Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type



In the second half of the nineteenth century, Spain’s history was marked by political, ideological, social, and economic crisis. The resultant division on all of these levels and a paralyzing culture of decadence left the nation fragmented and unable to establish a national identity. This and the conflict between tradition and modernity largely contributed to the Disaster of 1898 in which Spain lost Cuba, the last of its remaining American colonies. This thesis presents a transatlantic examination of some of the works of nineteenth century Spanish writers Benito Pérez Galdós and Eva Canel in which I focus specifically on the role of the indiano figure present in each of the works selected for this study. By analyzing the reentries of these Spaniards to their native country after years abroad in the Americas and with special attention to theories of the ‘nation’ and culture, I will discuss how these authors reveal the declining status of Spain and the role of the Americas in Spain as the nation struggled to hold on to its influence in the imperial world and approached the Disaster of 1898.



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Committee Chair

Heneghan, Dorota