de familia (Madrid: Agustín Jubera, 1878), 217.

47. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 36-37.

48. Pérez Escrich, "La mujer de Valencia," 2:459.

49. Elizabeth Langland, "Nobody's Angels: Domestic Ideology and Middle-Class Women in the Victorian Novel," PMLA 107, no. 2 (1992): 291.

50. Sinués de Marco, El ángel del hogar , 1:240.

51. Augusto de Cueto, "La mujer de Guipúzcoa," in Las mujeres españolas , 1:432.

52. Martínez Reguera, La mujer , 27.

53. Mary Elizabeth Perry, Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990), 37-44.

54. Padre Claret, Instrucción que debe tener la mujer para desempeñar bien la misión que el todopoderoso le ha confiado (Barcelona: Librería Religiosa, 1862), 31.

55. Vizconde de San Javier, "La mujer de Teruel," in Las mujeres españolas , ed. Guijarro, 2:414.

56. José Sélgas y Carrasco, "La mujer de Murcia," in Las mujeres españolas , ed. Guijarro, 2:201.

57. See for example Narciso Gay y Beya, who vilified the proponents of female emancipation in La mujer en su pasado, su presente y su porvenir: Memoria leída en la sesión pública de la sociedad filomática el día 6 de enero de 1857 (Barcelona: Administración del Plus Ultra, 1857), 23.

58. Sinués de Marco, El ángel hogar , 2:259-60.

59. María Dolores Torres Natria, "El feminismo," La Escuela Moderna 84 (1898): 178-87.

60. Sélgas y Carrasco, "La mujer de Murcia," 2:215.

61. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 64.

62. Discussed by María Victoria López-Cordón Cortezo, "La situación de la mujer a finales del antiguo régimen (1760-1860)," in Mujer y sociedad en España 1700-1975 , ed. Rosa María Capel Martínez (Madrid: Ministerio de Cultura, 1982), 51.

63. Mary Poovey, The Proper Lady and the Woman Writer: Ideology as Style in the Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley, and Jane Austen (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).

64. Gregorio Martínez Sierra, "¿Qué deben estudiar las mujeres?" in Cartas a las mujeres (Madrid: Pueyo, 1916), 104. Alda Blanco argues convincingly that María Martínez Sierra was in fact the author of this and many other feminist essays which originally appeared under Gregorio's name (introduction to Una mujer por caminos de España , 3). Literacy rates are those mentioned in the Anuario Estadístico de España for 1915. Virginia Woolf, "Professions for Women," in Collected Essays (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1967), 2:286-87.

65. This point is cogently argued by Kirkpatrick in Las Románticas and also by María del Carmen Simón Palmer in "Escritoras españolas del siglo XIX o el miedo a la marginación," in Anales de literatura española de la Universidad de Alicante 2 (1983): 477-90.

66. Alda Blanco, "The Moral Imperative for Women Writers," Indiana Journal of Hispanic Literatures 2, no. 1 (Fall 1993): 100.

67. See Adolfo Perinat and María Isabel Marrades, Mujer, prensa y sociedad en España, 1800-1939 (Madrid: CIS, 1980); M. Roig Castellanos, La mujer y la prensa desde el siglo XVIII a nuestros días (Madrid: M. Roig, 1977); María del Carmen Simón Palmer, "Revistas españolas femeninas del siglo XIX," in Homenaje a don Agustín Millares Carlo (Las Palmas: Caja Insular de Ahorros de Gran Canaria, 1975), 1:401-45; Christine Stopp, "Woman as Represented and Discussed in the Popular and Periodical Literature of Spain in the Period 1860-1900" (D.Phil. thesis, Oxford University, 1984).

68. Alicia Andreu, "Arte y consumo: Angela Grassi y 'El Correo de la Moda,' " Nuevo Hispanismo 1 (1982): 123-35.

69. See my essay "María del Pilar Sinués de Marco," in Spanish Women Writers: A Biobibliographical Sourcebook , ed. Linda Gould Levine, Ellen Engel-

      son Marson, and Gloria Feinman Waldman, 473-83 (Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1993).

70. Faustina Sáez de Melgar, Las mujeres españolas, americanas y lusitanas pintadas por sí mismas (Barcelona: Juan Pons, 1881), vii.

71. See the introduction to Grassi's novel El copo de nieve (Madrid: Castalia, 1992), by Iñigo Sánchez Llama, for more information on her life and work.

72. Faustina Sáez de Melgar, quoted by Criado y Domínguez in Literatas españolas , 61.

73. Quoted by Joaquín Nin y Tudó, Para la mujer: Hermosa colección de pensamientos, máximas, sentencias y escritos (Barcelona: J. Miret, 1881), 160.

74. Sarah Ellis, The Women of England (1838), quoted in Françoise Basch, Relative Creatures: Victorian Women in Society and the Novel , 1837-67 (London: Allen Lane, 1974), 5.

75. Gimeno de Flaquer quotes Michelet to the effect that "la niña . . . vivirá para los otros" (the little girl . . . will live for others) ( La mujer española , 252).

76. W. R. Greg, quoted by Basch in Relative Creatures , 5.

77. Faustina Sáez de Melgar, Deberes de la mujer: Colección de artículos sobre la educación (Madrid: R. Vicente, 1866), 21. María del Pilar Sinués de Marco, Hija, esposa y madre: Cartas dedicadas a la mujer acerca de sus deberes para con la familia y la sociedad , 5th ed. (Madrid: Librería General de Victoriano Suárez, 1904), 112.

78. Castro, Discurso , 11. The strategy is discussed by Judith Lowder Newton in Women, Power, and Subversion: Social Strategies in British Fiction, 1778-1860 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1981).

79. See López-Cordón Cortezo, "La situación de la mujer."

80. Quoted in Russett, Sexual Science , 32.

81. James McGrigor Allan, quoted in Russett, Sexual Science , 55.

82. See Nina Auerbach, Woman and the Demon: The Life of a Victorian Myth (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1982), 70-71.

83. Florence Nightingale, Cassandra , ed. Myra Stark (New York: Feminist Press, 1979), 50.

84. Gregorio Martínez Sierra, Nuevas cartas a las mujeres (Madrid, 1932), 176. Quoted in Alda Blanco, ed., María Martínez Sierra: Una mujer por caminos de España (Madrid: Castalia, 1989), 32. Blanco believes this essay was written by María Martínez Sierra.

85. Emilia Pardo Bazán, "La educación del hombre y la de la mujer: sus relaciones y diferencias," in La mujer española , ed. Leda Schiavo (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1981), 74-75; Concepción Arenal, La mujer de su casa (Madrid: Gras y Compañía, 1883), 53, 14, 82, and 20.

86. Kathryn Weibel, Mirror, Mirror: Images of Women Reflected in Popular Culture (New York: Anchor Books, 1977), 186, 176.

87. Langland, "Nobody's Angels," 294.

88. Carl Köhler, A History of Costume (New York: Dover, 1963), 431.

89. Duncan Crow, The Victorian Woman (London: Allen and Unwin, 1971), 27. Bonnie Smith maintains that the ballooning skirts, corsets, and bustles of mid- and late-Victorian fashions created an illusion that the wearer was pregnant or lactating ( Ladies of the Leisure Class , 78); Helene Roberts stresses the re-

      strictive nature of such dress in "The Exquisite Slave: The Role of Clothes in the Making of the Victorian Woman," Signs 2, no. 3 (1977): 557-58.

90. Fraser Harrison, The Dark Angel: Aspects of Victorian Sexuality (London: Sheldon Press, 1977), 229. As Rendall points out in The Origins of Modern Feminism , nineteenth-century constructions of the promiscuity of the poor also applied to those of other races; she reminds us of middle-class white Americans' belief in the unrestrained nature of black sexuality (196).

91. Sarah Ellis, quoted in Laqueur, Making Sex , 204.

92. Two celebrated examples of this in Spain were Concepción Arenal, who worked on prison reform, and Concepción Aleixandre, who worked as a doctor at Madrid's Hospital de la Princesa in the 1880s and 1890s.

93. Nancy Cott, "Passionlessness: An interpretation of Victorian Sexual Ideology," Signs 4, no. 2 (1978): 219-36; Barbara Corrado Pope, "Angels in the Devil's Workshop: Leisured and Charitable Women in Nineteenth-Century England and France," in Becoming Visible: Women in European History , ed. Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 296-326.

2— Galdós and the Woman Question

1. Jerónimo Morán, "Consejos," La Guirnalda 1, no. 1 (1 January 1867): 1-2.

2. Martina Castells, "Educación de la mujer," La Madre y el Niño 1 (1883): 21.

3. Brian Dendle shows how Galdós as contributor and editor defended conservative policies such as the strong role of the military in Spanish life, the brutal repression in Cuba, and bourgeois control of the working class, in his article "Albareda, Galdós, and the Revista de España (1868-1873)," in La Revolución de 1868: Historia, pensamiento, literatura , ed. Clara Lida and Iris Zavala (New York: Las Americas, 1970), 362-77.

4. Urbano González Serrano, "Una cuestión de actualidad," Revista de España 29, no. 115 (1872): 355, 352, 347.

5. Unpublished letter from María del Pilar Sinués de Marco to Galdós, 19 March 1872. Held in the Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. Sig a 14.54.59. The letter is catalogued as dating from 1912, which is impossible since Sinués died in 1893.

6. "Revista de la Semana" (19 January 1868), in Los artículos de Galdós en La Nación, ed. W. H. Shoemaker (Madrid: Insula, 1972), 386-87. This attitude seems to inspire the biting satire of the ludicrous and vaporous poet Pepita Sanahuja in El audaz (1871), creator of sickly pastoral verses, characterized as "lo que hoy designamos con la palabra romántica ; pero como entonces no existía el romanticismo, la sobreexcitación cerebral de la joven Sanahuja se alimentaba de interminables deliquios, en que todos los campos se le antojaban Arcadias" (what today we refer to as romantic ; but since at that time romanticism didn't exist, Miss Sanahuja's overheated brain was fed with interminable delusions, in which she would fancy that every field was an Arcadia [379]).

7. "El primero de mayo," in Ensayos de crítica literaria , ed. Laureano Bonet (Barcelona: Península, 1990), 167.

