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ArribaAbajoEl amigo Manso and el amigo Galdós

Walter T. Pattison

A la memoria del Dr. Gregorio Marañón

«Yo no existo... Declaro que ni siquiera soy el retrato de alguien, y prometo que si alguno de estos profundizadores del día se mete a buscar semejanzas entre mi yo... y cualquier individuo... he de salir a la defensa de mis fueros de mito...»191 With these words Galdós opens one of his most delightful novels and simultaneously seems to close the door to investigations on the sources or models which he was to combine in the figure of Máximo Manso. But despite this statement that Manso has nothing to do with real-life persons, a number of models have been suggested as the sources of the principal traits of Galdós' fictitious character. José Rodríguez Mourelo declares that Manso, viewed from the psychological and spiritual point of view, recalls Francisco Giner de los Ríos;192 Luis and Agustín Millares Cubas state that Manso was a Canary islander, apparently suggesting that his prototype was an illegitimate relative of the Galdós family;193 Dr. Gregorio Marañón considers José Hurtado de Mendoza, Galdós' nephew, as the model on which Manso was formed.194 Recently Monroe Z. Hafter has proposed Sylvestre Bormard as the prototype of Manso.195 All of these models may have contributed to Galdós' composite figure.

But various critics have also hinted that Manso owes much to Galdós himself, that is, that the personality traits of the fictitious hero conform to those of the author. Especially significant is Unamuno's remark that El amigo Manso is the «[...] novela que pasa por ser la más personal, en el sentido de más introspectiva o más autobiográfica. En todos los personajes de un novelista hay algo de éste; pero en Máximo Manso hay poco, muy poco que no sea de Galdós».196

It is my opinion that the autobiographical elements in the novel and its protagonist are even greater than heretofore suspected. In order to sustain this belief I must first call attention to some neglected details of Galdós' biography.

Parallels in Biography and Fiction

From 1871 on, Don Benito had been in the habit of spending his summers in Santander but had always returned to Madrid in the fall to recommence his methodical and unremitting labor. But in 1879 he remained over the winter in Santander, not to return to the capital until the autumn of 1880. This interruption of his systematic production (for he published nothing in the year 1880) has always been a puzzle to his biographers,197 although one principal cause is clearly stated in a letter from Galdós to Mesonero Romanos. Under the date of October 14, 1879, he writes: «La circunstancia de ser mi hermano Gobernador militar de esta plaza y de estar aquí parte de mi familia, me detiene aquí por algún tiempo, y para no dejar de trabajar, he empezado el último tomo de los Episodios para concluir de una vez esa ya larga colección y poder dedicarme   —136→   a otros trabajos más de mi agrado.»198 The final words of this statement are amplified in the colophon of the last Episodio of the second series (the one which he wrote in Santander in November and December, 1879) where the author says he is going to devote himself to the study of «[...] tipos contemporáneos, como verá el lector que no me abandone...»

When Galdós wrote the statements quoted above he apparently intended to stay only a part of the winter of '79-'80 in the north. The letter of October 14, 1879, also says: «No iré a Madrid hasta dentro, de unos meses. Entretanto me tiene V. a sus órdenes en el Gobierno Militar de Santander.» But the intention of returning was not realized; on July 1, 1880, Galdós writes again: «Estoy dedicado a la holgazanería. En Octubre próximo reanudaremos las tareas literarias. Salgo mañana para Asturias con objeto de ver algo nuevo. Dentro de ocho días regresaré a ésta.»199 So we know that a decided change came into Galdós' existence in the period of 1879-80, characterized principally by the abandonment of his usual routine of steady, methodical production.

One of the causes of this change was the presence of his brother Ignacio in Santander. Ignacio was eight years older than Benito. He was an army officer who had gone to Cuba in 1864 and had married a Cuban girl (Doña Caridad) in 1873.200 The couple had two children by 1879: Carmen, seven years old, and Domingo, four years. Another daughter, Micaela, was born in Santander in September of 1880 and Don Benito was her godfather. In addition to the children, the family group contained José Hurtado de Mendoza, Galdós' nephew, and a sister of Doña Caridad named María de Ciria y Vincent. The latter is said to have been very lively and talkative and the principal informant from whom Galdós got the details of Cuban life which he needed for El amigo Manso.201 Finally, it is probable that Magdalena Hurtado de Mendoza, the Cuban widow of Benito's oldest brother, was also living with the family.202

It is apparent to any reader of El amigo Manso that there is a considerable parallelism between the lives of Galdós and Máximo Manso with respect to the arrival of the brother's family. In the novel Máximo's brother José María arrives from Cuba with his wife, three children, his mother-in-law, and his wife's sister.203 Another child is born not long after their arrival and Manso serves as godfather.204 Just as Galdós' regular work habits were interrupted, so Máximo complains bitterly that his duties towards his family force him to abandon the sweet monotony of his studies and his regular schedule of work and recreation.205 Máximo, like Galdós, was accustomed to go to bed at an early hour. The former (and we may presume the latter also) had to give up this habit to accommodate the family. José María is six years older than Máximo, just as Ignacio was six years older than Benito according to the latter's reckoning.206

