Reading 'La Regenta'
Duplicitous discourse and the entropy of structure
Criticism of La Regenta has until recently focused on the text's plot as an extraordinarily coherent and convincing fictional world. Stephanie A. Sieburth demonstrates that the devices which produce order in the text are counterbalanced by an equally strong tendency toward entropy of meaning. The narrator is shown to be duplicitous and unreliable in his judgments on characters and events. Without an omniscient narrator, readers must interpret for themselves the complex intertextual structure of the novel. Saints' lives, honor plays, and serial novels each provide partial reflections of Ana Ozores' story. The text becomes a collage of mutually reflecting segments which, like Ana in her moments of self-doubt and madness, ultimately question the function of language and of any overriding interpretation or meaning.