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Fortunata and Jacinta: Two Stories of Married Women Paperback – Mar 7 1989

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 848 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reprint edition (March 7 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140433058
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140433050
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 5 x 19.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 640 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #662,810 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

This new translation of Spanish novelist Perez Galdos's 19th century tale depicting society during the Alfonsine restoration of 1875, a masterpiece patterned on Balzac and Dickens, provides a read that is startlingly fresh and immediate. Fortunata, a glorious woman of the people, struggles all her life against the angelic, bourgeois Jacinta; both adore Jacinta's charming, selfish husband, the sybarite Juanito. Perez Galdos (18431920) steeps his story in scenes of working- and middle-class Madrid that are panoramic and intimate: the streets and reeking tenements, shops and stalls that open like mouths, the fashion trades, cafes where idlers thrash out politics, the pharmacy where Fortunata's sickly husband Maxi goes mad with jealousy, the convent in which the passionate Fortunata is locked to repent her promiscuity, the twin beds where Juanito caresses Jacinta with lies. Gentle Jacinta buying a baby she thinks is Fortunata's is just one of the novel's shrewd, unforgettable characterizations that reveal the commercial nexus and often animal thirst for power infecting the populous Perez Galdos world. A vast, savory novel in the great tradition, this is not to be missed.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This masterpiece of Spain's greatest novelist after Cervantes, appearing on the centennial of its composition, complements the same publisher's issue of another overlooked classic, Alas's La Regenta ( LJ 3/1/84). The sprawling plot and polyphonic structure resist easy summary but essentially focus on the interrelationships of two married couplesthe refined but barren Jacinta and her pampered, philandering husband, whose mistress, the lowborn but fertile Fortunata, is wed to a sickly schizophrenicinto whose lives swarms a hive of secondary characters from all walks of 19th-century Madrid life. Gullon's translation is much more readable, contemporary, and accurate than Lester Clark's partial translation (Penguin, 1973). An essential acquisition. Lawrence Olszewski, P.L. of Columbus & Franklin Cty., Ohio
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Don Benito Perez Galdos is the most important novelist of the Spanish language, right after Cervantes.
This is his masterpiece. Galdos has many great works, but this one has all the ingredients that you may find in his other smaller works.
It is a huge work, the size of "War and Peace" or "Middlemarch", but it reads like a short story. I remember reading it during my college time, and not being able to put the book down, getting late too often to appointments, or just daydreaming trying to picture the streets of Madrid in the 19th century, the faces of the two leading ladies...
Absolutly wonderful. A must read for anyone interested in high quality literature of any language. If you speak Spanish and you still haven't read "Fortunata y Jacinta" this must be your top priority.
You will not regret it.
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By A Customer on Jan. 15 1999
Format: Paperback
Having read this novel both in Spanish and in translation, I can truly say that it's a masterpiece. The characters are realistically drawn, the plot is engaging, and most inportantly, we can see the inner feelings and motivations behind the main characters' actions. This book can be analyzed on so many levels: psychological, historical, from a feminist perspective...it's a gold-mine for Galdos scholars. But it shouldn't be limited to Spanish literature scholars; English majors should read it in their world lit classes to compare with Dickens.
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By A Customer on Jan. 15 1999
Format: Paperback
Having read this novel both in Spanish and in translation, I can truly say that it's a masterpiece. The characters are realistically drawn, the plot is engaging, and most inportantly, we can see the inner feelings and motivations behind the main characters' actions. This book can be analyzed on so many levels: psychological, historical, from a feminist perspective...it's a gold-mine for Galdos scholars. But it shouldn't be limited to Spanish literature scholars; English majors should read it in their world lit classes to compare with Dickens.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
An unexpected delight, author Perez Galdos is
the Iberian Dickens, with dozens of full length
novels, many in an intricate historical series.

