Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Álvaro A. Ayo

Committee Members

Nuria Cruz-Cámara, Gregory B. Kaplan, Chad Black

Abstract

Using the novel as a forum for debate, Galdós presents a whole array of intellectual themes that were of great interest in the latter part of the 1800s. One of the areas the famed Spanish novelist paid more attention to is that of sociology. This dissertation deals precisely with Galdós’s interest and participation in discussions about sociological matters -- for instance, social darwinism, anomie, and anarchy-- being carried out in Spain’s intellectual circles in his time. The term galdosismo social is introduced to refer to Galdós’s literary articulation of his sociological reflections about the formation of different communities structured inside and outside mainstream society through the dynamic relation among different types of integrating and disintegrating processes. Accordingly, the focus of the study is the way in which Galdós represents numerous instances of interpersonal negotiation. These instances are divided in what here are called secuencias. They constitute representations of the many stages of social interaction characters have to go through. Ángel Guerra (1891), Nazarín (1895), Halma (1895), and Misericordia (1897) are the selected novels whose protagonists are involved in many secuencias in their daily struggle to survive. That said, it is important to stress that Galdós’ participation in the discussions regarding sociological issues is less scientific than literary and less theoretical than affective. Galdosian characters are not cold allegories, but verisimilar characterizations of individuals who are alone in a challenge-filled world but find their way in the always difficult but inevitable company of others.

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