Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Arts (MA)


World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

Document Type



The turn of the century was a period of rapid change and modernization. Spain, unlike neighboring European nations, was collapsing as an imperial force. The ensuing crisis of national identity fueled existing political tensions from the early nineteenth century which would lead to the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). This thesis examines various national crises from 1890 and the decade preceding the loss of Spain’s final colonies to 1929 and the decade preceding the Civil War. Both of these periods saw substantial acceleration of modernization and incredible resistance to it. Despite the hyper-presence of modernity within contemporary literary movements, there is a paradoxical reflection done through works of antiquity. Interrogating the use of antiquity by progressive thinkers Leopoldo Alas “Clarín” (Su único hijo 1891), Benito Pérez Galdós (El abuelo 1897), and José Díaz Fernández (La Venus mecánica 1929), I have identified a trend of reversing the outcomes of classical characters to represent the changes brought by modernity. To underscore the meaning of Livy’s ab urbe condita, Vergil’s Aeneid, and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, amongst other works of Imperial Roman antiquity, I rely on J.R. Jauss’s Rezeptionestetik and a myriad of interpretations antecedent to turn-of-the-century Spain. Using these critical and primary texts, I will examine the shifts in republican ideology from the Bourbon Restoration to the Second Republic.

Committee Chair

Henegha, Dorota



Available for download on Friday, April 04, 2025