Follow the money : representations of capital in Galdós

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Taking into account John Vernon's assertion in Money and Fiction that "money is perhaps the most common theme in nineteenth-century fiction" (7), it is not surprising that money is a recurrent theme in the novelas contemporáneas of nineteenth-century Spanish novelist, Benito Peréz Galdós. While literary economic criticism is blooming in literary studies, nineteenth-century Hispanists have not approached their work using this critical reading. This study attempts to answer the following question: What is Galdós revealing about his contemporary society through his representations of capital? This analysis literally follows the money in order to examine Galdós's scathing criticism of the Spanish middle class as an unproductive and adynamic social force. While there are many studies that link the disavowal of the Spanish bourgeoisie—high and low—in fulfilling the political role that its European counterparts had played in transforming the political and economic structures of the ancien régime, none have looked at the economic criticism Galdós makes in the "Contemporary Novels, " from La desheredada (1881) to Miau (1888), which I call the novels of capital. In order to have an adequate sense of Galdós's depiction of money, his views about money, his financial practices, his profits from his artistic labor, and his positioning within the marketplace becomes increasingly pertinent. Chapter one, "Galdós as an English Businessman in the Fabrication of a Novel Market, " explores our novelist's own relation to capital and the forces of the market. The careful examination of Galdós's artistic milieu and financial practices contextualizes the role of the market in his novelistic discourse. The following two chapters look at the representations of money through metaphors for capital and exchange—work and conspicuous consumption. Chapter two, "Señoritismo: The Anti-Work Ethic in Galdós, " examines both work and the lack of work in Galdós's "Contemporary Novels." Chapter three, "Conspicuous Consumption: The Transformation of Economic Capital into Symbolic Capital, " looks at the recurrent theme of conspicuous consumption of both male and female characters as a means of converting economic capital into symbolic capital in order maintain or attain a reputable position in society. Through the representations of capital Galdós reveals that values are shifting—moral and exchange values—and what once had been stable economic and societal tenets are no longer stable.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2012
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Barraza, Nicole Patricia
Associated with Stanford University, Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Primary advisor Predmore, Michael P
Thesis advisor Predmore, Michael P
Thesis advisor Ruffinelli, Jorge
Thesis advisor Surwillo, Lisa
Advisor Ruffinelli, Jorge
Advisor Surwillo, Lisa


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Nicole P. Barraza.
Note Submitted to the Department of Iberian and Latin American Cultures.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2012 by Nicole Patricia Barraza
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

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