Tuesday, February 25, 2014

More fun with footnotes in Angel Guerra, naturally

There's a footnote on page 95 of Angel Guerra (Pérez, Galdós Benito. A Translation of "Angel Guerra" by Benito Pérez Galdós. Lewiston (N.Y.: E. Mellen Press, 1990.), translated by Karen O. Austin, where Angel signals he is supporting his seven-year-old daughter's anarchy instead of imposing order, as the governess has requested. Angel’s phrase, translated, is Let us proceed, and I the first, along the constitutional path.
Angel’s phrase here—Marchemos, y yo el primero, por la senda constitucional—is an almost perfect reproduction of the phrase Marchemos francamente, yo el primero, por la senda constitucional uttered by Fernando VII when he finally found himself forced to accept—temporarily at least—the Constitution. Given that, and Angel’s own political orientation, it comes across as being both bitter and ironic. A short but very stinging Galdosian portrait of this monarch can be found in La Fontana de Oro (1870). It is perhaps worth noting in passing that one of Galdós’more famous tag-lines—francamente, naturalmente (frankly, naturally—constantly voiced by the character of Ido in Fortunata and Jacinta (1886-87), and earlier by the narrator himself at the end of The Bringas Woman (1884), may stem in part from Galdós’ disgust at Fernando’s hypocrisy.
Notice the omission of the word francamente in Angel’s phrasing. OK, this caused me to look up some of the references from the books I've read and I was surprised at what I found. (I hope to get to La Fontana de Oro in a few monthsit's in the TBR stacks.)
The Bringas Woman (The Spendthrifts) first: I look to the end of my edition and do see the word “natural” near the end but doesn’t see anything worthy of pointing out. To the online Spanish edition. Francamente appears 10 times in the text, naturalmente twice, both appearing together at the end of the novel. “Francamente, naturalmente, les vi salir con pena. My Spanish is awful, but something along the lines of “Frankly, naturally, I watched them leave with regret.” Heh. That does sound like a dig at Fernando VII now that I know what to look for. As to my translation, though, I now notice there are only 47 chapters. The Spanish edition has 50. Sigh. Was something left out, or was it only reconfigured? Looks like I need to revisit this in a different translation.
On to Fortunata and Jacinta. Francamente appears only once in the online Spanish edition, naturalmente twenty times. Sr. Ido, for those that have read the novel, was the publications salesman that first shows up on the Santa Cruz doorstep on page 119 of the English translation by Agnes Moncy Gullón. He turns “electric” when he eats meat and believes his wife is having an affair. (He also provides Jacinta with some delicate “information,” but I won’t spoil it for those that haven’t read the novel.) 

Six “naturally” referenced quotes are by him just in the subchapter he’s introduced (Volume One, Chapter 8, sub-chapter 4). I’m not sure why Galdós puts the word in this character's mouth so often. My best guess is that Ido is both truthful and a fraud, a paradox the author brilliantly depicts, although he's not willingly a hypocrite. Regardless, I love little tidbits like this.

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