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‘A Spaniard in essence: Seneca and the Spanish Volksgeist’

Baldwin, O. ORCID: (2021) ‘A Spaniard in essence: Seneca and the Spanish Volksgeist’. International Journal of the Classical Tradition, 28. pp. 335-352. ISSN 1874-6292

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s12138-020-00571-2


Throughout the 19th century, Europe underwent processes of profound national reconfiguration, which provoked the creation of modern nation-states and nationalism. As other European countries, Spain also resorted to the re-appropriation of Greco-Roman antiquity in order to reaffirm its national narrative of identity after its own national crisis, the so-called Disaster of 1898, with which Spain lost its overseas empire. Seneca appeared at this time as the embodiment of the Spanish Volksgeist, the spirit of the Spanish people and nation, in Angel Ganivet’s Idearium español, first published in 1897. This article shall explore how Seneca was conceived, and later re-appropriated and reshaped, as the embodiment of Spanishness, by intellectual and political circles of a nation in mid-reconfiguration. Through an analysis of Ganivet’s theory of senequismo and its influence on Spanish historiography, thought and culture during the early 20th century, we shall be able to better ascertain the cultural, historic and social impact in Spain of Angel Ganivet’s statement that ‘Seneca is not a Spaniard, a son of Spain, by chance, he is a Spaniard in essence’.

Item Type:Article
ID Code:92914


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