The Spirit of Hispanism
Commerce, Culture, and Identity across the Atlantic, 1875–1936
In the late nineteenth century, Spanish intellectuals and entrepreneurs became captivated with Hispanism, a movement of transatlantic rapprochement between Spain and Latin America. Not only was this movement envisioned as a form of cultural empire to symbolically compensate for Spain’s colonial decline but it was also imagined as an opportunity to materially regain the Latin American markets. Paradoxically, a central trope of Hispanist discourse was the antimaterialistic character of Hispanic culture, allegedly the legacy of the moral superiority of Spanish colonialism in comparison with the commercial drive of modern colonial projects. This study examines how Spanish authors, economists, and entrepreneurs of various ideological backgrounds strove to reconcile the construction of Hispanic cultural identity with discourses of political economy and commercial interests surrounding the movement. Drawing from an interdisciplinary archive of literary essays, economic treatises, and political discourses, The Spirit of Hispanism revisits Peninsular Hispanism to underscore how the interlacing of cultural and commercial interests fundamentally shaped the Hispanist movement.
The Spirit of Hispanism will appeal to scholars in Hispanic literary and cultural studies as well as historians and anthropologists who specialize in the history of Spain and Latin America.
“This book brings together a wealth of sources that until now have not been analyzed as a coherent narrative. Unlike previous authors on this subject, Diana Arbaiza convincingly links the discourse of Hispanism to the economic structures upon which it was based.” —Alda Blanco, author of Cultura y conciencia imperial en la España del siglo XIX
“Diana Arbaiza sheds light on the economic narratives of Hispanism from the 1870s onwards, unveiling the kaleidoscopic nature of this antimaterialistic worldview that paradoxically promoted commerce between Spain and the Americas. By fleshing out the entanglements of the cultural and economic trends of Hispanic thought, The Spirit of Hispanism redefines the work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit of capitalism.” —Elvira L. Vilches, author of New World Gold
"This study draws on a range of interdisciplinary essays to critique the ideology of Hispanism as it was deployed to further Spain’s cultural and economic interests in Latin America . . . . This work is a critical revision of traditional Eurocentric scholarship, and the Spanish nationalist ethos." —Choice
"The Spirit of Hispanism deserves a place at the forefront of Anglophone-dominated debates in the field of economics and literature. It is perhaps the finest work of scholarship on economics and literature in the modern Hispanophone world in nearly a decade." —Revista Hispánica Moderna
"[The Spirit of Hispanism's] valuable novelty resides in the visibility and analysis of the role played by economic-commercial discourses in the construction of Hispanicism and in the national and European perception of a Spain outside of budding capitalism. The Spirit of Hispanism thus shows the multivocal character that responded to the new economic system in a postcolonial context marked by neocolonial tendencies.... Despite the fact that Hispanicism did not really achieve material achievements, this study shows the dialectical interconnection between the neocolonial, capitalism and Hispanicism." —Hispania