Zola and Blasco Ibañez: A New Look

Countless pages have been devoted to either affirming of denying Blasco Ibañez's indebtedness to Zola. Critics, however, have limited themselves, almost exclusively, to the influence of the Rougon-Macquart series on Blasco's earlier novels, the Valencian cycle. This study attempts to demonstrate that the influence of the French Naturalist on his Spanish disciple might well have been of a more important nature than previously admitted as Zola's influence appears to have progressed from purely literary to ideological as well. In fact, one may wonder whether Blasco would have ever written his four "novelas de tendencia," La catedral, El intruso, La bodega and La horda, had he not read before Zola's last two cycles, Les Trois Villes and Les Quatre Evangiles. Common to their respective sets of propagandistic novels is the general didactic tone, the author's criticisms on the social structure of their day and their vision of a utopian future city-state where Fourier's phalansterian theories would be put to practice, their attacks on religion, charity, and Christianity as a whole and their messianic tone in announcing the coming of a new religion founded on science, social justice, and truth. Blasco's tetralogy was perhaps his last personal tribute to the man he so much revered. (MAE)

Esteban, Manuel A
Volume 1979-1980 Fall-Winter; 8(1-2): 87-100.