In the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) the combined Spanish-French fleet suffered a disastrous defeat by the British.
Literature as Introspection examines the frequent appearance of Trafalgar in Spanish literature throughout the nineteenth century. Initial denial of defeat and outrage became more sober reflection and finally critical reassessment. Quintana, Moratín, Fernán Caballero, Alarcón, Galdós, and many other Spanish writers return to the grievous wound Spain had suffered. They progressively struggle to find solace in the heroism of the vanquished and meaning for their sacrifice.