La Inglaterra anglosajona de Salas y Quiroga: la imagen psicologica y sociologica del poder.
The present contribution will be structured as follows. In the introduction, the figure of Salas will be revised and a necessary framework for the analysis of his book will be sketched, focussing on the historiographic trends prevailing in nineteenth century Spain and on the conventional image of Anglo-Saxon England constructed in other Spanish narratives of the period. Section 2 will be devoted to the analysis and discussion of the strategies used in the construction of a new image of Anglo-Saxon England and to the functions performed by Salas' identifying narrative. Finally, in section 3 some relevant conclusions will be drawn from the previous analysis. (1)
1.1. An unacknowledged figure
More than one hundred and fifty years after his death, Salas y Quiroga remains a littleknown figure both in Spain and abroad. However, the revision of recent publications on the subject suggests that after a long period of oblivion, only tempered by Alarcos (1943) and certain foreign literary critics, general histories of Spanish literature have begun to include Salas' name in their accounts, mainly from the 1990s (Brown 1953; Varela 1951; Peers 1973; Ferreras 1980; Romero Tobar 1994; Urrutia 1995; Benitez 1997; Marrast 1997; Patino 2002). In most books, Salas is acknowledged both as a romantic poet and as a forerunner of the so-called realistic novel of the nineteenth century. (Sebold 1992: 127, 2007: 142; Patino 2002). A second sub-set of contemporary publications draws the reader's attention to Salas' journalistic activity. It is noticed that he founded several journals and newspapers, and contributed to many others. Finally, a third group of contributions focuses on Salas' travels through Cuba and South American lands (Gonzalez del Valle 2006) and, more particularly, on his description of foreign railways as an early witness of technological advances (Azorin 1912; Rodriguez Ortiz 2001, 2003). However, no publications seem to have been devoted to Salas' history writing. His two volumes on the History of England and the History of France remain unanalysed, to my knowledge, despite the fact that Salas' History of England is one of the few early Spanish publications on the subject and yields interesting results, as seen in the broader context of Spanish historical writings on England. Hence the interest of this contribution.
Likewise, little is known of Salas' life. Most critics emphasize the same facts, reproducing to a large extent the short introduction Eugenio de Ochoa devoted to his friend in 1840. Jacinto de Salas y Quiroga was born in La Coruna, on February 14, 1813, the son of a distinguished Galician magistrate. He studied in Galicia and Madrid, but was soon sent to Bordeaux, where he grew to be an ardent adherent of the Romantic literary movement through such authors as Byron, Lamartine and Hugo. In 1830 he set sail for America and settled in Lima. In 1832 Salas returned to Europe, lived in England and France and published his first volume, Poesias, in 1834. In 1839 Salas returns to America to hold a diplomatic position. After he came back to his country, he devoted himself to his literary and journalistic activity. Salas died in Madrid in 1849.
Most critics share the opinion that Salas could have been one of the most important Spanish representatives of the Romantic Movement (Alarcos 1943; Brown 1953; Patino 2002). They also agree on Salas' singular understanding of literature. In Patino's quoting of Peer's words, Salas practices an 'ethical romanticism' (Patino 2002). He unceasingly defends the regenerating power of literature, its didactic and leading role, its capacity to stimulate a collective moral renewal. Hence the writer's social responsibility towards humankind. It is this ethical spirit and social concern that moved him to write his History of England, and that which inspired his portrait of the Anglo-Saxons, as will be seen later on.
1.2. History writing in nineteenth century Spain
The Spanish nineteenth century is known to be a period of high political tension and a striking isolation from Europe's significant industrial and cultural enrichment. These facts necessarily determined the trends followed by Spanish history writing, in an age of utmost importance for the development of the discipline. (Pasamar and Peiro 1987: 4, 10; Peiro 1990: 108; Garcia Puchol 1993).
