Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Roberta Johnson & Paul C. Smith, eds., Studies in Honor of José Rubia Barcia (Lincoln, Nebraska: Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies, 1982). Copyright © 1982 Society of Spanish and Spanish-American Studies.


Miau continues to be a challenging work because of the complexity of its problems and techniques. The symbolic title has been studied as a key to the metaphoric tension of both structure and characterization within the novel; Don Ramón de Villaamil's deplorable economic situation reveals the narrator's and the author's critical perception of the false and hypocritical urban society that surrounds him. Above all, his suicide, constructed as it is within a quasi-heretical (certainly not orthodox) interpretation of the mandate of the Almighty, has both fascinated and puzzled critics.2 Yet all of these problems, character dehumanization and animalization, the critique of the social order and of contemporary history, and the frustration and alienation of the protagonist, are linked in some manner with the formal problems of narrative, dialogue and internal monologue for they are the visible modes of expression that open up the world of the novel.