My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I feel as though I’ve been living in Madrid for the past week while reading this. What an author Galdós is! My thoughts are completely disjointed right now as I’ve just finished reading the last page a moment ago. So. This is a draft of a review right now.
“The response from the famous judge of literary works was that it had the makings of a play or a novel, although in his opinion the artistic texture wouldn’t be especially attractive unless it were warped in places so that the vulgarity of life might be converted into esthetic material. He didn’t tolerate ‘raw life’ in art; it had to be scrubbed, seasoned with aromatic spices, and then thoroughly cooked. Segismundo did not share his opinion and they discussed the matter, each party advancing its select reasons, but each sticking to its own convictions, so that in the end they agreed that well-ripened raw fruit was very good, but so were compotes, if the cook knew what he was doing.” p. 812
I would say Galdós likes raw fruit best and this novel doesn’t attempt to disguise the madness, joy, love, inanity, humor, impulsivity, selfishness, self-deceit, bravery, devotion, inconstancy and violence—along with all the other traits of humanity—and instead revels in them.
Notes to come back to: “Madwoman in the house.” Angel/saint/devil. Virgin/whore. Philosophy & religion. Café life. Politics. Spectrum of religious and spiritual beliefs. Cultural stereotypes. Compare Catholic perspective to Protestant and Spanish to English and French lit of the time.
Medical details. Mental illness. Migraines. Drugs.
Boobies and cotton breasts.
Galdós’ interest in street life, textiles & apparel, interiors, angles of view, painting and sculpture.
Details of daily life. Cleaning. Food preparation. Other habits.
Translation issues: spelling, pronunciation, dialect.
Also, has anyone ever compared this book to Anna Karenina?
“I adore her , because we would have no way to feel God’s love unless God revealed it to us through our idea that His attributes are transmitted by a creature of our human race.” p817
If he were a painter, who would he be? Vuillard?