We should remember that Don Benito's uncle, also named José María, had lived in Cuba and had returned to the Canary Islands with a mistress and child,207 as well as with the two Cuban children of his mistress (by her former marriage) who married Benito's brother and sister. One of these children was Magdalena Hurtado de Mendoza, mentioned above as probably forming part of the new family group in Santander. It is probable that this earlier group of newly arrived Cubans was also in Galdós' mind as a contributing influence in   —137→   the creation of the family of José María Manso. It is not my contention that the Manso family is a realistic, factual picture of either of the above mentioned groups, but merely that both groups, particularly Don Ignacio's family, suggested many details to Galdós and that his personal reaction to the interruption of his work is akin to Manso's.

Now Galdós is very precise in dating the fictional action of El amigo Manso. Máximo Manso moved to the Calle del Espíritu Santo in 1877208 and has lived there three years when the action of the story begins.209 In another place Manso says: «En aquellos días, que eran los de la primavera del año 80...»210 In still another passage he tells us that his brother José María arrived in Madrid with his Cuban family in September, 1880.211 We see that the interruption of Manso's routine scholarly existence took place at almost the same time that Don Benito's methodical literary life was disturbed in much the same way.

A number of other details seem quite significant. Manso says: «[...] tenía treinta y cinco años cuando me pasó lo que me pasó.»212 Now Galdós in 1880 was really 37 years old, but apparently he believed himself two years younger.213 Máximo and Benito were both above middle height, robust in physique, and endowed with abundant hair which they wore cut short. Both dressed modestly, avoiding extremes.214 Neither one approved of bull fights.215

Yet there are other details -evidently intended to throw the reader off the track- in which the author and his creature differ decidedly. For example, Don Benito was an inveterate smoker, but Máximo, does not smoke.216 There is the obvious dissimilarity in occupations, as Máximo was a professor of philosophy, not a novelist. Yet under this disparity lies their similar orientation toward serious intellectual work.

Of course Máximo and Benito are from very different parts of the Spanish world, since Manso was an asturiano from Cangas de Onís. But here we should recall that Galdós, in his letter of July I, 1880, said: «Salgo mañana para Asturias con objeto de ver algo nuevo.» And in his description of Máximo's boyhood, he stresses the tourist sights near Covadonga and Cangas de Onís -the monastery of San Pedre, de Villanueva with the sculptured story of the death of King Favila, who was eaten by a bear, the mountain roads «[...] en que el viajero (note this word) cree andar por los aires sobre celajes de piedra», and «[...] el triste lago de Nol, que es un mar ermitaño...»217 These things Galdós saw in precisely the same year in which he was to fix the action of his novel. The period 1879-1880 was uppermost in his mind as he sought material for and composed El amigo Manso. To understand this novel we must know as fully as possible what Galdós was thinking and doing during his unusually long stay in Santander.

Galdós and Manso as Public Speakers

One event which shocked the whole nation in October, 1879, was the terrible flooding of the Segura River at Murcia, which resulted in numerous deaths and untold material destruction. In every city of Spain funds were sought to alleviate the distress of the victims. Santander was no exception. A local newspaper, El Aviso, tells of a concert, a dance and estudiantinas organized for this charitable   —138→   purpose (October 24). Then on November 6 there is an account of the function held in a local theatre under the auspices of the journalists of the city. Three short plays were acted; poems were read, one by Amós de Escalante, Galdós' friend, another by Enrique Pico, a fourteen year old genius; an orchestra filled out the program. On November 18, an organization called la Serra put on another similar benefit performance for the victims of the flood. Finally, on December 20, there is a report of the first of two festivals dedicated to the French consul, who had distinguished himself by his activities in collecting funds. The streets were decorated with hangings at the balconies, and a great banquet was held, attended by «[...] las autoridades civil, militar y de marina y prensa de la localidad en la acreditada fonda de Europa».

It hardly seems possible that Galdós, as the brother of the military governor and the friend of the local literary group, as well as the nationally-known author of some twenty-six widely read novels, would not be invited to appear on one of these programs. El Aviso, however, does not mention his name. There is the possibility that he was called on to make a short address, say at the banquet in honor of the French consul, where the newspaper account does not mention the names of any of the participants in the program; or there is the counter-possibility that don Benito was invited to speak but could not bring himself to it due to his uncontrollable terror of speaking in public.218 Mat seems utterly impossible to me is to assume that he was not invited to speak.

