Title

Homosocial Desire and Homosexual Panic in Lo prohibido

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2009

Department

Spanish

Language

English

Publication Title

Anales Galdosianos

Abstract

Lo prohibido (1884) has been labeled by some critics one of Benito Pérez Galdós's weakest novels. The late Stephen Gilman memorably wrote that the narrator, Jose María Bueno de Guzmán, is a "trivial Naturalistic rake" who has no conceivable reason for confessing his secrets and telling his tale (142-144), and it is this view which has largely shaped critical consensus about this novel. Recently, however, there has been a renewal of interest in this novel on the part of critics who see it as more complex than previously recognized. These critics' analyses frequently touch on the novel's incoherencies, such as the unreliability of the first-person narrator, the complication of Ido del Sagrario as the actual writer of the memoir, and the lack of apparently stable male and female identities, which has prompted critics to explore in Lo prohibido the limits and borders of gender and sexuality. For example, Akiko Tsuchiya very perceptively describes the novel as challenging "[...] culturally generated categories of gender and sexuality, and, ultimately, any notion of coherent subjectivity". The studies noted have generally interpreted the first-person narrator, José María, as an example of the perceived blurring of the boundaries between genders during the last quarter of the nineteenth century in Spain. These same studies have generally focused attention on José María's heterosexual adulterous relationships with his female cousins: Eloisa, Maria Juana, and Camila.

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