Critical Evaluation

(Essentials of European Literature)

Benito Pérez Galdós, a great figure in Spanish literature of the late nineteenth century, wrote thirty novels in addition to the forty-six in his series called National Episodes. Angel Guerra belongs to a group of about eight that present a picture of religious faith and the results of fanaticism on Spanish life. This group includes some of his best, DONA PERFECTA (1876), GLORIA (1876-1877), THE FAMILY OF LEON ROCH (1878), and THE CRAZY WOMAN IN THE HOUSE (1892). ANGEL GUERRA is the story of a politician and a mystic, a character whose names, “Angel” and “War,” were intended to present his dual personality. As a result of environmental circumstances, Angel was made a rebel who hated his mother, yet he received from her the wealth that meant his personal freedom. Not only does the novel depict the working of fate but also presents a philosophy of religion and the influence of a deeply religious atmosphere on a man who was essentially destructive and modern. Besides the intermingling of human and religious love, the novel contains a realistic touch in having violence and crime cure idealism. As always, in the novels of this great local-color artist, the painting of the background is unforgettable: the summer houses in the suburbs of Toledo, the narrow cobbled streets of the city, and the noble, austere cathedral.

ANGEL GUERRA is a pathological case study. It is the second-longest of Pérez Galdós’ novels, and its subject matter has been compared to William James’s THE VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE...

(The entire section is 649 words.)