Now in El amigo Manso a charitable society called the Sociedad general para socorro de los inválidos de la industria is founded by José María Manso and his coterie.219 Galdós describes it in a satirical way just as he had reacted to charity balls and bull fights in Marianela.220 This organization plans a gathering to raise funds for crippled workmen, and Máximo Manso, much to his dislike, is forced to give a speech. Considerable space in the novel is devoted to this episode -the preparation of the program, which includes music, speeches, and the recitation of verses; the reluctance with which Manso goes to the theatre «[...] como quien lleva a un criminal que quiere escaparse»;221 the anxiety with which he awaits his turn and particularly the emotions which weaken both his vision and his knees when his moment finally arrives.222 All this is presented so vividly and from such an intimately personal point of view that I feel that Galdós was recalling his own terror, either the fear which assaulted him when he really gave a speech or the imaginary stage fright which caused him to refuse an invitation. Given his powerful imagination, don Benito could suffer quite as much from the anticipation as he could from the reality.

Galdós and Manso in Love

Now that we are speculating on Galdós' intimate life during the period 1879-1880, let us consider something even more difficult to document, namely, love. In the novel Máximo Manso is separated from his pleasant routine not only by his family, but also by the emotions he develops toward Irene, the poor girl whom he has recommended as a teacher for his brother's children. Máximo falls in love with her, but because of the difference in ages -he is 35, she 19- he postpones his declaration of love. After idealizing her into a perfect woman,   —139→   the very incarnation of reason, Manso discovers with a shock that she is in love with his student, Manuel Peña, and that she is a very «womanly woman», with all the charming virtues and faults that the phrase implies. Manso finally sees her for what she is and to his surprise finds that reality, even with its imperfections, is more seductive than a mental abstraction. But now he can only sacrifice his love and help the young lovers achieve their marriage.

It is my belief that the course of Máximo's love affair reflects in broad lines the love which Don Benito felt for Juanita Lund. As I have pointed out elsewhere,223 Galdós met Juanita and her family in Santander in the summer of 1876 when she was 18 years old. Galdós was attracted to her; otherwise, why would he have made her the physical model of Gloria in the novel which he wrote during the following winter? But Don Benito was 31 years old (or 29 by his count). It seems probable that he postponed any mention of his love, waiting until the young lady matured. Meanwhile Don Benito admired Juanita not only because of her vivacity and physical attractiveness, but also because of her excellent education and intellectual interests.224 Finally, when Juanita was 21, on September 5, 1879, that is in the crucial period 1879-80, the announcement of her marriage to Dr. Achúcarro must have come as a shock to Galdós.225 He was then by his count 35, the same age as Máximo Manso. We have the word of Dr. Gregorio Marañón that Juanita remained the great love of Galdós' life, the woman whom he admired from afar and regretted having lost.226

Now if there is any truth in this speculation, there must be similarities between Irene and Juanita Lund. We find that Irene is described no less than four times as a «mujer del norte»,227 that is, a woman from northern Europe, with the self control and equilibrium Spaniards associate with the northern character. Here, of course, we recall that Juanita's father was a Norwegian and that Galdós could have attributed some of her perfections to her nordic inheritance. Furthermore, Irene was well-educated, by some «[...] señoras extranjeras -inglesas o austriacas...»228 This recalls Juanita's education under a Froebel-trained German instructress.

A much richer terrain remains to be explored. Juanita Lund is the model for Gloria, as far as her physical appearance is concerned. If Juanita is also the model for Irene, then Gloria and Irene must look alike. Let us list the similarities.

Gloria Irene
de buena estatura de buen talle229
esbelta muy esbelta230
boca, un poquito grande boca, más grande de lo conveniente231
nariz, más pequeña de lo regular nariz incorrecta232
su rostro, por lo común descolorido siempre era pálida233
en las mejillas234

In view of this list we can say without hesitation that both Gloria and Irene are formed on a single model, that is, Juanita Lund.

Of course, just as Gloria corresponds to Juanita only in physical appearance, so Irene may be only partially derived from the living model. What we know   —140→   about Galdós' creative process leads us to believe that he almost never formed a major character on one single model. Soon we shall see that Máximo Manso's character is not based solely on Galdós himself. As for Irene, certain parts of her experience could never be related to Juanita Lund. For example, Irene is left an orphan and falls under the care of doña Cándida, her aunt, who treats the child abominably and later tries to force the young woman into an illicit affair with José María Manso.235 If some parts of Irene's life have nothing to do with Juanita Lund, it can then be argued that the love of Manso for Irene may not be based on the real love which Galdós felt for Juanita.

This argument has no completely satisfactory answer, but we do know that Galdós while composing El amigo Manso was filled with recollections of the period 1879-1880; we know that Juanita Lund married during this time; and we have Dr. Marañón's testimony that Galdós always admired Juanita and regretted that he had not won her for himself. Although we shall never be able to penetrate just what Don Benito thought and felt, I believe we can assume that Manso's emotional attitudes during his one-sided love affair are based on Galdós' own experiences.

