Epistolary Exchange and the Exile Experience: Transnational Networks Before the Nation
This chapter argues that exile connected incipient public spheres across Spanish America in a transnational public sphere. In different sites of exile, émigrés—as well as literate members of host societies—were often reading the same texts and engaging in similar debates, creating a shared experience of reading and debate. The emergence of this transnational public sphere occurred in a period when nations were more of a project than a concrete social reality. Rather than undermining the nation-state, these networks were constitutive of the formation of state and nation in Chile, Río de la Plata, and across South America. The emergence of this transnational public sphere is essential to understanding the development of the political projects mobilized by émigrés, analyzed in subsequent chapters.