8. Concepción Sáiz de Otero, La revolución del 68 y la cultura femenina (Apuntes del natural): Un episodio nacional que no escribió Pérez Galdós (Madrid: Victoriano Suárez, 1929).

9. "La rosa y la camelia" (10 March 1866 and 13 March 1866), in Los artículos de Galdós en La Nación, 301.

10. Benito Pérez Galdós, "El suplicio de una mujer" (3 December 1865), in Los artículos de Galdós en La Nación, 227-28.

11. First published as Las españolas pintadas por los españoles , 2 vols., ed. Roberto Robert. Reprinted as Mujeres españolas del siglo XIX (Madrid: Ediciones Atlas, 1944). Citations are from the latter edition.

12. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Revista de Madrid" (17 December 1865), in Los artículos de Galdós en La Nación, 245.

13. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Discurso de Pérez Galdós," El Imparcial , 21 December 1905, 3.

14. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Confusiones y paradojas" (1893), in Obras inéditas , vol. 2, Arte y crítica , ed. Alberto Ghiraldo (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1923), 194-95.

15. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Confusiones y paradojas," 2:189.

16. Galdós, "La enseñanza superior en España," in Obras inéditas , vol. 2, Arte y crítica , ed. Alberto Ghiraldo (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1923), 245; emphasis added.

17. Reprinted in José Pérez Vidal, ed., Benito Pérez Galdós: Madrid (Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado, 1957), 223-49. Sections of this important essay are available in an English translation by Nick Caistor in Jo Labanyi, ed., Galdós (London: Longman, 1993), 29-34. Wherever possible I use Caistor's translations.

18. I discuss the new genre in "Disinheriting the Feminine: Galdós and the Rise of the Realist Novel in Spain," Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 27, no. 2 (1993): 225-48.

19. Leopoldo Alas, who launches a comprehensive attack on women writers as incompetent ("ninguna mujer ha escrito una obra de primera orden" [no woman has written a first-rate work]) as well as ugly, and ultimately unnatural, writes that "dejar el eterno femenino para escribir folletines, críticas de pacotilla, versos como otros cualesquiera, novelas y librejos de moralidad convencional, repugna a la naturaleza" (it is an insult to nature to abandon the Eternal Feminine to write hack novels, shoddy criticism, pedestrian poetry, and novels and tomes full of trite moralizing) ("Las literatas," La Unión 248 [17 June 1879], reprinted in Clarín político , ed. Yvan Lissorgues [Toulouse: Université de Toulouse, 1980], 1:123; original emphasis).

20. See Alicia Andreu, "Un model literario en la vida de Isidora Rufete," Anales Galdosianos , Anejo 15 (1980): 9. Andreu's reedition of the Sáez de Melgar novel occupies the rest of the journal.

21. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Conferencias de Emilia Pardo Bazán en el Ateneo" (1887), in Obras inéditas , vol. 2, Arte y crítica , ed. Alberto Ghiraldo (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1923), 204.

22. Galdós, who never married, perhaps resembled the lust-driven, spendthrift bourgeois men he often unflatteringly portrayed in his novels. His pen-

      chant for mistresses meant that he was constantly afflicted with money problems. His friend and servant declared, for example, that "Don Benito vivió a rastras de los prestamistas. . . . ¡No he conocido hombre más faldero! Aquí un lío, allá otro. Si no trajo al mundo diez o doce hijos naturales, no trajo ninguno" (Don Benito was always being harried by moneylenders. . . . I've never known such a womanizer! An affair here, another there. I'm telling you, he must have fathered ten or twelve illegitimate children) (in W. H. Shoemaker, "¿Cómo era Galdós?," Anales Galdosianos 8 [1973]: 21).

23. Terry Eagleton, Criticism and Ideology (London: Verso, 1978), 59.

24. Terry Lovell, Consuming Fiction (London: Verso, 1987), 2, 29.

3— Suffering Women

1. José Montesinos's comments on Gloria are a good example. See his Galdós (Madrid: Castalia, 1968), 1:193-94.

2. Nancy K. Miller, The Heroine's Text: Readings in the French and English Novel, 1722-1782 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1980), xi. In the dysphoric plot, as Alicia Andreu remarks in Galdós y la literatura popular (Madrid: Sociedad General Española de Librería, 1982), social ostracism or death usually followed a heroine's fall from virtue (65-66).

3. Stephen Gilman, Galdós and the Art of the European Novel, 1867-1887 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 39.

4. Walter Pattison, in " La Fontana de Oro : Its Early History," Anales Galdosianos 15 (1980): 5-9, shows that the commonly accepted "happy ending" version of the novel supposedly published in 1870 is a fake, and that the real first edition, with a tragic ending, appeared in 1871.

5. Benito Pérez Galdós, La Fontana de Oro , in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1981), 1:63. An English translation of this novel has been done by Walter Rubin, The Golden Fountain Café (Pittsburgh: Latin American Literary Review Press, 1989).

6. Benito Pérez Galdós, Rosalía , ed. Alan Smith (Madrid: Cátedra, 1983). Smith estimates that this manuscript was probably written around 1872.

7. Citations from Gloria come from Galdós's Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1981), vol. 1. Translations are my own.

8. Leopoldo Alas, Galdós (Madrid: Renacimiento, 1912), 1:52.

9. Lorenz Eitner, "Cages, Prisons, and Captives in Eighteenth-Century Art," in Images of Romanticism: Verbal and Visual Affinities , ed. Karl Kroeber and William Walling (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978), 13-38. Susan Kirkpatrick republishes the poems by Coronado and Gómez de Avellaneda in Las Románticas: Women Writers and Subjectivity in Spain, 1835-1850 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989), 187-88, 196-98, and appendix. Lisa P. Condé discusses the feminist implications of the bird imagery in Gloria in Stages in the Development of a Feminist Consciousness in Pérez Galdós (1843-1920): A Biographical Sketch (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1990), 48-70, which appeared after this chapter was written. The information on Galdós's

      paper birds comes from H. Chonon Berkowitz, Pérez Galdós: Spanish Liberal Crusader (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1948), 56-57.

10. Alicia Andreu, Galdós y la literatura popular (Madrid: Sociedad General Española de Librería, 1982), 19.

11. For Menéndez y Pelayo, Gloria is "una bas-bleu , garrula y atarascada , librepensadora cursi, que ha leído La Celestina y discute luego sobre el latitudinarismo, y cae luego (ni era de suponer otra cosa con tales antecedentes) en brazos del primer judío . . . que se le pone delante" (an opinionated and promiscuous bluestocking, a pretentious freethinker, who has read La Celestina and argues about latitudinarianism, and then falls into the arms of the first Jew . . . who shows up [as one might have expected given her background]) (Marcelino Menéndez y Pelayo, Historia de los heterodoxos españoles [1882; Madrid: Editorial Católica, 1956], 2:1172; original emphasis).

12. Galdós came under pressure to change course during the writing of Gloria . When part 1 appeared in January 1877, the author was accused by Pereda of anti-Catholicism, a charge repeated later by Menéndez y Pelayo. Galdós was sincerely distressed by Pereda's attack and expended considerable effort refuting it in his letters, edited by Carmen Bravo-Villasante in "Veintiocho cartas de Galdós a Pereda," Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 250-52 (1970-1971): 9-51. Galdós consciously set out to make part 2 more acceptable (15). One of Pereda's specific complaints was that Galdós's characterization was morally unacceptable (Soledad Ortega, Cartas a Galdós [Madrid: Revista de Occidente, 1964], 51). Since the figure of the ángel del hogar was such a central part of the Catholic traditionalists' view of what should be presented in literature, we might feasibly attribute the change in the characterization of the heroine to Galdós's desire not to be seen as undermining Catholicism. To reverse the novel's liberal feminist ideology by having the heroine develop into a loving, suffering, angelic victim was perhaps Galdós's way of mitigating the novel's challenge to religious orthodoxy.

13. Jules Michelet, Woman , trans. J. W. Palmer (New York, 1860), 50, 81.

14. Richard Barickman, Susan MacDonald, and Myra Stark, Corrupt Relations: Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, Collins, and the Victorian Sexual System (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), 246.

15. On Galdós's relations with Krausism, see Denah Lida, "Sobre el 'krausismo' de Galdós," Anales Galdosianos 2 (1967): 1-27; Juan López-Morillas, "Galdós y el krausismo: La familia de León Roch ," Revista de Occidente 60 (1968): 331-57; José Luis Gómez Martínez, "Galdós y el krausismo español," Nueva Revista de Filología Hispánica 32, no. 1 (1983): 55-79; Elena de Jongh-Rossel, El krausismo y la generación de 1898 (Valencia: Albatros Hispanófila, 1985), 65-73.

16. The most accessible studies of Krausism are Jongh-Rossel's El krausismo y la generación de 1898 , and Juan López-Morillas, El krausismo español: Perfil de una aventura intelectual (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1956).

17. Page citations are to Benito Pérez Galdós, La familia de León Roch , in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1981), vol. 1. Translations are mine.

18. Benito Pérez Galdós, "Observaciones sobre la novela contemporánea en España" in Benito Pérez Galdós: Madrid , ed. José Pérez Vidal (Madrid: Afrodisio Aguado, 1957), 235-37.

19. María Victoria López-Cordon, "La literatura religiosa y moral como conformadora de la mentalidad femenina (1760-1860)," La mujer en la historia de España (siglos XVI-XX) (Madrid: Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 1984), 69; Padre Claret, Instruccion que debe tener la mujer para desempeñar bien la mision que el todopoderoso le ha confiado (Barcelona, 1862), 20-21. For a parallel to the situation in France see Bonnie Smith, Ladies of the Leisure Class (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981), 94.

20. Jules Michelet, Le Prêtre, la femme, et la famille (Paris, 1861), 2; original emphasis.

21. Karl Christian Friedrich von Krause, Ideal de la humanidad para la vida , 2d ed., introd. Julián Sanz del Río (Madrid, 1871), 44, 58.

22. See the excellent groundbreaking discussion of Krausism and women by Giuliana di Febo, "Orígenes del debate feminista en España: La escuela krausista y la Institución Libre de Enseñanza (1870-1890)," Sistema 12 (1976): 49-82.

