Gallardo Barbarroja, Matilde
(2011). “La lengua como expresión de la identidad nacional en los emigrados constitucionales. Algunas consideraciones sobre Blanco White y Alcalá Galiano”.
In: Muñoz Sempere, Daniel and Alonso García, Gregorio eds.
Londres y el liberalismo hispánico.
La Cuestión Palpitante. Los siglos XVIII y XIX en España (17).
Madrid: Iberoamericana Editorial Verbauert, pp. 257–274.
Activity related to the Spanish language in England (translation, publication of grammars, dictionaries and literary pieces) go back to the 16th and 17th centuries with the works of political and religious dissenters in exile who found in these activities a way to mitigate their nostalgia by maintaining links with their own culture, and to express their national identity while easing their feelings as outsiders as well as their financial situation in the country that gave them refuge.
A large number of Spanish constitutional émigrés in England and more specifically in London in the XIX century followed this trend. Spanish Liberals, such as José M. Blanco White and Antonio Alcalá Galiano, who belonged to the intellectual elite of Spanish liberalism, embraced the concept of language as the essence of national identity and the Volkgeist, as portrayed by the Romantic Movement at the time. The linguistic nationalism which impregnates the Spanish Constitution of 1812 was at the essence of the nation-building process as language was considered the vehicle of culture and glory.
However, the Spanish liberals were not a cohesive group and on the subject of national and linguistic identity, differences can be found in the interpretation of the concept of the role of language as according to individual ideologies. What is relevant to all of them is the enrichment brought by their contact during exile with socio-political, religious and philosophical ideologies prevailing in England in the first decades of the 19th century, essentially the ideology of the Romantic Movement and the nationalistic trends associated to it. This combination of factors undoubtedly had an impact on their linguistic and literary work which became an expression of their nationalism and their identity.
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