Galdós does not, at this stage in his writing, formally distinguish between the two; the split between Marx and Bakunin had, of course, occurred only in 1871. While Bou, as a printer (printing-workers formed the nucleus of the Spanish Socialist Party, recently founded in 1879) and with his gospel of labour, would seem to be a portrait of a socialist, Mariano, despite being Bou's disciple, is clearly the stock figure of the anarchist terrorist.
«Galdós's La desheredada and Naturalism», BHS, XLV (1968), 286-98.
The one critic to have paid attention to the title of La desheredada, A. Regalado García (Benito Pérez Galdós y la novela histórica española: 1868-1912, Madrid, 1966, pp. 219-20), also interprets it as politically symbolic, but does not consider the possibility, which I hope to demonstrate below, of its ironic application. Although pointing out Galdós's criticism of the methods used by the poor to obtain wealth and position, Regalado García nevertheless considers that Galdós is depicting Isidora and Mariano as tragic victims of an unjust society -i. e. as genuinely «disinherited».
«Pero aquel día mi benéfico hermano quiso dar indubitables pruebas de su interés por las clases desheredadas [...]» (Obras completas, 6th, ed., vol. IV, Madrid, 1966, p. 1240). All references to La desheredada in this article are to the same volume and edition.
It is curious that Galdós awards Bou an inheritance with seeming approval: the reason, of course, is precisely that Bou (despite his views on the rights of the working class as a whole) never regarded such an inheritance as personally owing to him; his inheritance is, therefore, a just reward for a lifetime of initiative and enterprise. It is worth noting that Galdós is not, in this novel, criticising money as such -or even the principle of inheritance- but merely the attitude that wealth is a right.
«La marquesa era una mujer de otras edades» (p. 1025): compare Galdós' treatment of the Marquesa de Aransis to that of Rafael in the Torquemada novels. Significantly, Isidora's quixotic uncle, as un upholder of the values of the old order, dies during the course of the novel (coinciding, in fact, with Amadeo's abdication -i. e. with the end of the monarchy). Similarly, the fervent monarchist La Sanguijuelera is described as an incarnation of «el entusiasmo monárquico del antiguo pueblo de Madrid» (pp. 1145-6), i. e. as a phenomenon of the past.
Galdós' use of the first person plural here -and later the 2nd person plural- clearly shows where his own allegiance -and the supposed allegiance of his readers- lies. The phrase is repeated on p. 1081: «Todos nosotros que no tenemos callosidades en las manos».
It should be pointed out, however, that Bou evolves in the course of the novel. His encounter with Isidora initially gives him a taste for luxury, and finally leaves him with a general cynicism: «Si quieres trabajar, trabaja; si no quieres trabajar, no trabajes. En este mundo el que más trabaja tiene probabilidades de morirse de hambre. [...] Aquí hay dos papeles: el de víctima y el de verdugo. ¿Cuál vale más? El de verdugo. Chupar y chupar todo lo que se pueda» (p. 1136). But, despite this disillusionment with his socialist principles, Bou does of course continue to work, and is genuinely horrified when Mariano translates his nihilism into practice.
See L. Maristany, El gabinete del doctor Lombroso (Delincuencia y fin de siglo en España), Barcelona, 1973. The basis of Lombroso's theories was the sinister suggestion of a hereditary, biological link between criminality, madness, anarchism (and genius). Mariano is a child-murderer, with a history of madness in the family, and by the end of the novel suffering from an «evidente desorden cerebral» (p. 1151); the idea of regicide is depicted as the immediate result of epilepsy, and the actual assassination attempt is not only preceded by an «ataque epiléptico» but is described as the combined product of «la demencia» and «el mismo criminal instinto» (p. 1148). Although Lombroso's first major work on the congenital nature of criminality (L'uomo delinquente) was published in 1876, it was not translated into French till 1887, when it became a topic of discussion in Spain for the first time; Lombroso's writing on anarchism were only published in the 1890s (Il delitto politico e le rivoluzioni , Gli anarchici , and his works only began to be translated into Spanish in 1892. It is, therefore, virtually impossible that Galdós knew of Lombroso's ideas, unless at second hand through his contacts in the médical world. M. Gordon («The Medical Background to Galdós's La desheredada», AG, VII , 67-77) has convincingly suggested a concrete genesis for Mariano in the real-life terrorist Otero, tried and executed for attempted regicide in 1880. Nevertheless, the coincidence with Lombroso is significant at least in revealing commonly-held prejudices towards social misfits such as the delinquent, the madman and the revolutionary.
Galdós is not, of course, wholly uncritical of Manuel Peña, but he clearly regards his social success as both right and natural. A similar assertion not just of the need but of the actual existence in Spain of a genuinely democratic social structure is made by the narrator in Fortunata y Jacinta (Obras completas, 7th ed., vol. V, Madrid, 1970, p. 65), all the more surprisingly since this novel is precisely about class differentials, with only the child at the end holding out a somewhat dubious hope for fusion in the future.