23. Krause, Ideal , 94.

24. Gumersindo de Azcárate, Minuta de un testamento (Barcelona: Edns. de Cultura Popular, 1967), 227, 244-45.

25. Vicente Cacho Viu, La Institución Libre de Enseñanza: Orígenes y etapa universitaria (Madrid: Rialp, 1962), 1:5.

26. Azcárate, Minuta , 177-78.

27. Jongh-Rossel, El krausismo , 13, 66.

28. Krause's views on sexual equality appear in Ideal , 93. Aristotle laid the basis for western civilization's construction of gender by equating the formative artist with masculinity and pliant matter of creation with femininity: "the female always provides the material, the male provides that which fashions the material into shape; this is, in our view, the specific characteristic of each of the sexes; that is what it means to be male or female" (Aristotle, On the Generation of Animals , ed. A. L. Peck [London: Heinemann, 1931], 2:4, 738b). For feminist interpretations of the history of this idea see Marina Warner, Monuments and Maidens: The Allegory of the Female Form (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1985); and Susan Gubar, "'The Blank Page' and the Issues of Female Creativity," Critical Inquiry 8, no. 2 (1981): 243-63. One of the many to reiterate this view was St. Isidore of Seville, whose sixth-century Etymologiae falsely derived the very word for "woman" ( mulier ) from the notion of softness ( a mollitie ) (Warner, Monuments , 65).

29. Jules Michelet, L'amour (Paris: Calmann-Lévy Editeurs, 1910), 85-86.

30. Bridget Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1991), 75.

31. Benito Pérez Galdós, "La mujer del filósofo," in Mujeres españolas del siglo XIX , ed. Roberto Robert (Madrid: Atlas, 1944), 36-37. Repr. from Las españolas pintadas por los españoles (Madrid, 1871-1872).

32. Francisco Giner de los Ríos, "Sobre La familia de León Roch ," in Benito Pérez Galdós , ed. Douglass M. Rogers (Madrid: Taurus, 1979), 257-58. Leo-

      poldo Alas, Sólos de Clarín , 2d ed. (Madrid: Alfredo de Carlos Hierro, 1881), 183; original emphasis.

33. Azcárate, Minuta , 108.

34. Clarín depicts Ana Ozores's mysticism as intertwined with sensuality in La Regenta (1884-1885), as does Palacio Valdés in the characters María de Elorza of Marta y María (1883) and Obdulia of La fe (1892). Interestingly, Galdós suggested the title of Marta y María , which inverts the Biblical paradigm by valuing domesticity over religiosity in women.

35. Naomi Schor, Breaking the Chain: Women, Theory, and French Realist Fiction (New York: Columbia University Press, 1985), 44-45. Commenting on the prevalence of imagery of women as marble or stone figures in Zola, Flaubert and Balzac, she argues provocatively if somewhat enigmatically that it constitutes a "hieratic code" and hypothesizes that "realism . . . draws its momentum from the representation of bound women, and that binding implicitly recognizes women's energy and the patriarchal order's dependence on it for the production of literature" (144).

36. John W. Kronik, "Feijoo and the Fabrication of Fortunata," in Conflicting Realities: Four Readings of a Chapter by Pérez Galdós (Fortunata y Jacinta, Part III, Chapter IV ), ed. Peter B. Goldman (London: Tamesis, 1984), 57; Noël Valis, "Art, Memory, and the Human in Galdos'[Galdós'] Tristana," Kentucky Romance Quarterly 31, no. 2 (1984): 209.

37. Lida, "Sobre el 'krausismo,' " 21.

4— Struggling with the Angel

1. The distinction was one that even contemporary commentators were making. "Gregorio" Martínez Sierra wrote in a perceptive 1905 essay on Galdós that while his first works were didactic, the author had later become a "sutil y sagaz escudriñador de complicadas psicologías" (subtle and wise observer of complicated psychologies) ("Benito Pérez Galdós," in Motivos [Paris: Garnier, 1905], 39-40).

2. Orlando, "Revista literaria: Lo prohibido de Pérez Galdós," Revista de España 104, no. 414 (1885): 299.

3. One late-eighteenth-century tract went so far as to propose a revival of the sumptuary laws, in the form of a national female uniform, to deal with the growing problem of feminine luxury, which it saw as a threat to the national economy through the acquisition of clothing from foreign rather than domestic sources ( Discurso sobre el luxô de las señoras, y proyecto de un trage nacional [Madrid: Imprenta Real, 1788]).

4. Bridget Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1991), 88. Aldaraca's study appeared after I had written my own analysis of the topic of el lujo .

5. Francisco Alonso y Rubio, La mujer bajo el punto de vista filosófico, social y moral: Sus deberes en relacion con la familia y la sociedad (Madrid: Gamayo, 1863), 148.

6. Terry Lovell, Consuming Fiction (London: Verso, 1987), 30.

7. Werner Sombart, Luxury and Capitalism (1917; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1967), 171.

8. Alonso y Rubio, La mujer , 149.

9. Angel María Segovia, ''Del lujo," fourth lecture in Conferencias Dominicales sobre la educacion de la mujer (Madrid: Rivadeneyra, 1869), 12.

10. María del Pilar Sinués de Marco, "El lujo," Flores y Perlas 1, no. 2 (15 March 1883): 1.

11. Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978), 5, 62.

12. Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1990), 229. Krafft-Ebing's influential Psychopathia Sexualis (1889), for example, catalogued a number of new perversions such as nymphomania and homosexuality. Medical practitioners in the 1870s attempted to control excessive desire in "oversexed" women by constructing devices to prevent masturbation and performing ovariotomies or clitoridectomies on such patients.

13. Laqueur, Making Sex , 232.

14. Alda Blanco and Carlos Blanco Aguinaga, introduction to their edition of Benito Pérez Galdós: La de Bringas (Madrid: Cátedra, 1985), 44.

15. This reading is most powerfully presented by Peter Bly, Galdós's Novel of the Historical Imagination (Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1983), 66-67.

16. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 91.

17. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 175.

18. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 105.

19. This point has been cogently made by Luisa-Elena Delgado; "Más estragos que las revoluciones: Lo ornamental como construcción de la feminidad en La de Bringas ," paper given at the Midwest Modern Language Association convention, St. Louis, November 1992. Delgado also links the concepts of feminine disorder and revolution, as I do here.

20. Aldaraca, El ángel del hogar , 34.

21. The letter in question was printed in La Nación in 1884; in it Galdós is discussing a ball given by the duke and duchess of Fernán-Nuñez (Peter Bly, "From Disorder to Order: The Pattern of Arreglar References in Galdos'[Galdós'] Tormento and La de Bringas ," Neophilologus 62 [1978]: 405).

22. See my essay "Disinheriting the Feminine: Galdós and the Rise of the Realist Novel in Spain," Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 27. no. 2 (1993): 225-48.

23. Teresa de Lauretis, Technologies of Gender: Essays on Theory, Film, and Fiction (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1987), 3.

24. Geraldine Scanlon, "Nuevos horizontes culturales: La evolución de la educación de la mujer en España 1868-1900," in Mujer y educación en España, 1868-1975 (Santiago: Universidade de Santiago, 1990), 727.

25. Page numbers refer to Benito Pérez Galdós, El amigo Manso in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1981), vol. 1. Translations are taken from Robert Russell, Our Friend Manso (New York: Columbia University Press, 1987).

26. La Discusión , 4 December 1857, 3; Angel Pulido, Bosquejos médico-sociales para la mujer (Madrid: Sáiz, 1874), 26.

27. The equation between the model woman and the honeybee was often drawn. In Antonio Pirala's popular book El libro de oro de las niñas (3d ed., Madrid, 1853), for example, the author declares that "lejos de mí la idea de dar á la mujer la educacion escolástica que al hombre; todo lo contrario, debe enseñársela á ser mujer; previsora como la hormiga, laboriosa como la abeja" (I reject the notion of giving a scholarly education to woman as to man; on the contrary, she should be taught to be a woman; prudent as the ant, industrious as the honeybee [59]).

28. Concepción Sáiz, Un episodio national que no escribió Pérez Galdós: La revolución del 68 y la cultura femenina . (Madrid: Victoriano Suárez, 1929), 17.

29. Congreso nacional pedagógico, Actas (Madrid: Hernando, 1882).

30. Joaquín Sánchez de Toca, El matrimonio (Madrid: A. de Carlos é hijo, 1875), 2:14.

31. Scanlon, "Nuevos horizontes culturales," 721-40.

32. Those who argue for a positive reading of Fortunata's trajectory are Stephen Gilman, in "The Birth of Fortunata," Anales Galdosianos 1 (1966): 71-83, and in Galdós and the Art of the European Novel: 1867-1887 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981); Peter B. Goldman, "Feijoo and Mr Singer: Notes on the aburguesamiento of Fortunata," Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 9 (1982): 105-114; Geoffrey Ribbans, Fortunata y Jacinta (London: Grant and Cutler, 1977); and John H. Sinnigen, "Individual, Class, and Society in Fortunata y Jacinta ," in Galdós Studies II, ed. Robert J. Weber (London: Tamesis, 1974), 49-68. Those who argue the opposing tragic view of the heroine's fate are Carlos Blanco Aguinaga, "Having No Option: The Restoration of Order and the Education of Fortunata,'' in Conflicting Realities: Four Readings of a Chapter by Pérez Galdós (Fortunata y Jacinta, Part III, Chapter IV ), ed. Peter B. Goldman (London: Tamesis, 1984), 13-38; Julio Rodríguez-Puértolas, Galdós: Burguesía y revolución (Madrid: Turner, 1975); and Anthony Zahareas, "El sentido de la tragedia en Fortunata y Jacinta ," Anales Galdosianos 3 (1968): 25-34.

33. Stephen Gilman speaks in "Feminine and Masculine Consciousness in Fortunata y Jacinta " ( Anales Galdosianos 17 [1982]: 63-70) of her "self-proclaimed spiritual metamorphosis" (64), while John Kronik defines an angel as "pure and everlasting spirit" in his essay "Feijoo and the Fabrication of Fortunata" in Conflicting Realities (68); and Sinnigen says that Fortunata is "tied to religious vocabulary on her death" ("Individual, Class, and Society," 66).