Immanuel Kant and Daily Routine

I have said that Manso's character is based not only on Galdós himself. Don Benito usually brought together material from more than one model, the various elements being associated in his conscious or subconscious mind by associative links not always immediately visible to the reader.236 Now an autobiographical element which is very prominent in the novel is the regularity of Galdós' work habits237 as reflected in the pleasant monotony of Manso's daily routine. This element could, and I believe did, bring to the author's mind the famed regularity of the life of Immanuel Kant. Galdós had in his library Henry Heine's De l'Allemagne (Paris, 1866) where he could read that Kant lived a mechanically ordered life, as impassionately regular as the great clock of the cathedral. «Rising, coffee-drinking, writing, reading, college lectures, eating, walking, had all their fixed times, and the neighbors knew that it was exactly half-past three when Immanuel Kant... left his house door and went to the lime-tree avenue, which is still called in memory of him the Philosopher's Walk. There he walked its length eight times, up and down, in every season...»

If Galdós remembered other biographies of Kant -or if he deliberately sought more information on the philosopher- it is probable that he recalled the Vida de Kant, translated from the German of Kuno Fischer and published in the influential Revista contemporánea (Vol. I, 1875, 107). Here we see again how Kant methodically organized his life. Just as his philosophy was based on reason, «del mismo modo la regla y plan de su vida es someter a principios claros y sabidos todos los actos de su vida...»238 He avoided all interruptions of his routine. «Quería Kant en sus trabajos, que tanto recogimiento exigían, no ser molestado de modo alguno. Se alejaba así cuidadosamente de todo lo que pudiera interrumpirle.»239 Kant did not marry, although he was twice almost on the point of doing so. His concept of marriage was that it was a rational agreement, and he used to advise his young friends to chose their spouses on the basis of   —141→   reason, «[...] llegando el caso de disgustarse si notaba que la pasión tenía entrada en sus propósitos».240

In the same article we learn that Kant was for a time the private tutor of a young man who lived in his house, in which we see the possible suggestion of Manso's pupil, Manolo Peña. Kant was a good teacher, never dogmatic, never telling his students what they must believe. Yet he was a poor public speaker. His voice was weak, and he suffered great embarrassment on formal occasions, notably when he gave his inaugural lecture as a professor.241

Finally, Kant sought always to see through the external appearances of things to the true underlying values. «[...] Kant es uno de los pocos que viviendo en este mundo de apariencias, no les dan valor... Muchos hombres tienen una buena voluntad, y también la convicción sincera de su amor a la verdad, y son, sin embargo, incapaces de concepciones verdaderas, porque sus ojos solo ven las apariencias y en sus cabezas solo hay ilusiones engañosas. Ese sentimiento de Kant era primitivo en él, con él nació, y poderoso por naturaleza formaba el centro y núcleo de su carácter. Jamás se dejó deslumbrar por las apariencias, por las locas ilusiones, ni por la imaginación, enemigos los más funestos de la verdad.»242

If we shift our attention from Kant to Máximo Manso we find striking similarities between the two. The latter describes himself as follows:

Desde que empecé a dominar estos difíciles estudios [i.e., filosofía], me propuse conseguir que mi razón fuese dueña y señora absoluta de mis actos, así de los más importantes como de los más ligeros... He conseguido una regularidad de vida que muchos me envidian, una sobriedad que lleva en sí más delicias que el desenfreno de todos los apetitos...

El método reina en mí y ordena mis actos y movimientos con una solemnidad que tiene algo de las leyes astronómicas.243

These words are just as true of Kant as they are of Manso. Of course Máximo's regular life was interrupted, but not without exclamations of regret on his part.

Adiós mi dulce monotonía, mis libros, mis paseos, mi independencia, el recreo de mis horas, acomodada cada cual para su correspondiente tarea, su función o su descanso.244

These are words which Kant could have uttered had his life been interrupted; they are words which, with some humorous exaggeration, express Galdós' regret at the loss of his own regular work habits. The two models, Kant and Galdós himself, have been amalgamated.

We have seen how Kant was praised for his ability to see through appearances and always to maintain contact with reality. Manso thinks that he has this quality, and is able to say when first describing his own nature: «Constantemente me congratulo de este mi carácter templado, de la condición subalterna de mi imaginación, de mi espíritu observador y práctico, que me permite tomar las cosas como son realmente, no equivocarme jamás respecto a su verdadero tamaño, medida y peso...»245 But when Manso is forced out of his scholarly retreat and brought into closer contact with practical affairs he comes to realize that his world of philosophical abstractions is not reality. First we see Manso   —142→   contrasted with his pupil, Manuel Peña, a young man who abhors abstractions and general laws but loves real events and facts.246 He likes History but disdains Philosophy.247

Galdós is preparing us for the fact that Manso will part company with Kant. Máximo will not be one who always sees through appearances. This we witness particularly in his great self-deception -his false analysis of Irene as «la mujer razón». Here Galdós is thinking with humorous regret of his own mistaken judgment of Juanita Lund as an incarnation of reason and of Kant's equally false conception of marriage as a rational agreement. Later Manso asks himself where all those fine qualities of serenity and reason that he saw in Irene came from, and he answers himself as follows:

