Benito Pérez Galdós (Spain, 1843-1920)
Novelist, dramatist, and journalist
Recognized as the foremost Spanish novelist since Miguel de Cervantes, Benito Pérez Galdós is widely known for the detailed analysis of Spanish society shown in his narrative and the development of psychologically complex and compelling characters. Many of his novels were adapted for both the stage and for the screen.
Born to a middle-class family in Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain, Pérez Galdós moved to Madrid to attend law school in 1862. He soon abandoned his studies to immerse himself in the life of the city and dedicated himself to journalism. His first novel, La fontana de oro (1870: “The Golden Fountain) brought him a reasonable success. He started working on a long series of historical novels about nineteenth-century Spain. Profoundly convinced in the power of narrative, Pérez Galdós wanted to offer his contemporaries not only an extended picture of historical events and daily life in Spain, but also to suggest a different future for his country. Written during the 1870s, the first two series of the Episodios nacionales (“National Episodes”), with ten novels each, covered Spanish history from the Battle of Tragalfar (1805) and the Napoleonic Wars to the conflicts between liberals and conservatives that led to the first Carlist War (1833-1839). These works established his reputation as a novelist.
During the 1880s, the register of Pérez Galdós’ narrative shifted from historical orientation to perceptive examination of cultural and social dynamics in Spanish society. Fortunata y Jacinta (1886-1887), acclaimed as his literary masterpiece, dates to this period. After 1898, he resumed his Episodios nacionales, this time addressing more recent historical events, including events he had personally experienced.
A prolific writer, Pérez Galdós also wrote for the theater. He produced 22 plays – some adapted from previously written novels and others written directly for the stage. His most famous plays are La loca de la casa (1893) and El abuelo (1904).
Benito Pérez Galdós served various terms on the Spanish Parliament. In 1897, he was elected to the Royal Spanish Academy. Although suffering from both financial difficulties and health problems, he never stopped writing, not even when affected by blindness.
FOUNDATION AND INSTITUTIONAL WEBSITES
Año Galdós - Comunidad de Madrid
SELECTED WORKS BY BENITO PÉREZ GALDÓS AT IU BLOOMINGTON LIBRARIES
Selected Works by Benito Pérez Galdós
Selected Plays by Benito Pérez Galdós
Other Selected Works by Benito Pérez Galdós
Works by Benito Pérez Galdós in English
Pérez Galdós, Benito. 1989 . The Golden Fountain Cafe: A Historic Novel of the XIXth Century [La Fontana de Oro]. Translated by Walter Ruin. Edited by Yvette E Miller. Pittsburgh PA: Latin American Literary Review Press.
Criticism on Benito Pérez Galdós
Bibliographies on Benito Pérez Galdós
Plano de Madrid en las novelas de Don Benito Pérez Galdós. Segovia: Aventuras Literarias, 2021
ORIGINAL WORKS AND CRITICISM IN OPEN ACCESS
Epistolario Galdosiano (Correspondence) Casa-Museo Pérez Galdós
Benito Pérez Galdós - Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes
Pérez Galdós y los Episodios Nacionales en las Bibliotecas de los Archivos Estatales - Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte - Gobierno de España
Digitized works by Benito Pérez Galdós in Biblioteca Digital Hispánica - Biblioteca Nacional de España.
Expediente Personal del Académico Benito Pérez Galdós - Archivo de la Real Academia Española, Madrid. [Pérez Galdós’ Official file records as elected member of the Royal Spanish Academy.]
Cartas de Emilia Pardo Bazán a Benito Pérez Galdós - Archivo de la Real Academia Española, Madrid [Collection of correspondence sent by prominent Spanish writer Emilia Pardo Bazán to Pérez Galdós.]
Pérez Galdós - Memoria Digital Canaria [Digital collection of images and works about Pérez Galdós.]
Benito Pérez Galdós - Biblioteca Virtual del Patrimonio Bibliográfico
ONLINE AUDIO AND VISUAL RECORDINGS
The 19th Century: Romanticism and Realism-in Spanish. Films On Demand. 2002. Accessed November 14, 2020. [The program explores the lives and works of leading figures of Spanish Romanticism and Realism. Readings include excerpts from Benito Pérez Galdós.] Resource available to authorized IU Bloomington users (on or off campus)
Film, TV, and Radio adaptations
Fortunata y Jacinta - RTVE
Episodios nacionales - RTVE
El Gran Teatro de la Pescadería [Animated short film based on El Gran Teatro de la Pescadería (1862), a sketchbook by Benito Pérez Galdós, Casa Museo Pérez Galdós, 2020.]
Reportages, TV programs
Documental de Pérez Galdós - Archivo Histórico de Televisión Española TVE en Canarias
Benito Pérez Galdós, Centenario 1920-2020 - TVE Televisión Española, January 9, 2020
Benito Pérez Galdós - LibriVox (free publi domain audiobooks).
ONLINE EXHIBITIONS AND TRIBUTES
Galdós en el laberinto de España - Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando
Benito Perez Galdos: santanderino - Ayuntamiento de Santander, 2020.
La realidad de una esperanza: Galdós, la memoria y la poesía - Actividades culturales del Instituto Cervantes. [An audiovisual companion to the curated exhibition organized by the Instituto Cervantes features prominent contemporary Spanish actors interpreting and reciting texts written by Benito Pérez Galdós or inspired by his works.] For the same exhibition, see also Actividades culturales del Instituto Cervantes.
Benito Pérez Galdós, Académico de número - Real Academia Española
Cómo salvar a Galdós para la posteridad: de la aniquilación al reconocimomento, by Jesús Ruiz Mantilla - El País, Oct 8, 2020. [A collection of articles on Benito Pérez Galdós published in El País, Spain’s the newspaper of record.]
Galdós es Madrid – Mapa cultural ilustrado [This illustrated map shows the historic sites where the author wrote and spent his life in Madrid. Available for download in Spanish and English.]
Madrid 1808 Project - Memoria de Madrid
Fortunata and Jacinta walk through the Rios Rosas station. [Metro de Madrid in collaboration with the Madrid Publishers Association pay tribute to Benito Pérez Galdós on the centenary of his death decorating the the platforms and corridors of the Rios Rosas station with the full text of the novel Fortunata and Jacinta, as well as illustrations and notable quotes from the work.']