To Catch or Not to Catch a Train?

Peter Bly Talk, Oct. 29 2018

Monday, October 29, 2018 at 1:00pm
Peter Bly, Queen's University
Northrop Frye Centre, VC101, Old Vic, 91 Charles st. West

Regime changes or revolutions occur periodically in the history of most countries. Spain is no exception. For those deposed rulers who survive with their lives the question of how to escape to another country becomes the most immediate concern. Spain’s Glorious Revolution of 1868 forced the reigning monarch, Isabel II, to seek asylum in France. The most obvious means to achieve that goal was a train journey to Paris. Benito Pérez Galdós (1843-1920), Spain’s most famous and prolific novelist after Cervantes, chronicles this important event in his historical novel of 1907, La de los tristes destinos.  However, he goes beyond mere factual narration to question not only the relevance of the political change itself, but, moreover, the validity of that acclaimed symbol of modernity in the 19th century: the railway. In so doing, he assigns a special role to the women and geography of Spain.