«¡Ay! Aquellas prendas estaban en mis libros; productos fueron de mi facultad pensadora y sintetizante, de mi trato frecuente con la unidad y las grandes leyes, de aquel funesto don de apreciar arquetipos y no personas.»248 In another place he contrasts, in words derived from Kant, his insufficient contact with reality and his skill in abstract thought: «Aquella falta de habilidad mundana y esta sobra de destreza generalizadora provienen de la diferencia que hay entre mi razón práctica y mi razón pura; la una, incapaz como facultad de persona alejada del vivir activo; la otra, expeditísima, como don cultivado en el estudio.»249 Manso has been deluded by abstract thought, the product of reason and the chief characteristic of his beloved philosophy.

As I have said, Máximo's life no longer parallels that of Kant. It seems that Galdós' own experiences have now become uppermost in his mind. I believe that he idealized Juanita Lund, projecting into her character all the fine qualities that one could hope for in a perfect woman. When her marriage was announced he felt the deception of one whose house of cards has tumbled. Like Manso, he probably gained a new contact with reality and realized that a real woman, with her faults and even because of them, can have more charm than an abstract concept. In my opinion Galdós was thinking of his own love when he made Manso say «[...] al representármela despojada de aquellas perfecciones con que le vistió mi pensamiento, me interesaba mucho más, la quería más, en una palabra, llegando a sentir por ella ferviente idolatría. ¡Contradicción extraña! Perfecta, la quise a la moda petrarquista, con fríos alientos sentimentales... Imperfecta, la adoraba con nuevo y atropellado afecto, más fuerte que yo y que todas mis filosofías.»250 It seems that Galdós, like Manso, came to know the magnitude of his love and the importance of its loss only when the opportunity to attain it had been irrevocably lost.

Philosophy and Natural Law

The spiritual crisis through which Galdós passed in 1880 was a complicated one. We have seen two factors -his involvement in family affairs and his disillusionment in love- both of which had an element in common. Both drew him out of his private little world of routine work and literature and threw him into the real world of concrete affairs. But not only events of real life were pushing him towards a closer contact with reality: new literary theories were reenforcing the same tendency. To some extent the new love which Manso felt   —143→   towards the real Irene -la mujer mujer as opposed to la mujer razón- is a reflection of Galdós' partial renunciation of literary abstractions and his acceptance of a more realistic concept of literary creativity.251

Up to the end of 1879 Galdós has produced historical novels -his works of apprenticeship and two series of Episodios Nacionales- and four novels on the contemporary scene, usually called his «abstract» novels. In these latter works the characters regularly embody an idea -for example, Doña Perfecta is intolerant traditionalism and Pepe Rey liberalism; the characters of Marianela represent elements in the philosophy of Auguste Comte; Leon Roch is the Krausista free-thinker. It is notable that Galdós called these abstract novels Novelas contemporáneas at the time of their publication, but that later he changed their general title to Novelas de la primera época.252 Consider also the last words of Un faccioso más..., dated December, 1879, in which Galdós promises to devote himself to the study of «[...] tipos contemporáneos...» If we also remember that his next novel (La desheredada, whose preface is dated January 1881) was hailed by Clarín as a masterpiece of the naturalistic school,253 we can surmise that Galdós must have been undergoing a literary as well as an emotional crisis.

The evidence of Galdós' library backs up this belief. In it I found six novels of Zola, all dated 1878. Zola of course was not widely known even in France until 1877 when the furor over L'Assommoir put his name on everyone's lips. Galdós was by no means indifferent to the theories of this new literary giant.254 We must assume that he had already studied some of Zola's works when he promised a new orientation after finishing Un faccioso más...255

Manso's acceptance of reality as opposed to philosophical abstractions is then also to be related to Galdós' acceptance of the naturalistic techniques for achieving a more vital reality and his rejection of the methods of the abstract novel. Of course, it would be absurd to maintain that Don Benito took over all features of the experimental novel, yet without going outside of El amigo Manso, in which naturalism is certainly greatly modified, we can see numerous cases of its influence.