34. Page references to the original text are taken from Francisco Caudet's two-volume edition of the novel (Madrid: Cátedra, 1983). Translations are from Agnés Moncy Gullón's Fortunata and Jacinta: Two Stories of Married Women (New York: Viking, 1987). Mercedes López-Baralt's fascinating study, La gestación de Fortunata y Jacinta: Galdós y la novela como re-escritura (Río Piedras: Ediciones Huracán, 1992), shows that there is a marked difference between the alpha and beta manuscripts of the novel: in the alpha version, Jacinta is extremely voluptuous, but in beta she is transformed into the deli-

      cate, doll-like creature of the published version and the emphasis on sexuality has shifted to Fortunata (60-61).

35. One has only to think of Fortunata's first appearance, rapturously eating a slimy raw egg, or Juanito's memory of her nursing pigeon chicks in her bosom. The bird imagery was originally noted by Gilman in "The Birth," and examined in further detail by Roger Utt, " 'El pájaro voló': Observaciones sobre un leitmotif en Fortunata y Jacinta ," Anales Galdosianos 9 (1974): 37-50; by Agnes Moncy Gullón, "The Bird Motif and the Introductory Motif: Structure in Fortunata y Jacinta ," Anales Galdosianos 9 (1974): 51-75; and by Stephen Hart, "Galdós's Fortunata y Jacinta : An 'Inoffensive Hen'?" Forum for Modern Language Studies 22 (1986): 342-53. Marxist critics such as Caudet interpret the bird imagery as symbolizing the oppression of the working-class Fortunata by Juanito and other members of the bourgeoisie (introduction to Fortunata y Jacinta , 81).

36. Ricardo Gullón, "Estructura: La polaridad complementaria," Técnicas de Galdós (Madrid: Taurus, 1980), 144.

37. Harriet S. Turner, "Family Ties and Tyrannies: A Reassessment of Jacinta," Hispanic Review 51 (1983): 19-21.

38. Catherine Belsey, Critical Practice (New York: Methuen, 1980), 92.

39. Carlos Blanco Aguinaga, "On 'The Birth of Fortunata,' " Anales Galdosianos 3 (1968): 13-24. One of the semantic quirks of the term mona leads us back to the bird and egg imagery so prevalent in the novel: monas (de Pascua) are cakes baked with whole eggs on top.

40. Padre Nones and Guillermina believe that Fortunata's statement cannot be treated seriously. But Guillermina has, all along, told Fortunata that she is out of her mind whenever she makes statements that threaten the bourgeois status quo, even at points when she is clearly lucid (e.g., 2:490, 508).

41. Blanco Aguinaga, "Having No Option," 32; Caudet, introduction to Fortunata y Jacinta , 69.

42. Villalonga (1:433), Juanito (1:690, 693), and Guillermina (2:251) each liken the lower classes to a cantera (stone quarry) that supplies the raw materials of civilization, a notion seconded here by the narrator: "el pueblo . . . conserva las ideas y los sentimientos elementales en su tosca plenitud, como la cantera contiene el mármol, materia de la forma. El pueblo posee las verdades grandes y en bloque, y a él acude la civilización conforme se le van gastando las menudas, de que vive" (the common people . . . conserve basic ideas and feelings in their raw fullness, just as a quarry contains marble, the material for forms. The pueblo possesses truth in great blocks, and civilization, when it uses up the smaller pieces it lives on, goes back to the pueblo for more [2:251]).

43. See John H. Sinnigen, "Sexo y clase social en Fortunata y Jacinta : Opresión, represión, expresión," Anales Galdosianos 12 (1987): 53-70. Sinnigen points out that even though Jacinta's rebellious fantasies do not damage patriarchal order, the novel's ending celebrates the "feminine values" of relation and connection posited by Nancy Chodorow (64, 66).

44. Tony Tanner, Adultery in the Novel: Contract and Transgression (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979).

45. Susan Kirkpatrick, "More on the Narrator of Fortunata y Jacinta ," Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 9 (1982): 148.

5— Gender Trouble

1. Joaquín Sánchez de Toca, El matrimonio (Madrid: A. de Cárlos, 1875), 2:456.

2. Emilia Pardo Bazán, "Una opinión sobre la mujer" (first published March 1892), reprinted in La mujer española , ed. Leda Schiavo (Madrid: Editora Nacional, 1981), 156.

3. Carlos Blanco Aguinaga, Julio Rodríguez Puértolas, Iris Zavala, Historia social de la literatura española (Madrid: Castalia, 1987), 2:229.

4. Benito Pérez Galdós, "El primero de mayo," in Benito Pérez Galdós: Ensayos de crítica literaria , ed. Laureano Bonet (Barcelona: Península, 1990), 167; Bonet points out some confusion as to the date of this article and for the correct date suggests 1895, and not 1885 (57). The 1890 article by Galdós is "Confusiones y paradojas," in Arte y crítica , ed. Alberto Ghiraldo, 183.

5. The British scientists Patrick Geddes and J. Arthur Thomson published their widely quoted theory of female "anabolic" (or energy-conserving) versus male "katabolic" (or energy-burning) metabolisms and physiques in their first book, The Evolution of Sex , in 1889. The American Edward Clarke's Sex in Education; or, A Fair Chance for the Girls (1873) was one of the most famous works expounding the consequences of overtaxing the female bodily economy.

6. Susanna Barrows, Distorting Mirrors: Visions of the Crowd in Late Nineteenth-Century France (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1981), 58.

7. Alejandro Pidal y Mon, "El feminismo y la cultura de la mujer," La Ciudad de Dios 59 (1902): 645.

8. Nancy F. Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 14.

9. Adolfo Llanos, "Los Yankees: La mujer," La Ilustración Española y Americana , 8 July 1883, 11-14.

10. Pedro Felipe Monlau, Higiene del matrimonio (1853; Paris: Garnier, 1879), calls feminism "esa ridiculez insensata que, aun cuando cuenta con pocos partidarios, viene, sin embargo, reproduciéndose por intervalos en la esfera de la política" (12). El Liberal carried a piece by Miguel Moya ridiculing the national feminist conference in Palma de Mallorca, entitled "Congreso de mujeres," 31 July 1883, 3. In August 1881 the Catalan newpapers repeated a news item from El Imparcial on the upcoming Congreso Femenino Universal in Barcelona, both employing a satirical tone ( La Vanguardia , 1 August 1883, 5201; El Correo Catalán , 8 August 1883, 9).

11. "La víspera," La Ilustración de la Mujer , 1 August 1883, 34; in "O votos o rejas," 15 June 1883, the journal attacks the class basis of the notion of woman as an essentially and naturally fragile angel in the house by pointing to the fact that lower-class women habitually did backbreaking work.

12. "Esclavitud y derecho, ó sea, la emancipación de la mujer," Las Dominicales del Libre Pensamiento , 30 December 1883, 3.

13. Galdós, "El primero de mayo," 169.

14. See Rosa María Capel Martínez's excellent discussion of the conference, "La apertura del horizonte cultural femenino: Fernando de Castro y los congresos pedagógicos del siglo XIX," in Mujer y sociedad en España (1700-1975) , ed. R. M. Capel Martínez (Madrid: Ministerio de Cultura, 1982), 109-73.

15. See the illuminating discussion of these texts by Lou Charnon-Deutsch, The Nineteenth-Century Spanish Story: Textual Strategies of a Genre in Transition (London: Tamesis, 1985), 55-75.

16. Adolfo Posada, Feminismo (Madrid: Fernando Fé, 1899), 7-8.

17. Julio Alarcón y Meléndez, "Un feminismo aceptable," Razón y Fe 8 (January-April 1904): 447, 452; 9 (August 1904): 475.

18. Bram Dijkstra, Idols of Perversity: Fantasies of Feminine Evil in Fin-de-Siècle Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986).

19. Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil , trans. R. J. Hollingdale (1886; Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1973), 144.

20. Judith Ginsberg, Angel Ganivet (London: Tamesis, 1985), 50; Angel Ganivet, Cartas finlandesas (Madrid: Victoriano Suárez, 1905), 147.

21. Juan Valera, "Las mujeres y las academias: Cuestión social inocente," in Obras Completas (Madrid: Aguilar, 1949), 2:863-75; Leopoldo Alas, "Palique" (1891), in Clarín político , ed. Yvan Lissorgues (Toulouse: Université de Toulouse, 1980), 1:135.

22. See Carmen Bravo-Villasante, Cartas a Benito Pérez Galdós, 1889-1890 (Madrid: Turner, 1975).

23. See Walter T. Pattison, "Two Women in the Life of Galdós," Anales Galdosianos 8 (1973): 23-31; and Gilbert Smith, "Galdós, Tristana , and Letters from Concha-Ruth Morell," Anales Galdosianos 10 (1975): 91-120.

24. Concepción Arenal, La mujer de su casa (Madrid: Gras y Compañía, 1883), 88.

25. From Pardo Bazán's article "Tristana" (first published May 1892), in La mujer española , ed. Leda Schiavo, 141.

26. Alfred Rodríguez discusses some of the symbolic ramifications of the novel's title in "Un título y una protagonista," Anales Galdosianos 15 (1980): 129-30. It is notable too that Concha-Ruth Morell, whose letters, as Gilbert Smith shows, served as the model for parts of Tristana , signed herself "Tristóna" [ sic ] ("Galdós, Tristana , and Letters from Concha-Ruth Morell," 100).

27. Joaquín Casalduero, Vida y obra de Galdós, 1843-1920 (Madrid: Gredos, 1951); Leon Livingstone, "The Law of Nature and Women's Liberation in Tristana ," Anales Galdosianos 7 (1972): 93-100; Carmen Bravo-Villasante, Galdós visto por sí mismo (Madrid: Editorial Magisterio Español, 1970); and María del Prado Escobar, "Galdós y la educación de la mujer," in Actas del Segundo Congreso Internacional de Estudios Galdosianos (Las Palmas: Cabildo Insular de Gran Canarias, 1980), 2:165-82.