The 1840s is often quoted as a relevant period for an understanding of the evolution of history in Spain. According to Peiro and Pasamar (2002: 11), the effects of two civil wars, two exiles and a bitter persecution of ideas led to a break with eighteenth century traditions. From the 1840s the State and its elites became historians; history became a scientific discipline within a hierarchical system of academic institutions, and it was introduced as a subject in educational syllabuses. That is, from the 1840s, history (text)books came forward to popularize the account of the past among a wide reading public (Peiro 1993:39). Furthermore, they acquired political and social relevance, since history became a component in the socialization and national identification of future citizens (Pasamar and Peiro 1987; Peiro 1990, 1993; Garcia Puchol 1993; Valls Montes 1999; Peiro and Pasamar 2002). These aims demanded on the one hand the construction of a national history and, on the other, an increasing number of larger universal histories, which spread historical images suitable to contemporary values (Peiro 1990: 116). As Garcia Puchol puts it, history should "introduce young people to political education and instruct them in the body of moral, ethical and goodbehaviour principles" (1993: 38). (2)
In addition, the ideological disputes which separated Spanish traditional Catholics from freethinkers and other more radical groups of dissenters grew more salient from the 1840s. It is by this time that the first serious attempts of institutional reform were introduced (Garcia Puchol 1993), despite the fact that most of the advances failed and the system remained anchored in religion and conservative standpoints up to the turn of the century. (3)
This Spanish confrontational background, political and ideological, together with the educational value conferred on history, favoured a close connection between politics and historiography. History became a perfect ground for the legitimating of ideologies, as Valls Montes (1999: 99) indicates. Competing historical discourses were sustained from the mid century, when a majority of Catholic or radical traditionalists opposed a liberal minority, who tried to affect the Spanish political and social structure through the gaps in the institutional system (Cruz 1999). Many implications derive from this fact, some of which must be remarked as relevant to our purposes.
First, scientific contents underwent an ideological adaptation. Authors selected facts, value judgements and even the space devoted in (text)books to different historical moments and characters. (Garcia Puchol 1993: 37; Peiro 1993: 41). Second, foreign authors and models exerted their influence on Spanish historians to a different extent. The new historiographical standpoints, favouring causal accounts, the social and economic side of history and the idea of civilization, were mainly followed by freethinkers, whereas more conservative authors seemed to be shut away from European models. (4) Third and particularly relevant to our purposes, even the discovery of the Middle Ages gave way to different standpoints. It must be remarked that during the nineteenth century the Middle Ages stirred up the interest of both conservative and progressive sectors of Spanish (and European) society (Garcia Puchol 1993: 160). For the former, the Middle Ages represented a period of highlighted Christianity, whereas for the latter it meant a transition stage between the ancient times and modernity (an idea introduced by historians like Thierry or Guizot in the 1830s). The Middle Ages became, thus, an important vindicative time for groups of competing ideologies, which aimed at controlling the popularization of the past among a hardly literate society.
Under these conditions the Spaniards gained access to the knowledge of England. And it is also within this framework that the representations of the English Middle Ages should be understood, as well as Salas' rendering.
1.3. A-S England conventional image in nineteenth century Spain
Anglo-Saxon England had relatively little importance in Spanish nineteenth century sources, as suggested by the notorious scarcity of (native) material retrieved, if only compared with the number of books on the modern period (Tejada 2007). Anglo-Saxon information was to be found in translations published during the 1840s, and to a lesser extent in Spanish books, most of them dating from the 1870s and 1880s. Moreover, most data were comprised in universal or general history books from the mid-century onwards, in which Anglo-Saxon England was dealt with mainly as part of the 'Middle Ages period'. All this implies that Anglo-Saxon information was distributed in books dating from two politically different moments: the 1840s, a stage of consolidated liberalism and greater 'freedom' and the 1870s and 1880s, when liberties became once more restricted in all orders of life. In addition, as translations came first, a clear dependence of Spanish authors on foreign sources, mainly French, might be suggested. Finally, the fact that Anglo-Saxon information was primarily contained in history books confirmed on the one hand the construction of a political identity of the Anglo-Saxons against a literary or cultural one (5) and, on the other, the granting of wider audiences to native textbooks devised for official educational programmes.
