Galdós and the Irony of Language

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2005-06-30
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Benito Prez Galds was the foremost Spanish novelist of the nineteenth century. His novels are frequently compared with those of Dickens and Balzac, and considered examples of nineteenth-century realism. In a speech before the Spanish Academy of Language, Galds himself declared that the novel is 'an image of life'; scholars have often considered that image to be an uncritical reflection, or even a biased misrepresentation of the Spanish society of the time. This book shows, by detailed analysis of Galds narrative techniques, how his novels display a much more skeptical and ironical attitude toward the ability of language to represent reality, than has previously been recognized. Rather than attempting to judge the accuracy of Galds' image of life the author analyzes the linguistic means by which the novels recreate life in their own image. With close and discriminating attention to detail the author illustrates Galds' narrative irony with examples from the serie contempornea, the most highly acclaimed period of his writing. She analyzes the ironic possibilities under three main headings: depiction of characters, description of places, and the narrative voice. A final chapter describes the fusion of these devices in the novella Torquemada en la hoguera. This clearly argued study, structuralist in approach and sensitive to nuances of style and language, will appeal to students of modern critical theory and comparative literature as well as to Hispanists.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi
Introduction 1(4)
1 The irony of portrait 5(42)
Isidora Rufete
Rosalia de Bringas
2 The setting of irony 47(17)
La de Bringas
Torquemada y San Pedro
3 The narrator of irony 64(31)
The historical chronicle, the novel within the novel, and Don Quijote: Nazarin and Halma
'Phantom chapters': Angel Guerra
First-person narrators: El amigo Manso and Lo prohibido
The epistolary novel: La incgnita
The dialogue novel: Realidad
4 The texture of irony 95(27)
Conclusion 122(7)
Notes 129(5)
Bibliography 134(3)
Index 137

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