Specially, natural laws govern the actions of the various characters. Manso, speaking about women, says «Lo eterno femenino... tiene leyes que no pueden dejar de cumplirse.»256 At first he fails to see that Irene herself will be subject to the same laws, but later he tells her «Cumple usted fatalmente la ley asignada a la juventud y la belleza...»257 She must fall in love with Manuel according to the law which says she is the product of her temperament, the age in which she lives and the environment in which she is placed.258 Manso finally learns to accept Irene as she is, and he again reminds us of Taine when he gives his final analysis of her character: «Sentencia final: era como todas. Los tiempos, la raza, el ambiente no se desmentían en ella.»259 He is saddened at Manuel and Irene's worldly ambitions but excuses them by saying «Esto era natural, como la salida del sol...»260

Irene is by no means the only character explained by physical elements. Manuel's nature is the result of, among other things, his «[...] temperamento, entre nervioso y sanguíneo».261 Doña Cándida, who at one time is said to be   —144→   a woman «[...] cuya determinación psicofísica acusaba dos formas primordiales, linfatismo y vanidad...»262 at another time «[...] no podía... contravenir la ley de su carácter».263 Manso himself, before the interruption of his regular existence, lives a methodical life «[...] que tiene algo de las leyes astronómicas» and in another passage he attributes a weakening of his judgment to «un desorden físico, no sé qué reblandecimiento de los órganos que más relación tienen con la entereza de carácter»; in still another place he says he is in rebellious mood «motivada por la ley fatal de mi historia íntima».264

For our present purpose we are not interested in the other ways in which naturalistic literary techniques affect the composition of El amigo Manso.265 For now let us fix our attention on the determinism we have just noted and its consequences in Gald6s' thought. If people are subject to natural laws we must accept them as they are. As Manso says in his last philosophy lecture «Al fin, lo que debe ser es. La razón de las cosas triunfa de todo».266 By these words he does not mean that things are as they should be ideally, but merely that they are following laws of their own natures. It does little or no good to rail against people as they are. The philosopher will accept them with an ironical smile at their foibles, realizing that he himself is just as human as the others.267

The background of Manso's intellectual development

Literary naturalism in Spain cannot be fully understood without reference to the concurrent naturalistic trend in philosophy which parallelled and reinforced the development of the purely literary movement. About 1875-1880 the youthful intellectual group in Spain was turning away from the idealistic school represented by Kant, Hegel, and, in Spain, particularly by Krause. The breakup of the Krausista school came as Spaniards became aware of recent developments elsewhere in Europe. Positivism of the Comtian variety was introduced about 1875;268 by 1880 the newest trend was the evolutionary positivism of Herbert Spencer, based on the theories of Charles Darwin. The emphasis was now on science and natural laws, and of course this new philosophy was in accord with the scientific approach to reality of Zola and his followers. The philosophical vogue in Spain was a turning away from idealism to a new realism, a development which is reflected in Manso's changing beliefs and which also parallels Galdós' change from the «abstract» novel to a modified naturalism.

We can observe the growing importance of Spencer by examining periodicals and noting the number of articles concerning the English philosopher which appear in the period which interests us.269 We also find statements like the following one, made in 1881, where the new philosophy is contrasted with the «official» Thomistic school. «El evolucionismo de Herbert Spencer halla gran acogida, especialmente en los consagrados al estudio de las ciencias naturales. Mientras que la doctrina Escolástica domina en las esferas de ciencia oficial, el evolucionismo penetra y arraiga en muchas inteligencias jóvenes. El escolasticismo es lo que aparece a la superficie; pero la idea de la evolución anima y vivifica el fondo, y, o mucho nos equivocamos, o a ella pertenece el porvenir.»270 Clarín, speaking of Galdós' reading for his as yet unpublished Doctor Centeno, tells us that at that time (December 1882) Galdós was reading Spencer's work   —145→   on education.271 In the prologue to his translation of Tiberghien's Krause y Spencer (1883), Hermenegildo Giner de los Ríos says «En el movimiento filosófico contemporáneo que se desarrolla en España de pocos años a esta parte figura Spencer a la cabeza de los filósofos mas estimados, sustituyendo a Krause en la opinión de muchos, si bien guardando a éste respeto y veneración...»272 Shortly before his death in 1881 Manuel de la Revilla was involved in an Ateneo debate with Moreno Nieto. The latter said: «[...] la más alta filosofía, la de Hegel, declaró el Cristianismo religión absoluta; doblad la cabeza ante ella...»; to which Revilla responded: «Sí; la más alta y novísima ciencia, la de Spencer, proclama que la religión es lo indiscernible, y que puede y debe vivir en paz con la ciencia.»273 All goes to show that Spencer was the philosopher of the moment. Advocates of other systems complain; for example, Castelar, who considers Hegel's work to be «la verdadera filosofía del progreso» has to admit that «hay en los ánimos reacción vigorosa contra las ideas del mas generalizador, del más sintético entre los filósofos modernos; conozco que cae en desuso su formulario...»274 The change from Hegel to Spencer is something we shall see as a factor in the beliefs of Máximo Manso.

Before approaching this subject, we must look at the two other passages in the works of Galdós where Spencer is mentioned. In El doctor Centeno -published in 1883, but whose action takes place in 1863-4- we see Federico Ruiz writing first on Hegel, then beginning to study «sistemas desconocidos en España, a saber: los de Spencer, Hartmann». This was happening in a period when all Spain knew nothing but krausismo, and Ruiz undertook the study of the new systems, not because they evoked his sympathy or admiration, but in order to combat them as a champion of the scholastic school of St. Thomas Aquinas.275 The other mention of Spencer appears in Lo prohibido -written in 1884, but whose action begins in 1880. Here we have a contrasting list of «ideales del mundo antiguo y los prodigios del moderno: la Filosofía peripetética y el Teléfono de Edison, las Matemáticas de Euclides y la Educación física de Spencer...»276 It is clear that Galdós was presenting Spencer as a great novelty about 1880.