Results in Tejada (2008) verified that in Spanish nineteenth century texts Anglo-Saxon England was represented as part of a wider English identity; its peoples were seen as the ancestors of the nineteenth century. English nation--which may derive from the fact that Anglo-Saxon England was known mainly because of the English afterpower. The Anglo-Saxons themselves were conferred a national identity, defined by social and territorial boundaries. That is, the Anglo-Saxons were identified with their land and defined in terms of their difference from either Christian Celts, pagan Danes or foreign Normans. (6) For this purpose, different strategies of cohesivation were applied, as the emphasizing of common features, the usual simplification of characters and the avoiding of the groups' inner differences. This portrayal of the Anglo-Saxons as an ancient people, ancestor of the English, seemed to serve the well-known purpose of reinforcing nation-imagining myths. More specifically, through the Anglo-Saxon example, the Spaniards were taught that nations become legitimized and obtain dignity by being conferred a legendary anchorage in ancient times and the heroic nature of winners.
But a more refined analysis demonstrated a more immediate and foregrounded social function of the texts analysed: the negotiation of future action. Scholarly representations of Anglo-Saxon England proved to be sites of action where traditions were selected to serve contemporary needs. The strange 'other'--the English past in this case--was controlled and Anglo-Saxon representations meant to shape contemporary thinking or future home events. Thus, the analysis unveiled the existence of competing discourses to be spread among the audience. The corpus confirmed the construction of narratives aiming at reinforcing radical Catholic standpoints, in the first place; secondly, the production of narratives justifying the official culture, aiming at the perpetuation of a prudish system of religious values; and finally, the presence of a minority of narratives claiming for the introduction of progressive political, social and educational polities.
Broadly speaking, narratives differed in the selection of both topic and historiographical strategies, as expected. Thus, narratives targeted at reinforcing Catholic standpoints foregrounded the idea that Anglo-Saxon England was part of a Christian Europe, emphasized the existence of Anglo-Saxon biblical ancestors, justified their political unity and cultural development on the basis of Christianity and praised the religious behaviour of Anglo-Saxon kings and figures, down-toning their dubious actions. Narratives aiming at perpetuating the official culture placed their emphasis on moral instruction. Thus, rules of behaviour praising moderation, honour criteria, justice and other social or political virtues were foregrounded and defined through historical passages. Finally, narratives aiming at changing Spanish political practices used strategies "of transformation" (Wodak et al. 1999) to change the Anglo-Saxon barbarian image, strived to destroy Catholic myths and exerted a severe criticism on religious and political rulers, showing a clear concern about Spain in explicit references. The Anglo-Saxon singular superiority, as proved from the Germanic period, came to the forefront and their time was revealed as a golden age of free institutions, perpetuated through history.
As for their selection of different historiographical practices, narratives seemed to differ mainly in the strategies used for the legitimating of authority. (7) Features like the omnipresence of author as narrator, the absence of recognised sources, the lack of explanation and of explicit argument, axiomatic claims with little linguistic modulation, the plain cause-and-effect schemes or the simplification of characters, proved to be more frequent and larger in number in Catholic and official narratives and in passages of symbolic representation of figures. Liberal representations from the 1850s and 1860s in turn favoured the evaluation of historical processes, contexts and institutions; the rendering of events as developing processes with multiple temporality; a frequent mentioning and evaluation of sources; the use of evidentials and other modulating and explanatory linguistic expressions; the hedging of assertions and an open interaction with readers.
