Publication details [#5587]

Harpring, Mark. 2007. Gossiping and hysterical Manolo Infante: Traditional gender role crossing as political metaphor in Galdos's 'La Incognita'. Filozofia Publiczna i Edukacja Demokratyczna 90 (1) : 1–9. 9 pp. URL


When Galdós wrote 'La incógnita' in 1888 and 1889, he no longer viewed the middle class as an effective force in Restoration politics. In this novel, Galdós critiques Spanish politics through a discourse of gender inflections related to a middle-class politician. Gossip and hysteria, commonly associated with women during the nineteenth century, are assigned to the protagonist Manolo Infante. His crossing the divide between masculine and feminine characteristics reflects the problems that Galdós believed were impeding the nation's progress. Infante's unsuccessful attempts to disguise gossip as truth and to mask his mental disorder foreground the appearance versus reality dichotomy that often surfaces in Galdós's novels. He thus subtly reveals the illusory nature of the purportedly democratic Spanish political system which was, in reality, riddled with corruption and self-interest. (Mark Harpring)