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.