28. Edward Friedman, " 'Folly and a Woman': Galdos'[Galdós'] Rhetoric of Irony in Tristana ," in Theory and Practice of Feminist Literary Criticism , ed. Gabriela Mora and Karen S. Van Hooft (Ypsilanti, Mich.: Bilingual Press, 1982), 201-28; Ruth Schmidt, " Tristana and the Importance of Opportunity," Anales Galdosianos 9 (1974): 135-44; John H. Sinnigen, "Resistance and Rebellion in Tristana ," MLN 91 (1976): 277-91; Emilia Miró, " Tristana o la imposibilidad de ser," Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos 250-52 (1970-1971): 505-22; and Carlos Feal Deibe, " Tristana de Galdós: Capítulo en la historia de la liberación femenina,'' Sin Nombre 7 (1976): 116-29.

29. As Akiko Tsuchiya notes, "The narrator's inconsistent vision makes it difficult for the reader to arrive at a clear-cut vision about the character's (or the implied author's) 'feminism' or 'anti-feminism' as so many critics have attempted to do" ("The Struggle for Autonomy in Galdós's Tristana ," MLN 104, no. 2 [1989]: 347).

30. Page references are to Benito Pérez Galdós, Tristana , in Obras completas Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1982), vol. 3. Translations are mine.

31. Galdós's narrative at this point has much in common with nineteenth-century literature written by women. Annis Pratt writes that in the female Bildungsroman the heroine is typically "oppressed by a sense of enclosure and imprisonment," for "the novel of development portrays a world in which the young woman hero is destined for disappointment" ( Archetypal Patterns in Women's Fiction [Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981], 33, 29). This emphasis on the confinement and immobility attendant on the ideal of the domestic woman is much stressed in the writings of the Spanish feminists Emilia Pardo Bazán and Concepción Arenal. Pardo Bazán writes, for example, that the social construction of gender "encierra a la mitad del género humano en el círculo de hierro de la inmovilidad" ( La mujer española , 74-75).

32. The mother hen is another analogy for the womanly woman idealized by nineteenth-century bourgeoisie. Pardo Bazán, in an article written in 1892, explicitly refers to the ideology of domesticity as equating woman with a hen: "esa vieja tesis del destino de la mujer, identificado con el de la gallina sumisa y ponedera" ( La mujer española , 158-59).

33. Susan Sontag, Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1978), 11, 36, 22.

34. Sontag, Illness as Metaphor , 14.

35. Peter Goldman, "Galdós and the Aesthetic of Ambiguity: Notes on the Thematic Structure of Nazarín ," Anales Galdosianos 9 (1974), 99.

36. Feal Deibe, " Tristana de Galdós," 125.

37. George Orwell, "Charles Dickens," in The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell , ed. Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus (London: Secker and Warburg, 1968), 1:459.

38. Arenal, La mujer de su casa , 10.

39. Noël Valis, "Art, Memory, and the Human in Galdos'[Galdós'] Tristana ," Kentucky Romance Quarterly 31, no. 2 (1984): 217.

40. Virginia Woolf, "Professions for Women," in Virginia Woolf: Collected Essays (New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1967), 2:286-87.

41. Elaine Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle (New York: Viking, 1990), 11.

42. Casalduero, Vida y obra de Galdós ; Alexander Parker, " Nazarín , or the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ According to Galdós," Anales Galdosianos 2 (1967): 83-101; G. G. Minter, "Halma and the Writings of St. Augustine," Anales Galdosianos 13 (1978): 73-97; John H. Sinnigen, "The Search for a New Totality in Nazarín, Halma, Misericordia ," MLN 93, no. 2 (1978): 233-51.

43. Benito Pérez Galdós, Halma , in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1982), vol. 3. Translations are mine.

44. Sáinz de Robles, preface to Halma , 3:578.

45. Barbara Corrado Pope, "Angels in the Devil's Workshop: Leisured and Charitable Women in Nineteenth-century England and France," in Becoming Visible: Women in European History , ed. Renate Bridenthal and Claudia Koonz (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977), 296-326; and Anne Summers, "A Home from Home: Women's Philanthropical Work in the Nineteenth Century," in Fit Work for Women , ed. Sandra Burman (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979), 34-63.

46. Clarissa W. Atkinson, " 'Your Servant, My Mother': The Figure of Saint Monica in the Ideology of Christian Motherhood," in Immaculate and Powerful: The Female in Sacred Image and Social Reality , ed. C. Atkinson, Constance H. Buchanan, and Margaret R. Miles (Boston: Beacon Press, 1985), 159-62.

47. Minter, "Halma and the Writings," 84-85.

48. See John Ruskin's lecture on what he termed "woman's true place and power" ("Of Queen's Gardens," in Sesame and Lilies [London, 1864]). The metaphor of the wife as queen of the home is repeated by the Spanish conduct writers: Sinués de Marco observed that "la mujer en su casa, en medio de su familia . . . es la reina" (woman in her home, in the midst of her family . . . is a queen) ( El ángel del hogar , 2:395).

49. J. E. Varey, "Man and Nature in Galdó's Halma ," Anales Galdosianos 13 (1978): 71; Minter writes that "it is only when Urrea unites with her to form their family that Halma comes to terms with the world and has her spirituality complemented by his humanity so that she is thenceforth empowered to act constructively without temporal hindrance" ("Halma and the Writings," 91). Casalduero argues similarly in Vida y obra de Galdós , 124.

50. Juan P. Criado y Domínguez, Literatas españolas del siglo XIX: Apuntes bibliográficos (Madrid: Imprenta de Antonio Pérez Dubrull, 1889), 61.

51. For studies of the history of hysteria see Ilza Veith, Hysteria: The History of a Disease (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965); George F. Drinka, The Birth of Neurosis: Myth, Malady, and the Victorians (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1984); and Elaine Showalter, The Female Malady: Women, Madness, and English Culture, 1830-1980 (New York: Pantheon Books, 1985). The period 1870-1914 was, as Showalter puts it, "the golden age of hysteria"

      (130) with large numbers of middle-class women manifesting what Drinka describes as a "psychocultural disturbance" (150).

52. Varey speaks of Halma's acceptance of marriage as her coming "to realise her true path" ("Man and Nature," 69); Minter argues that Halma "has assumed a pontifical role for which she is imperfectly equipped" ("Halma and the Writings," 91) and that she is ''guilty of setting herself up in judgement" over Nazarín (8), who fortunately brings the novel to a resoundingly happy ending by correcting the countess's "earlier mistaken idea" (89).

53. Showalter, The Female Malady , 154.

54. The word frequently used to refer to Halma's institution, ínsula , is the same word used by don Quijote to describe the imaginary country he has promised to Sancho Panza. The intertextual echo here provides another indication that Halma's dreams are unrealistic.

55. James Mandrell notes in a perceptive analysis of Misericordia , a novel written soon after Halma , that far from "deconstructing" the binarisms it begins with, the work reinstitutes them, so that "Galdó's world is still Manichaean in outlook, although occasionally scrambled" (Paper presented at Modern Language Association convention, 28 December 1992).

56. Francie Cate, "El espacio novelesco y la creación simbólica: Un estudio de Halma ," Hispanic Journal 6, no. 2 (1985): 116.

57. Lou Charnon-Deutsch, "Gender-specific Roles in Pepita Jiménez ," Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 19, no. 2 (1985): 89.

58. Sinnigen, "The Search for a New Totality," 250.

59. Frederick DeRosset, " Nazarín and Halma : A Study of Ambiguity and Resolution" (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Kentucky, 1981), Dissertation Abstracts International 42, no. 2 (August 1981): 727A.

6— New Women

1. Michelle Perrot, "The New Eve and the Old Adam: Changes in French Women's Condition at the Turn of the Century," in Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars , ed. Margaret R. Higonnet, Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel, and Margaret C. Weitz (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1987), 52.

2. Urbano González Serrano, La amistad y el sexo: Cartas sobre la educación de la mujer por Adolfo Posada y Urbano González Serrano (Madrid: Fernando Fe, 1893), 24-25. In another piece entitled "Los derechos de la mujer" ( La Ilustración Española y Americana , 30 September 1896), Gónzalez Serrano associated feminism with socialism and anarchism and raised the spectre of countries such as Britain and Russia dominated by a "third sex" of monstrous spinsters.

3. Some of the more notable examples include George Gissing's Odd Women (1894), Grant Allen's Woman Who Did (1895), Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1895), and, of course, Galdó's own Tristana (1892).

4. Rata Felski, "The Counterdiscourse of the Feminine in Three Texts by Wilde, Huysmans, and Sacher-Masoch," PMLA 106, no. 5 (1991): 1094.

5. Damián Isern, Del desastre nacional y sus causas (1899), quoted in Enrique Tierno Galván, Costa y el regeneracionismo (Barcelona: Editorial Barna, 1961), 81.

6. Manuel Tuñón de Lara, Medio siglo de cultura española (1885-1936) , 3d ed. (Madrid: Tecnos, 1984), 57.

7. Both these concepts of Costa's are cited by Tuñón de Lara, Medio siglo de cultura española , 61.

8. Tierno Galván, Costa , 148, 91.

9. Tierno Galván, Costa , 238; Ricardo Macías Picavea, El problema nacional (Madrid: Suárez, 1899), 368-70.

10. Lucas Mallada, Los males de la patria y la futura revolución española (Madrid: Alianza, 1969), 56-58.

11. Benito Pérez Galdós, "La sociedad presente como materia novelable," in Benito Pérez Galdós: Ensayos de crítica literaria , ed. Laureano Bonet (Barcelona: Ediciones Península, 1990), 159.

12. Carmen Bravo-Villasante writes in Galdós (Madrid: Mondadori, 1988) that Galdós considered women's rights and workers' rights purely utopian until around 1895, at which point she believes that he became a feminist (88-89). Lisa Condé also sees the year 1895, with the staging of Voluntad , as Galdó's triumphant celebration of the new woman, arguing that the new heroine Isidora is modelled on Galdó's leading lady, María Guerrero ( Stages in the Development of a Feminist Consciousness in Pérez Galdós [1843-1920] [Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1990], 257, and Women in the Theatre of Galdós: From Realidad [1892] to Voluntad [1895] [Lewiston: Edwin Mellen, 1990]). The same broad line of argument is pursued by Josefina Acosta de Hess in Galdós y la novela de adulterio (Madrid: Pliegos, 1988), although she situates Galdós's conversion somewhat earlier, beginning in 1889 (88).