2. Salas' portrait of Anglo-Saxon England
2.1. A marginal point of departure
From the very outset Salas' narrative displays a marginal nature. His portrait of the Anglo-Saxons is comprised in the first six chapters of his History of England, published in 1846. Both the specificity of its title and the date of its publication render Salas' book uncommon. (8) To this it must be added that his book was not conceived as an educational textbook, nor was it fostered by the Spanish administration. Rather, as asserted in his preface (1846: i-iii), it was the result of a personal enterprise targeted at a general readership, to encourage social change and the renewal of Spanish historiographical practices (9). The singularity of Salas' fabric is also reinforced by the author's selected focus on the people as main character, as a likely result both of his adherence to new trends in history writing and his particular literary affiliation. Apart from a romantic representative, Salas seems to be a writer deeply involved in new postromantic trends cultivated both in Europe and Spain around the 1840s. According to Brown (in Patino 2002), 1844 signals the beginning of a post-romantic literary stage, when interest in historical themes begins to fade, a psychological turn is perceived and authors grow more concerned with a critical revision of social structure. The so-called Spanish costumbrismo corresponds to this new mood: writers of this emergent movement pursued the description of fixed characters as representations of social groups and highlighted contemporary life from the point of view of the common people (Estebanez Calderon 1999: 227). Salas' contribution to the paradigmatic book Los espanoles pintados por si mismos now becomes deeply relevant. (10) As for the new historiographic trends, the influence of foreign authors, prone to emphasizing the social side of history, would also fit this leaning.
2.2. Strategies used in the construction of a new image of the Anglo-Saxons
Despite Salas' singular frame of reference, a first approach to his text offers a conventional rendering of the Anglo-Saxons. More particularly, the author adopts a chronological, dynastocentric standpoint (11) from which the Anglo-Saxons are seen as a people, or group of peoples, inhabiting the English land, defending their territory and setting the bases for a civilized future, i.e. they are given a territorial and ethnic identity. (12) However, hiding behind his conventional portrait, an original unconventional one is unveiled. Salas' main focus lies on two conceptual types or characters, i.e. the powerful and the weak, and their dynamic interaction. Thus, divided into the powerful and the weak, the Anglo-Saxons are seen as subtly interacting with other powerful and weak groups of different races and lands. Salas achieves his purpose through the selection of specific content strategies and substrategies, realised in turn by means of rhetorical and linguistic resources, as will now be described.
First, Salas offers a portrait of the Anglo-Saxons in which characters or groups are not oversimplified. For that purpose, three substrategies stand out as relevant:
a) In line with other narratives of a similar nature (Tejada 2008), the Anglo-Saxons are often acknowledged to be a race or nation. However, in Salas' account this Anglo-Saxon race is not ethnically stable, i.e. identified by reference to a common Germanic or pagan ancestor, but territorially defined. In a process of continuous redefinition of boundaries and allies, this implies a dynamic interpretation of the concept. Consequently, for Salas the Anglo-Saxon 'race' may exclude at times the Germanic Northumbrians, the Germanic and pagan Danes, or the Christian Bretons. Similarly, when the author refers to the Anglo-Saxon 'others', those races or groups from which the Anglo-Saxons acquire part of their identity, he makes an effort to distinguish between the Vikings settled on English land and "pirates" (Salas 1846: 19); between Celts swept away by Anglo-Saxons and those who stayed; or later, between these and those unsatisfied Celts who joined the Danish against the English (Salas 1846: 10).
b) The Anglo-Saxons are not systematically depicted as a monolithic succeeding group against their opposing ethnically-defined 'others'. Different sociologically defined types, both of Anglo-Saxons and of 'others', emerge into the picture. It is the powerful of any group who behave similarly (see below).
c) Salas' characters are not limited to those of the monarch and his people. Subjects under a monarch are not metonymically rendered as a single individual, with an agentive and sentient capacity to act in unison. (13) Agentive responsibility is specifically attributed and there are other intervening agents and patients, who may become agents in turn.
This content strategy is realised through several linguistic tactics: a careful naming of agents (14) and a selection of precise grammatical subjects through the enumeration of participants, complex or compound noun phrases, quantifiers like many, a few, or indefinite determiners.
It is to be noticed that, when naming, Salas establishes a distinction between an outsider's and an insider's view. If seen from the outside, the Anglo-Saxons are usually referred to as the English or the Saxons--for instance, vs. the Danes (Salas 1846: 14, 23), vs. foreign peoples (Salas 1846: 18, 21), vs. the Normans (Salas 1846: 24, 27), or vs. the Papacy (Salas 1846: 30). However, if seen from the inside, as inhabitants of a land and constituting a race or a nation, a finer composition of the group is sought for and components are listed: "Saxons and Bretons" (Salas 1846: 19); "Anglo-Saxons, Bretons, Northumbrians and pagans" (Salas 1846: 15); "Angles, Danes and Bretons" (Salas 1846: 17), etc.
