Azorín (Pseudonym of José Martínez Ruiz) Julian Palley - Essay

Julian Palley

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

In Doña Inés there is the Nietzschean Eternal Return; there is the Proustian evocation of the past through a physical sensation; there is an historical or demiurgic … vision of change and the passage of time; there is time as duration, in the Bergsonian sense; and there are many other variations on the temporal theme in this short, poetic and eloquent novel…. There are also, of course, the things that Azorín loved and described so well with his hawklike vision. In Doña Inés the things themselves are images or symbols of the various aspects of time; they are the objective correlatives (in Eliot's sense) of the emotions that the contemplation of time and its effects produces in the author. (pp. 250-51)

Chapter II contains a detailed and loving description of the protagonist in the year of the novel, 1840…. At the end of the chapter the point of view shifts to the present, as the narrator, in his own voice, examines a daguerreotype that was made of her in 1840…. The faded daguerreotype symbolizes the passage of time, and the difficulty of evoking a life lived a century ago. The daguerreotype produces in the author the emotion of le temps perdu, of an irretrievable past; the object itself is the correlative, the image of that emotion.

The print of Buenos Aires that hangs in Doña Inés' room is one of those things, objects, that evoke in Azorín various emotions…. Within the structure of the work, the print of Buenos Aires also symbolizes the past and the future, the simple story out of which the novel is woven. It is the past of Diego el de Garcillán, who was raised in the Argentine capital; and it is the future of Doña Inés herself, who will pass her last years in Argentina, not far from the great city. (p. 251)

El tío Pablo appears to be a somewhat deformed self-portrait of the author. He is the personage most aware of the passage of time, of time as duration….

One of the most striking "images of time," in these chapters devoted to Don Pablo, and in the work itself, is that which Azorín calls el tiempo cristalizado. It refers to the experience of meeting someone after years of absence or separation; we have before us simultaneously, on such occasions, the reality of the present and the image in our...

(The entire section is 958 words.)