13. Maryellen Bieder, "El sacrificio: Tema y recurso dramático en la obra teatral de Benito Pérez Galdós, 1892-1903," in Actas del Tercer Congreso Internacional de Estudios Galdosianos (Las Palmas: Excmo. Cabildo Insular, 1989), 2:384.

14. Benito Pérez Galdós, La loca de la casa , in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1982), vol. 3. Translations are my own.

15. Angel del Río, "La significación de La loca de la casa ," in Estudios Galdosianos (Zaragoza: General, 1953), 37.

16. Bonnie Smith analyzes how, in northern France, women in the early phases of the rise of capitalist enterprise contributed to running the family business, a phenomenon that was phased out as women became more and more purely domestic ( Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the Nineteenth Century [Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981], 36, 49).

17. Galton's first work in the direction of eugenics began in 1869, with a book entitled Hereditary Genius .

18. Río, "La significación de La loca de la casa ," 44-45.

19. See Geraldine Scanlon, La polémica feminista en la España contemporánea, 1868-1974 (Madrid: Akal, 1986), 215-22.

20. E. Inman Fox, "Galdos'[Galdós'] Electra : A Detailed Study of its Historical Significance and the Polemic Between Martínez Ruiz and Maeztu," Anales Galdosianos 1 (1966): 137.

21. Page references are taken from Benito Pérez Galdós, Electra (Madrid: Hernando, 1981). Translations are mine.

22. Librada Hernández, "Electra y su Máximo: Galdós y la libertad de la mujer en Electra ," in Crítica Hispánica 15, no. 2 (1993).

23. See Librada Hernández for a more detailed version of this reading.

24. Julio Rodríguez-Puértolas, introduction to Benito Pérez Galdós, El caballero encantado (Madrid: Cátedra, 1982), 14. All citations from the novel will refer to this edition. Translations are mine.

25. H. Chonon Berkowitz, Pérez Galdós: Spanish Liberal Crusader (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1948), 204.

26. Rodríguez-Puértolas, 17. Although Rodríguez-Puértolas does not mention this, the pendulum was later to swing the other way again, and Galdós, who in 1912 began vainly seeking a rapprochement with the monarchy, would deny testily by 1915 that he had ever seen anything useful in Republicanism (Berkowitz, Pérez Galdós , 403, 446).

27. Scanlon, La polémica feminista , 232; she gives other examples of the phenomenon on 236-37 and 246.

28. Anne Martin-Fugier, La bourgeoise: Femme au temps de Paul Bourget (Paris: Grasset, 1983), 284.

29. Perrot, "The Old Adam and the New Eve," 57.

30. Martin-Fugier, La bourgeoise , 283.

31. Benito Pérez Galdós, prologue to Casandra , in Ensayos de crítica literaria , ed. Laureano Bonet (Barcelona: Ediciones Península, 1990), 193.

32. Diane Urey, The Novel Histories of Galdós (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1989), 156.

33. Noël Valis contests the view that the metafictional elements in Galdós signal his renunciation of historical signification ("Fabricating Culture in Cánovas ," MLN 107, no. 2 [1992]: 250-73).

34. Mallada, Los males de la patria , 42. Translation is mine.

35. Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 191-92.

36. Benito Pérez Galdós, La razón de la sinrazón , in Obras completas: Novelas , ed. Federico Carlos Sáinz de Robles (Madrid: Aguilar, 1982), vol. 3. Translations are mine.

37. Joaquín Costa, "Discurso en los Juegos Florales de Salamanca" (1901), in Joaquín Costa: Oligarquía y cacicismo, Colectivismo agrario y otros escritos (Antología) , ed. Rafael Pérez de la Dehesa (Madrid: Alianza, 1969), 217-18.


1. Roberto Sánchez, "Galdos'[Galdós'] Tristana , Anatomy of a 'Disappointment,' " Anales Galdosianos 12 (1977): 112.

2. John Kronik, "Feijoo and the Fabrication of Fortunata," Conflicting Realities: Four Readings of a Chapter by Pérez Galdós (Fortunata y Jacinta, Part III, Chapter IV ) (London: Tamesis, 1984), 39, 50.

3. Richard Barickman, Susan MacDonald, and Myra Stark, Corrupt Relations: Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, Collins, and the Victorian Sexual System (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), viii.

4. See Bridget Aldaraca's excellent chapter on Lo prohibido entitled "The Literary Creation of an Angel," in El ángel del hogar: Galdós and the Ideology of Domesticity in Spain (Chapel Hill: North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures, 1991).

5. Peter Bly, Vision and the Visual Arts in Galdós (Liverpool: Francis Cairns, 1986), 4.

6. Roland Barthes, Image, Music, Text , trans. Stephen Heath (New York: Hill and Wang, 1977), 146.

7. Mikhail Bakhtin, "Discourse in the Novel," The Dialogic Imagination , ed. Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981), 271, 299-300, 293.

8. The legislation of universal suffrage in 1890, for example, never mentioned women; the nineteenth-century educational programs proposing free, universal education for all Spanish children always laid out a different proposal for girls.

9. Alicia Andreu, Modelos dialógicos en la narrativa de Benito Pérez Galdós (Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1989).

10. The formulation that gender and class may operate together but are never a perfect fit is that of Leonore Davidoff and Catherine Hall, in Family Fortunes: Men and Women of the English Middle Class, 1780-1850 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987), 13.

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Abuelo, El (novel), 155 , 163

Adultery, 48 , 53 , 181 ;

in 18th century, 20 -21

Afrancesados , 19

Alas, Leopoldo (pseud. Clarín), 22 , 52 , 79 , 90 , 124 , 125

Albareda, José Luis, 96 , 102

Aldaraca, Bridget, 8 , 10 , 17 , 31 ;

on the concept of ángel del hogar , 16 , 2686 ,

on La de Bringas , 91 -3;

on luxury, 86 , 88

Alonso y Rubio, Francisco, 87 -8

Althusser, Louis, 4

Amigo Manso, El (novel):

themes of education in, 95 passim

Anarchism, 7 , 21

Ancien régime, 19 , 31 , 56

Andreu, Alicia, 8 , 10 , 33 , 52 , 181

Ángel del hogar . See Angels, women as

Ángel del hogar. El (novel). See Sinués de Marco, María del Pilar

Angel Guerra (novel):

compared to Halma , 153

Angels, women as:

asexuality of, 24 , 28 , 40 , 104 -5, 137 ;

and bourgeois ideology of domesticity, 8 , 11 , 35 -6, 77 , 182 ;

characteristics of, 16 , 20 , 25 , 26 -7, 30 , 41 , 70 , 106 ;

discourse and, 10 , 13 -4, 20 , 41 ;

fallen, 58 , 67 -70, 72 , 103 -19, 178 ;

in the novel, 60 , 62 , 99 , 147 , 159 -60;

as nurses and healers, 111 , 142 , 148 ;

in western iconography, 37 -8.

See also Birds and women

Anglo-American feminist criticism. See Criticism, feminist

Anticlericalism, 75 , 164 , 166 ;

in Galdós, 2 , 50 , 164 ;

in the novel, 80 , 84 , 166

Antifeminism, 42 , 43 -4, 123 -4;

in the novel, 132 , 134 , 164 ;

of women writers, 30

Aporia, 34 , 35 , 39 , 95 , 139 ;

and imagery, 37 -8, 41 , 112 , 119

Arenal, Concepción, 11 , 43 , 126 , 199 n92;

on enclosure as mutilation, 39 , 126 , 137 , 210 n31;

on the woman question, 122

Aristocracy: attitudes toward, 18 , 90 , 164 , 171 , 176 ;

women of, 19 , 20 , 21 , 26 , 46

Aristotle notions of gender in, 24 , 77 , 79 , 84

Armstrong, Nancy, 7 , 8 , 18

Audaz, El (novel):

18th-century aristocratic women in, 195 n28;

satire of poet Pepita Sanahuja, 199 n6

Augustine, Saint, 146 -47

Ayguals de Izco, Wenceslas, 33

Azcárate, Gumersindo de, 75 -8, 84


Bakhtin, Mikhail, 11 ;

concept of heteroglossia, 9 , 179 , 181

Balzac, Honoré de, 1 , 35 , 204 n35

Barrantes, viscountess of, 51

Barthes, Roland, 179

Beatería , 86 , 102 .

See also Mojigatería

Beauty and the beast, myth of, 161

Belsey, Catherine, 9 , 115

Benavente, Jacinto, 49

Berceo, Gonzalo de, 170

Berkowitz, H. Chonon, 61

Bieder, Maryellen, 160

Birds and women, 38 , 103 -4, 179 ;

and angels, 11 , 37 -8, 40 , 61 , 66 -8, 138 ;

and romantic imagery, 61 , 65 -7, 129 , 131 , 135

Blanco, Alda, 32 , 90 , 197 n64

Blanco Aguinaga, Carlos, 17

Blasco Ibañez, Vicente, 124

Bly, Peter, 94 , 178

Böhl de Faber, Cecilia (pseud. Fernán Caballero), 52

Bougaud, Emile, 147

Bourgeois ideology, 3 , 7 , 8 , 10 , 14 ;

and notions of personal conduct, 7 , 55 , 130 , 132 , 161 ;

puritanical strain in, 47 .

See also Angels, women as; Capitalism, rise of; Discourse; Gender

Bravo-Villasante, Carmen, 49



Caballero, Fernán. See Böhl de Faber, Cecilia

Caballero encantado, El (novel), 168 passim;

comparison to Cervantes, 169 -70

Cánovas del Castillo, Antonio, 17 , 24 , 29

Capitalism, rise of:

and bourgeois ideology, 7 , 87 , 90 , 93 -4, 130 ;

and effects on the novel, 86 , 90 -91

Casalduero, Joaquín, 141 , 150

Castelar, Emilio, 23

Castro, Fernando de, 15 , 23 , 29 , 36 , 51 , 77

Catalina, Severo, 51

Cate, Francie, 153

Catholic Church, 2 , 28 , 74 -5, 80 ;

and relationship to women, 56 , 75 , 80 -1.

