DISCOVERING SHAKESPEARE IN EXILE: SPANISH EMIGRÉS IN ENGLAND (1819-1840)

  • Ángel-Luis Pujante Universidad de Murcia
Keywords: Shakespeare, Shakespeare criticism, Shakespeare reception, Shakespeare in Europe, Cultural Studies

Abstract

The first few decades of the 19th century saw a considerable number of highly educated and professionally qualified Spanish liberals in exile in England. For some of them, their painful experience held a certain compensation in the form of a direct contact with English life, culture and literature and, in particular, a more immediate and deeper acquaintance with Shakespeare’s work. However, this contact with Shakespeare and its effects differed; it reconfirmed some in their Neoclassical faith, it led others to ambiguity or to a calculated eclecticism, while in others it wrought a transformation or a literary conversion. Manuel Herrera (who remained basically indifferent to Shakespeare), José Joaquín de Mora (who then began to be won over by Romanticism and its fervor for Shakespeare) and José Blanco White (who devoted himself wholeheartedly to the cause of Shakespeare) could be taken, respectively, as representative examples. The aim of this article is to analyse the way in which exile in England had a decisive effect on the perception of Shakespeare in some outstanding Spanish exiles, noting the differences between the exiles and the consequences of this perception for each of them.