Fortunata y Jacinta is perhaps his best known
work, a sharply drawn social portrait of mid-Victorian
era Madrid. The lower class and the bourgeoisie
are each represented by one female protagonist,
with penetrating looks at the clergy, government,
and business establishments as backdrops
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa7b6ded0) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7db0a74) out of 5 stars An overlooked masterpiece Feb. 21 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Until I picked up a copy of Fortunata and Jacinta on a whim from a bookseller in Burgos, I had never heard of Benito Pérez Galdós: Why this novel isn't better-known in America is completely beyond me. Pérez Galdós is sometimes compared to Dickens, but the comparison is misleading: for delicious ambiguity, unsettlingly realistic psychology, and unforgettable, sympathetic characters far more engaging than vulgar, oversimplified Dickensian puppets, Pérez Galdós is far superior. The narrative sparkles with humor and wit while never compromising the tragic beauties that make the book so powerful. It's no exaggeration to say that this book should be required reading for anyone interested in culture - a classic not only of Spanish, but of Western Literature.
21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7db0db0) out of 5 stars Que Novela Magnifica Jan. 15 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Having read this novel both in Spanish and in translation, I can truly say that it's a masterpiece. The characters are realistically drawn, the plot is engaging, and most inportantly, we can see the inner feelings and motivations behind the main characters' actions. This book can be analyzed on so many levels: psychological, historical, from a feminist perspective...it's a gold-mine for Galdos scholars. But it shouldn't be limited to Spanish literature scholars; English majors should read it in their world lit classes to compare with Dickens.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7db0e4c) out of 5 stars The best Spanish novel after "Don Quijote" Feb. 5 2004
By Buenoslibros.es - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Don Benito Perez Galdos is the most important novelist of the Spanish language, right after Cervantes.
This is his masterpiece. Galdos has many great works, but this one has all the ingredients that you may find in his other smaller works.
It is a huge work, the size of "War and Peace" or "Middlemarch", but it reads like a short story. I remember reading it during my college time, and not being able to put the book down, getting late too often to appointments, or just daydreaming trying to picture the streets of Madrid in the 19th century, the faces of the two leading ladies...
Absolutly wonderful. A must read for anyone interested in high quality literature of any language. If you speak Spanish and you still haven't read "Fortunata y Jacinta" this must be your top priority.
You will not regret it.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7db72c4) out of 5 stars Humane and observant fictional window on 19th Century Spain Sept. 17 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
An unexpected delight, author Perez Galdos is
the Iberian Dickens, with dozens of full length
novels, many in an intricate historical series.

Fortunata y Jacinta is perhaps his best known
work, a sharply drawn social portrait of mid-Victorian
era Madrid. The lower class and the bourgeoisie
are each represented by one female protagonist,
with penetrating looks at the clergy, government,
and business establishments as backdrops
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa7db0de0) out of 5 stars Excellent if overlong realist novel April 7 2014
By Steven Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Fortunata and Jacinta is widely considered to be the greatest Spanish novel of the 19th century. The setting is Madrid in the 1870s, a time of great political turmoil. While the novel references some of the historical events taking place at the time, its focus is an intensely detailed and realistic portrait of the characters who inhabit it.

Juan Santa Cruz, the spoiled only child of a prosperous merchant family, has grown up to become an idle playboy. The latest object of his attentions is Fortunata, the beautiful and free-spirited niece of a local market vendor. She becomes his mistress. Appalled at the possibility of a connection to someone so far below their own social level, Juan's parents hustle him into courtship and marriage. His bride is Jacinta: pretty, refined, saintly, and loving. For a while, Jacinta makes her husband forget about Fortunata.

Meanwhile, Fortunata has caught the eye of Maximiliano Rubín, a sickly young pharmacy student. "Maxi," pious and chaste, makes it his project to redeem Fortunata from her poverty and her sinful past. He is determined to make her his wife, even though she confesses she can never love such a pathetic creature. Besieged by a flood of priestly advice from all sides, Fortunata consents to a loveless marriage to save her soul. But once she's another man's wife, Juan Santa Cruz, bored with Jacinta, comes back into her life. The ecstasy and anguish she has experienced in the past is nothing compared with what's to come.

Fortunata is the novel's pivotal character and its central idea. Crude and illiterate, yet beautiful and artlessly charming, violent yet loving, spiteful but forgiving, she both enchants and exasperates everyone around her. Everyone is always trying to change Fortunata--to reform her, tame her, and educate her--and she is always trying to change herself. Yet in the end, one closest to her admits that all these efforts were in vain:

I wasn't the only one who was deceived; she was, too. We defrauded each other. We didn't take nature into account, the grand mother and teacher who rectifies the errors of those of her children who go astray. We do countless foolish things and nature corrects them. We protest against her admirable lessons, which we don't understand, and when we want her to obey us, she grabs us and smashes us to bits, as the sea does whoever tries to rule it.

The intractability of human nature is demonstrated in the public sphere as well as the private. During the period of Fortunata and Jacinta Spain went through several governments, from monarchy to republic and back to monarchy. These events aren't directly shown in the novel--the characters' lives are remarkably unaffected, in fact, by their country's state of virtual anarchy--but we see opinions and convictions vacillate as frequently as the political winds change. Just as Juan Santa Cruz always wants the woman he shouldn't have, the public is always in favor of the faction that is out of power at the moment.

Fortunata and Jacinta is about a place almost as much as it is about people. Pérez Galdós describes Madrid in loving detail: the rhythms of daily life, the sounds and smells of the market place, the ebb and flow of trade, the traffic jams and quiet alleyways, the hullabaloo of café society. The physical world is constantly a part of the novel in the texture of clothing, the taste of a confection, the distant sound of a piano, and the vibration from booted feet climbing the stairs.

Pérez Galdós writes in the realist tradition of Balzac, depicting human nature and behavior as he sees it. It is up to the reader to decide if Fortunata is a devil or an angel. The author is transparent and non-judgmental, providing physical description and letting his characters' thoughts and speech convey feelings and ideas. This does make for some long and relatively uneventful passages, and there are some prolonged and not indispensable side trips into the affairs of some lesser characters. In the end, though, Fortunata and Jacinta is a rewarding novel, not as great as, but similar in many ways to Tolstoy's Anna Karenina.


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