The Spanish American Bubble and Britain’s Crisis of Informal Empire, 1822–6

Rebecca Cole Heinowitz

in Spanish America and British Romanticism, 1777-1826

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780748638680
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748651702 | DOI:
The Spanish American Bubble and Britain’s Crisis of Informal Empire, 1822–6

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This chapter takes a look at the conflicting ways British literature, periodicals and popular entertainments increased, critiqued and eventually denied the nation's Spanish American mania. It shows that a whole cultural industry was created between 1822 and 1825 to exploit Britain's infatuation with Spanish America. The discussion then situates Robert Southey's A Tale of Paraguay and Felicia Hemans's The Forest Sanctuary in the boom and eventual ruination of the British economy. The chapter also argues that the lack of cultural, natural and economic description and their association of Spanish America with fatality metaphorize the lack of information investors had about Spanish America and the results of their ignorance.

Keywords: Spanish American mania; cultural industry; British economy; fatality; investors; lack of information; British literature

Chapter.  13836 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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