See also Anticlericalism; Krausism; Virgin Mary

Caudet, Francisco, 117 , 206 n34, 207 nn35,41

Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel, 1 , 169 -70, 212 n54

Charcot, Jean-Martin, 121

Charles IV , 19

Charnon-Deutsch, Lou, 6 , 154

Chopin, Kate, 11

Claret, Antonio, Father, 11 , 15 , 28

Clarín. See Alas, Leopoldo

Clarke, Edward, 121

Class, 53 , 109 , 135 , 158 , 182 ;

and notions of femininity, 21 , 40 , 117 , 175 ;

representations of working class, 59 , 98 -9, 104 , 107 , 169 .

See also Aristocracy; Domesticity, ideology of; Women

Cobián, Lorenza, 125

Collins, Wilkie, 178

Conduct literature, 14 -5, 26 , 33 , 34 , 104 , 153

Congreso Pedagógico:

of 1882, 100 ;

of 1892, 123


and consumerism, 86 , 87 -91, 94 , 180 ;

and sexuality, 86 -7, 89 , 92 -4, 96 ;

tuberculosis and, 89 , 134 .

See also Lujo, el

Coronado, Carolina, 61

Cortejo . See Adultery

Costa, Joaquín, 157 , 158 , 174

Costumbrista anthologies, 14 , 194 n13, 196 nn45, , 197 nn55, , 198 n70

Cott, Nancy F., 11

Criado y Domínguez, Juan P., 17

Criticism, feminist:

Anglo-American, 3 , 4 -6, 8 , 9 , 14 , 18 ;

images of women, 2 ;

materialist, 3 ;

poststructuralist, 3 , 4

Cueto, Augusto Leopoldo de, 27 , 194 n16

Cursi , figure of, 86 , 99 , 164 , 181


Dalton, Francis, 162

Dante, 147

Darwin, Charles, 37

Desheredada, La (novel):

modelled on work by Sáez de Melgar, 52 ;

naturalism in, 85 passim;

theme of luxury in, 86 passim

Desire, pathologization of, 8 , 24 , 89 , 92 -3, 133 -4.

See also Disease

Dickens, Charles, 1 , 6 , 178

Discourse, 13 , 14 , 37 , 67 ;

and gender, 7 , 11 , 38 , 117 , 122 -23;

and relation to ideology, 4 , 5 , 14 -5, 24 , 62 ;

scientific, 23 -4, 37 , 90 , 121 -2.

See also Disease; Sexual difference; Womanhood; Women writers

Disease, 129 , 134 -40;

medical notions of, 44 , 90 , 98 , 121 -2;

and sexuality, 88 -9, 129 -30, 136

Doctor Centeno, El (novel), 89 ;

serialized, 43

Domesticity, ideology of, 14 , 16 -7, 18 , 46 -7, 62 ;

attributes of women in, 26 , 142 , 149 -50;

and class, 14 , 21 , 107 ;

as cult, 23 , 40 ;

Galdós and, 158 , 178 ;

and language, 24 -5;

in the novel, 68 -9, 70 , 72 , 106 , 136 -7.

See also Angels, women as; Religion; Sinués de Marco, María del Pilar

Domestic novel. See Novel, rise of

Domestic novelists. See individual authors .

See also Conduct literature; Women writers

Doña Perfecta (novel), 56 -7;

allegory in, 179 -80;

dichotomy in, 58 ;

idealization of characters in, 85 ;

plot of, 71

Dumas, Alexandre, fils, 46 , 89


Eagleton, Terry, 55

Education, 101 -2;

attitudes toward, 44 , 100 , 123 , 158 , 167 ;

Galdós on, 50 -1;

of 19th-century women, 32 -3, 95 -6, 125 ;

women in, 45 , 99 , 168 , 172 .

See also Krausism

Electra (play):

anticlericalism in, 164 ;

compared to other works, 165 -6

Eliot, George, 110

Ellis, Sarah Stickney, 15 , 26 , 41 , 51

Emancipación, La (journal), 166

Emancipation, of women, 45 , 48 , 122 -3, 125 , 177 ;

Christianity as, 100 ;

as prostitution, 44

Enclosure, of women, 38 -9, 40 -1, 61 -2, 69 , 73 , 106 .

See also Arenal, Concepción; Pardo Bazán, Emilia


Enlightenment, the, 7 , 13 , 22 , 87

Eternal feminine, 14 , 40 , 101 , 170


Familia de León Roch, La (novel), 56 , 73 passim;

anticipates later works, 85 ;

departs from feminine ideal, 59 ;

ideological shifts in, 179 ;

serialized, 43

Fanaticism, religious. See Mojigatería

Fashion, 39 -40, 92 , 93 -94

Feal Deibe, Carlos, 135

Femininity, construction of:

in the 18th century, 16 , 21 ;

morality and the, 21 , 25 , 58 , 87 , 114 , 119 ;

in the 19th century, 7 -8, 26 , 28 , 31 , 57 , 89 -90.

See also Eternal Feminine; Womanhood

Feminism, 3 , 6 , 14 , 177 ;

imagery and, 62 , 119 , 127 , 154 , 180 ;

19th-century, 30 , 38 , 41 , 122 -4, 167 , 182 .

See also Antifeminism; Criticism, feminist; Women

Fernández y González, Manuel, 33

Fetterley, Judith, 5

Fin de siècle, 122 , 132 , 139 ;

imagery and, 132 , 151

First Republic, 7 , 23 , 56

Fontana de Oro, La (novel), 56 -7, 59 ;

revised version, 58

Fortunata y Jacinta (novel), 180 , 182 ;

as allegory of Spain, 56 ;

analysis of, 102 -19;

compared to Madame Bovary , 5 ;

view of working-class women, 40

Foucault, Michel, 15

Fourierism, 11 , 30

Franco, Francisco, 2 , 15


Galdós, Benito Pérez. See Pérez Galdós, Benito

Ganivet, Angel, 121 , 124

Gassó y Ortiz, Blanca de, 25 , 27 , 35 , 187 -89

Gender, 18 , 56 -7, 139 ;

bourgeois construction of, 14 , 15 , 18 -22, 32 , 141 ;

definition of, 3 ;

ideologies of, 16 -7, 22 , 40 , 76 -7, 121 , 176 ;

rebellion, 59 , 65 , 67 , 110 -11, 156 ;

relations in the novel, 80 , 162 .

See also Discourse

Gilbert, Sandra, 9 , 14

Gilman, Charlotte Perkins, 122

Gilman, Stephen, 5 , 57

Gimeno de Flaquer, Concepción, 194 n15, 198 n75

Giner de los Ríos, Francisco, 77 , 79

Gloria (novel), 56 -7;

bird-angel in, 59 passim;

departs from feminine ideal, 59 ;

ideological shifts in, 179 -80;

plot of, 71

Golden Age women in the, 16 , 39

Goldman, Peter, 134

Gómez de Avellaneda, Gertrudis, 61

González Serrano, Urbano, 43 , 44 , 123 , 212 n2

Goyri, María, 123

Grassi, Angela, 34 , 163

Gubar, Susan, 9 , 14

Guirnalda, La (journal):

Galdós publishes in, 42 -3;

promotes domestic ideal, 43


Hall, Catherine, 18

Hall, G. Stanley, 121

Halma (novel):

and Augustine's Confessions in, 146 -47;

counterpart to Angel Guerra , 153 ;

as didactic work, 140 -55;

sequel to Nazarín , 140

Harrison, Fraser, 24 , 40

Heteroglossia. See Bahktin, Mikhail

Home, concept of:

as sanctuary, 7 , 24 ;

Victorian, 16 , 19 , 21 , 88 , 176 ;

as workplace, 15 , 26


Ibsen, Henrik, 51 , 163

Iconography, religious. See Angels, women as

Ideas madres , 121 ;

and regenerationism, 154

Ideology, definition of, 4 ;

contradictions and, 9

Ilustración de la Mujer, La (journal), 123

Isabel , 91


James, Henry, 6

Jameson, Fredric, 4 , 7

Journals, 14 , 25 , 42 , 166 ;

growth of women's, 18 , 32 -4, 123 ;

women contributors to, 33 -5, 43 .

See also Women writers


Kirkpatrick, Susan, 2 , 22 , 119

Kolodny, Annette, 5 , 9

Krause, Karl Christian Friedrich von, 73

Krausism, 73 -80, 82 , 84 , 96 , 157 ;

and the Catholic Church, 74 -5

Kronik, John W., 84 , 177


Labra, Rafael María de, 76

La de Bringas (novel):

as allegory of Spain, 56 ;

parody in, 128 ;

theme of luxury in, 86 , 91 , 93

La de San Quintín (play), 163 -64

Laqueur, Thomas, 22 , 89 , 90

Larra y Sánchez de Castro, Mariano José de, 170

Lauretis, Teresa de, 9 , 95


Le Bon, Gustave, 122 , 158

Leo , pope, 28

León, Fray Luis de, 16 -7

Liberal Revolution, the, 7 , 28 -9, 180

Lida, Dena, 84

Llanos, Adolfo, 122

Loca de la casa, La (novel), 153 ;

analyzed, 159 -63

Lombroso, Cesare, 122

López-Cordon Cortezo, María Victoria, 31

Lovell, Terry, 87 , 95

Lujo, el , 26 , 86 -97, 173 , 181


Macherey, Pierre, 9

Madre y el Niño, La (journal):

Galdós publishes in, 42

Maetzu, Ramiro de, 157 , 165

Mallada, Lucas, 157 , 158 , 161 , 169

Marianela (novel), 57

Mariucha (play), 163 -64


use of married name in, 28 , 141 ;

Victorian concept of, 19 , 20 , 73 , 76 -7.

See also Women

Martín Gaite, Carmen, 21

Martínez Reguera, Leopoldo, 27 , 35 , 196 n42

Martínez Sierra, María (pseud. Gregorio Martínez Sierra), 32 , 38 , 197 n64, 204 n1

Marxist criticism, 4 , 9 , 207 n35

Maudsley, Henry, 121

Men, representation of, 16 , 77 , 79 , 85 , 129 , 154 .

