National history and collective memory

José Álvarez-Junco

in Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780719075797
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701737 | DOI:
National history and collective memory

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In Spain, the attempt to build a new political identity was based on a culture already sponsored by the State. The cultural élites set about remaking the political imagery and beliefs of the past in order to adapt them to the new ‘national’ requirements. Everything had to revolve around the nation, the only political subject and mobilising myth which had the power and credibility to rival the absolute monarchs, the bearers of the sovereignty, and the charisma that was now being claimed by the new collective entity. Throughout the nineteenth century, the intellectual and artistic élites devoted themselves to a wide variety of activities, including poetry, novels, history, painting, music and scientific investigation. The peculiarity of this age is that almost everything, including the so-called positive sciences, exhibited national traits. In the cultural reworking inevitably undertaken by each new generation or era, the aim was to nationalise. How this process developed is the subject of this chapter.

Keywords: Spain; Spanish identity; national identity; national histories; political identity

Chapter.  16724 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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