Liberalism, Romanticism and the Consolidation of a Cultural Catalan Identity, 1815–74
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As shown in the previous chapters, between the 1770s and 1860s Catalan cultural and political elites from both Right and Left bought into the Spanish national project. After 1808 liberal Madrid-based elites greatly reinforced this project’s historical and cultural base. However, as we shall see in this chapter, while their Catalan counterparts located Catalan history within an overarching Spanish narrative, they gave pride of place to Catalonia’s medieval past. Furthermore, from the 1850s they began to criticize what they saw as the centralizing model of Spanish state-building adopted from the 1479 union of the Crowns. Previously their critique had focussed on the Habsburg and Bourbon dynasties. As a result, they both consolidated Catalan territorial and cultural identity and also began to significantly contradict the historical narratives elaborated by Madrid-based intellectuals. This raises the crucial question of whether the Romantics’ identification with Catalonia fed into and reinforced Spanish national identity, or whether, on the contrary, it posed a potential threat to Spanish nation-building and had the potential to lay the basis for a future alternative Catalan nationalist movement. It is on this question that the chapter will above all focus.
KeywordsPrevious Chapter Nationalist Movement Romantic Historian Nationalist Discourse Roman Domination
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