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This chapter studies the development of Washington Irving’s relationship with Spain in the context of the growing fascination with this nation in the post-Napoleonic period, during which Irving wrote the Alhambra tales. The author explores the differences between the 1832 and 1851 editions to see how the representation of the mythical struggle between Christians and Moors works in both editions. This comparison allows us to see, on the one hand, to what extent Irving is disappointed with the romantic image of Spain, which was becoming a cliché by dint of repetition. On the other hand, it reveals his confidence in the strength of a liberalism capable of fighting the immobilism of conservative forces, but also, at the same time, his concern about a homogenizing modernity that threatened to suffocate his romanticism. The dreams of a chivalrous Spain, where Moors and Christians coexist and are culturally enriched, act as a poetic sanctuary for man and writer, overcome by the vulgarity and prosaism of modernity.

Open Access
In: Otherness and National Identity in 19th-Century Spanish Literature
Which were the mechanisms by which certain groups were positioned at the margins of national narratives during the nineteenth century, either via their exclusion from these narratives of through their incorporation into them as ‘others’? By engaging with shifting ideas of exclusion and difference, the authors in this book reflect upon the paradoxical centrality of the subaltern at a time when literature was deployed as a tool for nation building. The lasting presence of the Jewish and Moorish legacy, the portrayal of gypsy characters, or the changing notions of femininity in public discourse exemplify the ways in which images of marginal ‘types’ played a central role in the configuration of the very idea of Spanishness.

¿Cuáles fueron los mecanismos mediante los que ciertos grupos fueron relegados a los márgenes del relato nacional durante el siglo XIX, bien a través de su exclusión de dichos relatos, bien a través de su incorporación a ellos como "otros"? A través del análisis de las ideas de exclusión y diferencia, los autores de este libro reflexionan sobre la paradójica centralidad de lo marginal en una época en la que la literatura fue una herramienta fundamental para la construcción de la nación. La pervivencia del legado judío y morisco, la representación de personajes gitanos o las distintas nociones de feminidad presentes en el discurso público ejemplifican las formas en que las imágenes de "tipos" marginales desempeñaron un papel central en la configuración de la idea de españolidad.