«The most complex characters in Galdós are those who do not know how to manage their emotions»
Luisa Elena Delgado, professor at the University of Illinois, will give the closing speech of the 12th Galdosian congress tomorrow
Luisa Elena Delgado,
Professor of Literature, Critical Theory and Gender Studies at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign) Delivers this Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
the closing speech of the 12th Galdosian International Congress with a dissertation in which he will talk about the public dimension of emotions in Galdós's work.
Delgado applies the term of the
affective dissonance coined by critic Clare Hemmings, to refer to the study of characters in Galdosian narrative "whose texts are populated by protagonists with a sense of personal identity that is often repressed or invalidated", as is the evident case of her
female prototypes ('Tormento', 'La de Bringas', 'Fortunata', 'Tristana'), but also male ones ('Pedro Polo', 'Rafael del Águila', 'Maxi Rubín', 'Angel Guerra').
«What interests me is to demonstrate how these affective dissonances are not only indicative of a
individual and psychological alienation, but demonstrate the involvement of the emotional and the social. Instead of the traditional dichotomy of the self against the world, my analysis explores how Galdós constructs the complex relationship between bodies, affects and the world: the way of affecting and being affected, what moves us towards something and what
holds us in a fixed position», indicates the galdosista, a specialist in analysis and cultural history with special emphasis on the rhetorical, ideological and political construction of the culture of normality and consensus of Spanish democracy.
For Delgado «
the world of Galdós is very broad and complexand some of his most complex and admirable characters are, ironically, the ones who don't know how to manage their emotions to their benefit like
Isidora Rufete, Fortunata, Tristana, Benigna or Ángel Guerra. The Galdosian narrative is full of 'willing' characters in its positive and negative double meaning: they oppose, resist and block, but also embody the ability of human beings to firmly reorient themselves, even if it is in the field of imagination, towards new directions, personal and social”, he adds.
The author of the Spanish version 'The culture of emotions and the emotions of contemporary Spanish culture', published by Cátedra in 2018, prefers to avoid the concept of 'feminine soul' contained in the universe traced by Galdós in her fictional production and speak more of a «
recreation of subjectivity, masculine and feminine. What certain authors achieve, Galdós among them, is to build complex subjectivities, without reducing them to stereotypes, without simplifying them, neither for better nor for worse.
Rosalia de Bringas, for example, is an extraordinarily accomplished character, and yet cannot be considered 'positive'. The shallowness of his desire, his exhibitionism and consumerism, his classism, run parallel to his personal dissatisfaction and his questioning of his place in the world. These paradoxes of the character's subjectivity are reflected with extraordinary insight in both 'Tormento' and 'La de Bringas' », he points out.
in his essay
'The elusive image' It raises how the Galdosian narrative project questions the literary conventions themselves and represents the power structures of the time. "It's not about creating a new genre.
The Galdosian novel is, without a doubt, part of the great narratives of the 19th century, but its project is very characteristic and closely linked to the Spanish reality and the perspective of the author. Fredric Jameson, one of the few Anglo-Saxon critics who includes Galdós in the list of great nineteenth-century narrators, maintains that Galdós overcomes the antinomies characteristic of realism, creating texts that work in relation, not to the principle of unity, but of heterogeneity, a principle which is underpinned by a complicated game of narrative perspectives (something that for me is a success and not a hindrance)", says Delgado, who in 2014 was a finalist for the National Essay Award with his work
'The Singular Nation' in which he maintains that the essential quality of democracy consists in opening up to singular ways of belonging to it, and in questioning the ways of sharing the territory.