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Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations$
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Jose Alvarez-Junco

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780719075797

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719075797.001.0001

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The arts and sciences enlisted in support of the nation

The arts and sciences enlisted in support of the nation

(p.157) 5 The arts and sciences enlisted in support of the nation
Spanish Identity in the Age of Nations

José Álvarez-Junco

Manchester University Press

By reading the same stories in the same language, all partakers of these cultural products go on to share a mental universe, to imagine themselves in the same way, to identify with the same heroes, and to revile the same villains. There is the added benefit that, as the fiction is created, the language is enriched and reinforced as the privileged instrument of cohesion of the imaginary community. European nationalisms associate language, literature, and nation. Literature was the imaginary mirror in which the nation saw itself reflected, where individuals lived as members of that community. The literary canon works like the Bible and it came to the fore in Western societies when the Bible lost its authority as the supreme text. This chapter examines how this national literary canon was formed in Spain.

Keywords:   national literary canon, Spain, Spanish identity

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