Rich and Poor in Nineteenth-Century Spain

Rich and Poor in Nineteenth-Century Spain

A Critique of Liberal Society in the Later Novels of Benito Pérez Galdós

Inma Ridao Carlini

A full exploration of Galdós's treatment of questions relating to the creation and distribution of wealth in the modern money-centred society of Restoration Spain.
Winner of the 2017 Peter Bly Award of the Asociación Internacional de Galdosistas

Rich and Poor follows Galdós's narrative of the ascent of the bourgeoisie in the speculative climate which resulted from the economic policies of the liberal State. The book also considers the way he portrays the consequences of these policies on the people left behind by the development of capitalism in Spain. Ridao Carlini brings recent scholarship on nineteenth-century Spanish history together with a wealth of contemporary material--journalism, essays, pamphlets and costumbrista sketches of manner. In this way Galdós's novels are shown to participate in the varied currents of critical thought - both conservative and socially radical--which questioned the theoretical basis of the Spanish liberal system from the mid-nineteenth century onwards.
To this day no other critical work on Galdós has analysed the financial and economic aspects of Galdós's mature novels in the depth they deserve. Ridao Carlini shows that these aspects are central, both to the novels' narrative and to Galdós's understanding of Spanish society as the nineteenth century drew to a close. She also reveals Galdós's perception--one which he shares with other contemporary authors--that he was living through a time of unforeseeable social transformation. Galdós's work appears particularly relevant to us today, since we, like him, live in a time marked by a perception of social and economic uncertainty.

Inma Ridao Carlini is a Teaching Fellow in Hispanic Studies, University of Leicester.

Table of Contents

Changing Fortunes and the Financial World in Galdós's Lo prohibido
From Usurer to Marqués: Lending and Social Advancement in the Torquemada Novels
Revolution and the Politics of Religion in Ángel Guerra
The cuestión social in Misericordia

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