See also Moulding, theme of

Menéndez y Pelayo, Marcelino, 63

Michelet, Jules, 51 , 198 n13;

anticlericalism of, 75 ;

on marriage, 77 ;

and the woman question, 15 , 44 , 73 , 202 n13

Mill, John Stuart, 125

Miller, Nancy K., 9 , 13 , 57

Millett, Kate, 9

Minter, G. G., 150

Misericordia (novel), 153 , 155

Mitchell, Weir, 122

Moderado government. See Spain

Moi, Toril, 9

Mojigatería , 48 , 52 , 58 , 80 , 85 , 92 .

See also Beatería

Monica, Saint, 146 -47

Monlau, Pedro Felipe, 77 , 98 , 196 n37, 208 n10

Montesinos, José, 64 , 86

Morality, 41 , 70 -1, 87 , 91 , 113 -4

Morán, Jerónimo, 42

Morell, Concha-Ruth, 126 , 133 , 139 , 78 , 209 n26

Moulding, theme of, 77 -9, 82 -84.

See also Pygmalion figures


ideology and, 11 , 61 , 67 , 137 , 139 ;

imagery and, 127 , 129 , 135 -7;

self, 62 , 66


Nación, La (newspaper):

Galdós in, 49

Napoleonic Code, 36

Nash, Mary, 15

Nazarín (novel), 140 -41

New Criticism, 6

New woman, 8 , 10 , 156 -7, 159 , 164 , 182

Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, 124

Nightingale, Florence, 38

Novel, rise of:

domestic, 18 , 44 , 51 ;

in the 19th century, 7 , 8 , 52 , 54 ;

sentimental, 48 , 59 , 82 , 163


Oligarchy, bourgeois, 7 , 89 -90, 121 , 157

Orwell, George, 136


Palido, Angel, 98

Pardo Bazán, Emilia, 38 , 43 , 46 , 51 , 126 , 210 n32;

affair with Galdós, 125 , 178 ;

on enclosure of women, 38 , 210 n31;

Galdós's praise of, 52 -3;

and the woman question, 123 -4, 208 n2

Patmore, Coventry, 14 , 15

Patriarchy, 3 , 5 , 6 , 11 ;

and construction of sexual relations, 29 ;

medical support of, 121 , 151 ;

in the novel, 64 -5, 69 , 78 -9, 136 , 139 , 149

Pérez Galdós, Benito:

articles and essays, 42 , 45 , 48 , 49 , 51 -3;

Episodios nacionales , 10 , 169 , 170 ;

library of, 15 , 51 ;

literary career of, 1 , 5 ;

Novelas contemporaneas , 1 , 4 , 10 -11, 58 , 85 -6, 153 ;

Novelas de la primera epoca , 1 , 10 , 56 -8, 85 ;

politics of, 2 , 50 , 53 , 166 -7;

public recognition of, 1 -2, 158 , 166 ;

scholarship and, 2 , 5 , 51 , 52 , 74 ;

sexual liaisons of, 125 -6, 133 , 139 , 178 ;

work in translation, 191 n1.

See also individual titles

Perrot, Michelle, 156 , 167

Perry, Mary, E., 28


women's involvement in, 41 , 143 -4

Picavea, Macías, 157 -58

Piety, excessive. See Beatería; Mojigatería

Poovey, Mary, 9 , 32

Posada, Adolfo, 123 -4

Postmodernism, 6

Print culture, western, 3 , 13 , 87 , 92


Prohibido, Lo (novel), 10 , 163 , 178 ;

theme of luxury in, 86

Pygmalion figures, 78 , 83 -4, 148


Razón de la sinrazón: Fábula teatral absolutamente inverosímil (novel), 168

Realidad (novel):

adapted for stage, 159

Realism, 19th-century, 1 , 6 , 8

Realist novel, 8 , 119 ;

Galdós and the, 48 , 52 -5, 58 -9, 95 , 159 , 181

Regenerationism, 157 -8;

and the novel, 154 -5, 162 , 169 -71

Religion, 80 -1 107 , 142 ;

as divisive force, 54 , 65 , 71 , 74 -5, 80 ;

and domesticity, 152 ;

and spirituality, 38 , 141 -2.

See also Beatería ; Catholic Church; Mojigatería ; Representation of women, 19th-century; Restoration; Rhetoric, religious

Representation of women, 19th-century as artifact, 78 , 83 -4;

as authority figure, 17 , 35 , 105 , 145 , 148 -9, 161 ;

and death, 6 , 58 -9, 72 ;

and family, 16 -7, 19 , 20 , 155 ;

as "mad," 116 , 160 , 162 ;

and mission, 11 , 25 , 34 , 41 , 167 -8;

as morally superior, 8 , 16 -7, 49 -50, 143 ;

and motherhood, 70 , 97 -8, 168 , 170 ;

as nation, 56 , 162 , 179 -80;

in opera, 72 , 89 ;

as redeemer, 28 , 104 , 141 , 170 , 175 ;

and reproduction, 23 , 28 , 44 ;

as victim, 57 -8, 68 , 72 , 107

Restoration, 7 , 29 , 53 , 56 ;

Civil Code of 1889, 36 -7;

instability of 120 -21;

and religion, 28 , 73 .

See also Oligarchy, bourgeois

Revista de España (journal):

Galdós as editor, 43 -4;

review of Galdós, 86

Revista Popular (journal), 123

Rhetoric, religious, 24 , 36 , 100 , 122 , 128

Rich, Adrienne, 5

Río, Angel del, 161

Rodríguez, Alfred, 75

Romanticism, 11 , 13 , 34

Rosalía (novel):

idealization of characters in, 85

Rousseau, Jean-Jacques, 23

Ruiz Aguilera, Ventura, 54

Ruskin, John, 15 , 20 , 77 , 147


Sacerdocio de la mujer, El (journal), 25

Sáez de Melgar, Faustina, 33 -4, 36 , 43 , 52 , 153

Sáinz de Robles, Federico Carlos, 142

Sáiz de Otero, Concepción, 45 , 99

Sánchez, Roberto, 177

Sánchez de Toca, Joaquín, 100 , 195 n27, 208 n1

Sanz del Río, Julián, 73 -4

Schor, Naomi, 6 , 83

Segovia, Angel María, 88

Sentimental novel. See Novel, rise of

Sexual difference, 16 , 22 , 29 , 39 ;

discourse and, 3 , 7 , 18 , 37

Sexuality, 23 -4;

in the novel, 103 -5, 110 , 136 -7, 153 , 171 , 181 ;

and promiscuity, 40 -1, 44 .

See also Adultery; Consumption; Desire, pathologization of; Disease

Sexual politics, 3 , 37 , 51 -3;

in ideology, 8 , 11 , 193 n25;

in the novel, 62 -4, 67 , 142 , 149

Shaw, George Bernard, 165

Showalter, Elaine, 139 , 151

Silió, César, 158

Sinnigen, John, 154

Sinués de Marco, María del Pilar, 32 , 33 , 43 , 88 , 90 ;

and concept of el ángel del hogar , 17 , 24 -5, 27 , 36 , 147 ;

and El ángel del hogar (novel), 14 -5, 30 , 33 , 107 ;

and Galdós, 44 , 153

Smith, Alan, 60

Snow, C. P., 2

Socialism, 29 , 166

Sombart, Werner, 87 , 92

Sontag, Susan, 89 , 134

Spain: Moderado government, 18 ;

political/historical climate in, 7 , 13 , 86 ;

position in Europe of, 1 ;

sense of collapse in, 120 -2, 157 -8;

social/cultural change in, 15 , 19 , 56 , 77


deconstruction of, 143 -4;

in the novel, 155 , 177 , 164 ;

public/private, 15 -6, 35 , 39 , 41 , 122 , 167 -8;

and segregation, in 18th century, 19 ;

separate, 18 , 22 , 28 , 43

Stone, Lawrence, 19

Suffragism, 30 , 122 , 167

Suplicio de una mujer, El (play): reviewed by Galdós, 47


Tanner, Tony, 119

Tartilán, Sofía, 13 , 16

Thackeray, William Makepeace, 178

Tolosa Latour, Manuel de, 43

Tompkins, Jane, 4 , 9

Tormento (novel), 10

Translations, importance of, 15 .

See also Pérez Galdós, Benito

Tristana (novel):

woman question in, 126 -40


Trollope, Anthony, 178

Tuñón de Lara, Manuel, 157

Turner, Harriet S., 104


Urey, Diane, 169


Valera, Juan, 22 , 125

Varey, J. E., 150

Veblen, Thorstein, 21

Victoria (queen of England), 44 -5

Virgin Mary:

cult of, 19 , 28 ;

as model of femininity, 19 , 28 , 72 , 146 -48;

in the novel, 72 , 146 -7

Vives, Juan Luis, 16

Voluntad (play), 163


Watt, Ian, 7

Weibel, Kathryn, 39

Womanhood: discourse of, 8 , 13 , 15 , 46 , 158 ;

idealized, 24 , 30 , 32 , 35 , 100 , 175 ;

nature of, 11 , 13 -4, 18 -9, 21 , 168 ;

"true," in the novel, 58 -9, 70 , 72 , 141 , 154 .

See also Femininity, construction of; New Woman

Woman question, the, 14 , 120 , 123 -4;

and Galdós, 45 , 125 , 126 -7, 140


18th-century, 16 , 19 , 20 , 21 , 22 ;

employment of, 50 , 96 , 167 -8, 172 ;

middle-class, 8 , 21 , 27 , 41 , 46 , 143 ;

and politics, 29 -30, 57 -8, 94 ;

rights of, 36 -7, 90 , 122 ;

in western iconography, 37 , 78 ;

working-class, 21 , 59 , 98 -9, 103 , 121 .

See also Education; Emancipation; Representation of women, 19th-century; Sexuality; Suffragism

Women writers:

and domestic ideal, 31 -5, 43 ;

Galdós's opinion of, 44 -5, 52 ;

in the 19th century, 11 , 29 , 41 .

See also Conduct Literature; Journals

Woolf, Virginia, 32 , 139

Work ethic, bourgeois, 21 , 161 , 173 -5


Zola, Émile, 90 , 92 , 204 n35

Preferred Citation: Jagoe, Catherine. Ambiguous Angels: Gender in the Novels of Galdós. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1994 1994.