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Typographic rustic ISBN: 9788498165982
Nazarín, the protagonist who gives name to this novel is a young priest created by Benito Pérez Galdós. It is a character who puts ahead of his ecclesiastical career his mystical conception of religion and the world.
Nazarin understands that the only way to be in the world is to act in the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. That is, divesting oneself of all ambition and dedicating one’s existence to the service of others, especially those most in need.
Thus he abandoned his comfortable priestly life in Madrid to take to the roads. In his wandering through the suburbs of southern Madrid he is accompanied by two women, Ándara and Beatriz. But the radical idea of holiness pursued by Nazarín clashes with the ignorance and frivolity of the superstitious inhabitants of the villages he visits.
In line with the argument, the Canarian writer makes a critique of the positivist ideology of progress. He also denounces the exhaustion of institutionalized politics, and the apology of a rebellious humanism against injustice, poverty and inequality, scourges very present in the Spain of the Restoration.
The novel, enlivened by a magnificent gallery of characters from the village, retains the inimitable features and style characteristic of the Galdosian work of maturity.
Most critics see this novel as a close reading of Leo Tolstoy’s work. Although other Galdosist scholars, such as Gustavo Correa, believe that, above Tolstoy, the Spanish mystical tradition weighed on Galdós. In particular, John of the Cross and Teresa of Jesus. Their lives and works seem the model of contemplation-action that moves the acts of Nazarín.
On the other hand, Nazarín intertwines the precepts of Christianity with the Spanish literary tradition of the picaresque and Cervantine novel. To be more precise, it follows the legacy of Jesus Christ and Don Quixote. In any case, the essence of the story is the human density of Nazarín and his conception of active charity.
The international projection that the literary production of Benito Pérez Galdós has had thanks to Luis Buñuel has been very important. Three of Buñuel’s films: Nazarín, Tristana and Viridiana, are inspired by Galdós’ works. The first two are based on Galdós’s homonymous novels, and the last one is distantly extracted from one of his lesser-known works, Halma. Buñuel’s admiration for this work is evident:
“Nazarin is a man out of the ordinary and for whom I feel great affection […] It is a novel of his last stage and not the most successful, but its story and its character are exciting, or at least to me they suggested many things, they worried me.»Luis Buñuel
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