Now Máximo Manso, before the arrival of his brother's family, that is about 1878, was writing an introduction and notes to a work of Hegel.277 This was of course when he was still an idealistic philosopher, dealing in abstractions. He also mentions other works of his: Memoria sobre la psicogénesis y la neurosis; Comentarios a Du Bois-Raymond (sic); Traducción de Wundt; and articles refuting evolution «y las locuras de Haeckel».278 The first three titles give us the impression that he was a modern physiological psychologist like Du Bois-Reymond and Wundt, but the last entry, where he shows himself to be an opponent of Darwinism, makes us revise our opinion and see him still as an old-fashioned idealist. Perhaps we should, if there is any consistency in Manso's intellectual development, regard the anti-evolutionary articles as early works and the psychological studies as indications of the beginning of a new phase in his thought. This second phase is clearly revealed towards the end of his life -in 1881- where he tells us he is writing a prologue to a work of Spencer.279 It hardly seems possible that he would write an introduction for a work he did   —146→   not admire. So we conclude that Manso's two phases, the idealistic and the naturalistic, are reflected in the two prologues for the works of Hegel and of Spencer.

The two philosophers just mentioned are by no means the only ones named or alluded to in the course of the novel. Cousin, Schelling, Haeckel and Kant are specifically named; Comte and Taine are not named but the allusions to them are clear.280 Galdós makes Manso talk now in the language of one of these thinkers, now in that of another. We must think of Galdós as an informed amateur in philosophy, cognizant of what was going on in the field but not inexorably committed to any one of the new trends.281 In fact there is every reason to believe that his strongest ties were still to the Krausista school which had fired his youthful enthusiasm.282

This last statement can be illustrated by passages in El amigo Manso. When Manso tries to bring philosophy to his practical-minded pupil Manuel Peña, he begins by explaining to him «la indagación de un principio de certeza» and then urges him to meditate on «la unidad real entre el ser y el conocer»; and «la conformidad esencial del pensamiento con lo pensado».283 The three phrases just mentioned are italicized in the novel: this leads us to think that they are quotations, which is in fact true. In the Spanish translation of the work of the Belgian Krausista G. Tiberghien, Generación de los conocimientos humanos, 4 vols., Madrid (1875-76) there is a prologue by the two Spanish disciples of Krause, Nicolás Salmerón and Urbano González Serrano.284 Here, in a half a page, the prologuists use the exact phrases which Galdós has quoted:

«No debe extrañar, por tanto, que toda la parte teórica esté consagrada casi exclusivamente a la indagación de un principio de certeza [italics in text], en virtud del cual se afirme por reflexión propia que existe unidad real entre el Ser y el Conocer [italics mine]... De suerte que el pensamiento filosófico, cuya naturaleza como hecho de la vida, reside en la reflexión propia, exige además garantía de certeza para afirmar, no por obra del sujeto, sino en virtud de la realidad misma de lo cognoscible, la conformidad esencial del pensamiento con lo pensado»; (p. ix, italics mine).285

It is clear that Galdós had Tiberghien's work on his table as he was writing El amigo Manso. But did he really admire its Krausista doctrines or was he merely using the phrases, as meaningless to the uninitiated modern reader as they were to Manuel Peña, as a means of provoking a smile? Manso is a bit of a Quijote with his bizarre language and his projection of himself into a world of unreal abstractions,286 and as such does appeal to our sense of humor. But, like Quijote, Manso never completely renounces his idealism. Despite Spencer and Zola, Galdós makes his hero cling to some of his old beliefs and try to establish a harmonious synthesis of the old with the new.

Manso's final philosophy lesson is based on the idea that the particular fact, whether an event or a person, is an exemplification of a universal or abstract principle. Hence he deduces the preeminence of the philosopher over the man of action, for the former discovers the truth or general laws although the latter profits by them. The philosopher's conscience is likened to a tree, bearing flowers   —147→   and fruits for the benefit of all, repairing the damage done by individualism and the lack of synthesis in society.

Now this lesson is filled with Krausista phraseology, much of it taken specifically from the work of Tiberghien. In broad lines it follows in the first part the Krausista dialectic, according to which every human notion goes through the stages of unity, variety, and harmony.287 Here specifically we have philosophy, originally the unified concept of the search for truth, which then breaks into opposed idealistic and naturalistic schools, and is finally harmonized by Manso by showing that the abstract law and the real event are merely aspects of the same notion. The second part, the eulogy of the conscience, is also completely in line with Krausista doctrine.

