Imagining Spain: Historical Myth and National Identity / Edition 1

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Overview

This book, the latest contribution by eminent historian Henry Kamen, is a unique analysis of the myths that Spaniards have held, and continue to hold, about themselves and about their collective past. Kamen discusses how perceptions of key aspects of early modern Spain, such as the monarchy, the empire, and the Inquisition, were influenced by ideologies that continue to play a role in the formation of contemporary Spanish attitudes.

Anxious to create a national identity, influential politicians and historians of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries sought the roots of that identity—an allegedly powerful, united, and Catholic nation—in a fictitious image of what Spain was during the sixteenth century. Kamen holds up this imagined Spain to historical light and also examines the persistent obsession with the notion of national decline. Analyzing the historical basis of attempts to create a convincing nationalist ideology, Kamen speaks to issues that remain at the heart of Spanish politics and public controversy today.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Sun
Only someone who loves Spain deeply could have written this book. By stripping away the corrosions of myth, Mr. Kamen, shows a Spain as rough-and-tumble as it is various—not the 'lively sensation,' but the thing itself.—Eric Ormsby, New York Sun

— Eric Ormsby,

Journal of World History
Two hundred readable and enjoyable pages. . . . Kamen is on solid ground with his myth busting, and he continues to write with exceptional flair and a trademark wit that has made him one of the deans of Spanish historiography.—Enrique A. Sanabria, Journal of World History

— Enrique A. Sanabria

New York Sun - Eric Ormsby

"Only someone who loves Spain deeply could have written this book. By stripping away the corrosions of myth, Mr. Kamen, shows a Spain as rough-and-tumble as it is various—not the 'lively sensation,' but the thing itself."—Eric Ormsby, New York Sun

Journal of World History - Enrique A. Sanabria

"Two hundred readable and enjoyable pages. . . . Kamen is on solid ground with his myth busting, and he continues to write with exceptional flair and a trademark wit that has made him one of the deans of Spanish historiography."—Enrique A. Sanabria, Journal of World History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300126419
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Kamen, a well-known authority on Spanish and European history, has written numerous books, including Philip of Spain, The Duke of Alba, and The Spanish Inquisition, all published by Yale University Press. His most recent study is The Disinherited: The Exiles Who Created Spanish Culture. He lives in Spain and the United States.

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Table of Contents

Ch. 1 The Myth of the Historic Nation 1

Ch. 2 The Myth of the Failed Monarchy 38

Ch. 3 The Myth of a Christian Spain 74

Ch. 4 The Myth of an Empire 96

Ch. 5 The Myth of the Inquisition 126

Ch. 6 The Myth of a Universal Language 150

Ch. 7 The Myth of Perpetual Decline 172

Postscript: Myth and the Erosion of Identity in Spain 206

Notes 211

Select Bibliography 231

Index 234

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