Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

Abraham Wolf

Abraham Wolf, a wealthy British banker who is sailing his yacht, the Cornucopia, to found a Jewish colony in Africa.

Dr. Silvestre Paradox

Dr. Silvestre Paradox (seel-VEHS-treh pah-rah-DOHKS), who is invited to accompany Wolf. In Africa, he becomes king of a native tribe. He voices the author’s philosophic ideas throughout the book.

Avelino Diz

Avelino Diz (ah-bay-LEE-noh dees), Paradox’s companion and skeptical friend.


Pelayo (pay-LAH-yoh), a scoundrel who was once Paradox’s secretary.

Arthur Sipsom

Arthur Sipsom, an English needle manufacturer and a guest aboard the Cornucopia.

Eichthal Thonelgeben

Eichthal Thonelgeben, a scientist guest.

Miss Pich

Miss Pich (peesh), an ex-ballet dancer and guest.

“The Cheese Kid,”

“The Cheese Kid,” an ex-cancan dancer and guest.

General Pérez

General Pérez (PEH-rehs), another guest.

Dora Pérez

Dora Pérez, his daughter.


Mingote (meen-GOH-tay), a revolutionist aboard the Cornucopia.


Hardibrás (ahr-dee-BRAHS), a soldier with a hook in place of his hand.

Monsieur Chabouly

Monsieur Chabouly (shah-bew-LEE), a French chocolate maker and emperor of Western Nigritia, the location of his plantations.


Goizueta (goh-ee-ZWAY-tah), who is made captain of the Cornucopia when the original captain is lost in a storm.

King Kiri

King Kiri (KEE-ree), who enjoys killing those subjects he dislikes. When rebels kill him, Paradox is made king.


Funangué (few-nah[n]-GAY), prime minister of King Kiri.

Princess Mahu

Princess Mahu (MAH-ew), the king’s daughter, who ends up as a nude nightclub dancer.


Bagú (bah-GEW), a jealous medicine man who hates Paradox but loves Mahu.


Ugú (ew-GEW), a friendly native.


(Great Characters in Literature)

Barrow, Leo L. Negation in Baroja: A Key to His Novelistic Creativity. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1971. Explores the novelist’s technique of “creating by destroying,” an approach he shares with other modern writers who rebel against conventional Western values. Discusses the style, dialogue, atmosphere, characterization, and landscape in Paradox, King and other novels to explain how Baroja uses fiction to express his philosophical, political, and social attitudes.

Devlin, John. Spanish Anticlericalism: A Study in Modern Alienation. New York: Las Americas, 1966. Links Baroja with other pre-Republican writers whose works exhibit strong anticlerical bias. Locates the source of his disdain for religion in the agnosticism that underlies Paradox, King and his other novels.

Landeira, Ricardo. The Modern Spanish Novel 1898-1936. Boston: Twayne, 1985. A chapter on Baroja surveys the novelist’s achievement and discusses Paradox, King and the other novels in the trilogy dealing with “The Fantastic Life.” Calls the novel the bitterest of the three in attacking social ills.

Patt, Beatrice P. Pío Baroja. New York: Twayne, 1971. Excellent introduction to the writer and his works. Briefly discusses Baroja’s attitudes toward the church and state. Reviews Baroja’s use of extended dialogue in Paradox, King; points out how it permits him to introduce personal prejudices into a work he considered “half-fantasy, half-satirical poem.”

Reid, John T. Modern Spain and Liberalism. Stanford, Calif.: Stanford University Press, 1937. Extensive study of Baroja’s novels as documents chronicling the social and political climate in his country. Claims the novelist intends that Paradox, King and other works serve as statements of the principles of liberalism that counter the fascist tendencies of his homeland.