Let us compare some of the details of Manso's lesson with Tiberghien's Generación de los conocimientos humanos. The gist of the lecture is to prove the importance of the philosopher in a world of practical affairs; in Tiberghien's book the introduction is entitled Importancia práctica de la filosofía (Vol. I, 9). Manso leads off with the idea that man is a microcosmos, that he contains «en admirable compendio todo el organismo del universo en sus variados órdenes...» Man, he says, is «como una reducción del universo...» In a single ordinary act one can sometimes see the application of universal principles.288 Tiberghien talks of these same matters (Vol. I, 13 and 22) but not in identical language.

The language becomes practically identical at the beginning of the next paragraph:

Galdós: «Existe alianza perfecta entre la sociedad y la Filosofía.» Tiberghien: «Existe, pues, un perfecto paralelismo entre la sociedad y la filosofía» (Vol. I, 38). Galdós goes on to say that the philosopher is constantly influencing society and «la Metafísica es el aire moral que respiran los espíritus sin conocerlo», corresponding to the Belgian's statements that nothing can take place in society without the aid of philosophy and that «la sociedad camina en pos de la metafísica» (Vol. I, 34).

Much more striking is the following comparison:

Galdós: «Considerada en su conjunto y unidad, la Filosofía es el triunfo lento o rápido de la razón sobre el mal y la ignorancia.» Tiberghien: «Considerada en su conjunto, en su unidad, represéntanos la filosofía el triunfo perpetuo de la razón sobre el mal y la ignorancia» (Vol. I, 48).

At this point Manso makes the statement to which we have already alluded: «Al fin, lo que debe ser es. La razón de las cosas triunfa de todo.»289 He then extolls the philosopher, especially his creative conscience. The conscience is like a tree, bringing flowers and fruits for the benefit of all. For Tiberghien (I, 71) the tree is a harmonious integration of a variety of parts -roots, trunk, leaves and owers- wich stands as a symbol o the Krausista ideal.

But at present harmony does not exist on the earth. Manso ends his discourse by drawing his students' attention to «la falta de un principio de organización. Porque la sociedad actual sufre el mal del individualismo. No hay síntesis». Tiberghien has the same complaints: «No existe, pues, en la sociedad ningún principio de organización» (I, 84). «Caracterizan a las sociedades modernas...   —148→   un aislamiento completo, un individualismo exclusivo» (I, 81). Egoism, the modern vice, is decried by both the Spaniard and the Belgian (I, 83).

There are enough specific verbal similarities between Galdós and Tiberghien to make me believe that the general ideas of Manso's discourse are derived from the Krausista propagandist. Yet why did Galdós, who seemed to be guiding Manso toward a complete break with idealistic philosophy, make his hero revert to a system which had lost much of its prestige? Why doesn't Manso become an out-and-out follower of Spencer?

On the purely human side, Manso is consoling himself for the inglorious role he has been forced to play in respect to Irene. He has indeed been manso with all the meekness, docility, and lack of virile spirit which this word connotes. But if, as he states, there is something above and beyond the facts and events of everyday life, he can console himself in the knowledge that in this superior realm he still holds the advantage. Now he is manso in another sense: the bellwether who leads the stupid sheep. The man of action carries off the superficial and transitory victories; the man of thought moves in the world of truth and is the guide of society towards a better organization in which egoism and individualism will no longer corrupt the ideal.

Just as Manso sought personal consolation, so Galdós also compensated for his disappointment in love by the thought that as a novelist he could give direction to his country.

But there is another reason why Manso turns to Krausismo. Spencer was focusing his attention on the tangible and declared that God and metaphysics were in the realm of the unknowable. The earlier idealist felt that reality was only the last stage of a series of forces and laws which had God as their point of origin.290 How to reconcile these two opposed points of view? Only by the realization that the individual event is bound to a higher law. We should not fail to see the universal in the particular.291 Manso brings about a reconciliation by showing that idealism and naturalism can both be true within a larger point of view.292

Now at the time that Galdós wrote El amigo Manso he seems to have turned his back on the «abstract» novel and to have embraced the new theories of literary naturalism. But the modified form in which he accepted Zola's system -retaining many elements of his former techniques- shows that here too was an attempt at a synthesis.293 The Krausista notion of harmony did not imply the destruction of the conflicting varieties. They were to continue to exist but were to be viewed as parts of a whole; hence their struggle for exclusive domination ceased as each fell into its assigned subordinate position. These are considerations which we must keep in mind when analyzing the modified naturalism of Galdós' novels both before and after El amigo Manso.

Although suggestions from many sources undoubtedly combined in Galdós' subconscious mind to form the figure of Máximo Manso, there is little doubt that Don Benito himself was one of the principal models. His problems during   —149→   his personal crisis of 1879-80 are reflected in Manso's dilemma, and his reorientation towards a new concept of realism, a compromise form of French naturalism, is revealed in Manso's new awareness of reality.

University of Minnesota

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