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Romanticism, Reaction and Revolution

British Views on Spain, 1814–1823


Edited By Bernard Beatty and Alicia Laspra Rodríguez

When the Peninsular War ended in 1814, the prolonged struggle had all but exhausted both British government finances and the British public’s enthusiasm for war. The authoritarian rule of Ferdinand VII aroused long-standing British suspicions of Spanish ways, which emerged in British literary works that depicted a retrograde, fanatical Spain. The tumultuous years following Ferdinand’s reign also led to divisions among the European powers, some favouring the restoration of Ferdinand, with the British government and liberal forces vehemently opposed.

This diverse volume focuses on British reactions to, and representations of, Spanish affairs during this lively period (1814–1823). It demonstrates both Spain’s visibility in Regency Britain and the consequent inspiration and dialectical activity of British politicians, artists and intellectuals. It does so through a combination of literary, social, historical and cultural perspectives that bring both fresh light to this formative period of nineteenth-century British attitudes to Spain and a wealth of new scholarly material.

CONTENTS: Alicia Laspra-Rodríguez: Wellington’s final mission to Spain (spring 1814) – Silvia Gregorio Sainz: The last Napoleonic redoubt in northern Spain: The British role – Juan L. Sánchez: Robert Southey and the «British Liberales»  Young-ok An: The guerrilla chief and the mountain girl: Spanish figures in Letitia Landon’s Romance and Reality – Sara Medina Calzada: Edward Blaquiere and the Spanish revolution of 1820 – Roderick Beaton: «The lightning of the nations»: Byron, the Shelleys and Spain – Agustín Coletes Blanco: Poems on the Spanish liberal revolution in the British radical press (1820–1823) – Rocío Coletes Laspra: The reception of Spanish Old Masters in the Regency era: A reassessment – Laura Martínez García: Revisiting national stereotypes in the 1815 edition of Centlivre’s «Spanish Play» The Busy Body – María Eugenia Perojo Arronte: Coleridge’s criticism of the Don Juan tradition – Bernard Beatty: Detecting Spanish fictions: Byron’s Don Juan Canto I – José Ruiz Mas: Marianne Baillie’s knowledge of Spain – Nanora Sweet: Spanish Orientalism: Felicia Hemans and her contemporaries.