Salas also seems to be concerned with an accurate attribution of responsibilities. Therefore, he frequently constrains the scope of the grammatical subject through various linguistic resources, such as quantifiers, appositive phrases, modifiers or coordinating conjunctions, as in "many bishops and priests" (Salas 1846: 9), "invaders, joined together unsatisfied Bretons to..." (Salas 1846: 10), "Saxons and Bretons" (Salas 1846: 19); "The invading Danes" (Salas 1846: 11), "many magnates, particularly from France" (Salas 1846: 14-15), "one of these [favourites]" (Salas 1846: 15), "the sovereign and his council" (Salas 1846: 17), "this does not imply that the Bretons were the only inhabitants of England" (Salas 1846: 2). Salas may also insert explanatory clauses to make clear that it is not one main character--usually the monarch--who achieves things alone; rather, he needs the concurrence of other agents. One example may suffice: "It was William's misfortune to realize that the Pope's will was not enough to get his cherished throne: money, soldiers, weapons, provisions and ships had to be gathered. In order to obtain these difficult assistants, the Duke convened an assembly of warriors, priests and merchants, the former highly reputed, the latter rich" (Salas 1846: 30). It is to be noted that Salas' emphasis on a precise description of agents ratifies his sense of individuality and his desire to convey a more accurate image of group identities, very much in accordance with his preferred explanatory standpoints.
A second strategy is used in Salas' portrait of the Anglo-Saxons. The author acknowledges a greater heterogeneity of social groups; he decides to give a prominent position to social structure and focus on the dynamics of power. Accordingly, participants in events are divided into the powerful, exerting control, and the powerless (or common people), two groups of whatever race, who dynamically interact in his narrative. The prominence conferred on these socially-defined groups is achieved from the outset through a parallel co-occurrence of characters belonging to either party; that is, through the parallel mentioning of powerful and powerless figures in adjoining sentences or in subject-object structures (agent/patient). And so the reader learns of "conquerors" acting against "hapless Bretons" (Salas 1846: 8); of "Norman courtiers" insulting "ordinary people" (Salas 1846: 25); of "sovereigns" alien to their "people" (Salas 1846: 11); of "humble monks" deprived of their goods by "usurper Danes" (Salas 1846: 15); of "the unhappy Elgive", atoning for a fault her husband, the king, had committed (Salas 1846: 16).
The powerful themselves constitute a heterogeneous group. Salas selects precise hyponyms or modified noun phrases to present a large array of dominant characters: monarchs and rulers, the invading Saxons (Salas 1846: 7, 8); the higher clergy of any religion (Salas 1846: 3, 8, 16); the Pope (Salas 1846: 9, 29); judges and counsellors (Salas 1846: 12, 13), the king's favourites (Salas 1846: 15), the nobles, abusive 'rioters' (Salas 1846: 24); main citizens (Salas 1846: 28), pressure groups (Salas 1846: 16), prestigious merchants, rich warriors and monks (Salas 1846: 29, 30), adventurers thirsty for riches (Salas 1846: 31), courtiers (Salas 1846: 25), etc. This multifarious group will be further divided into the useful and the useless, as will be explained below. Likewise, the powerless or weak are precisely described and listed: the people under a ruler, of whatever origin and race, who must "endure the king's mistakes" (Salas 1846: 23), the unhappy or hapless Bretons (Salas 1846: 8), humble monks (Salas 1846: 15), abused women (Salas 1846: 16), the defeated (Salas 1846: 23), mothers and widows (Salas 1846: 34), defenceless Danes under Aethelred (Salas 1846: 19), the people against the monarch and invading Danes, heterogeneous gatherings of dissatisfied people (Salas 1846: 20, 31), slaves (Salas 1846: 21), or wretched convicts (Salas 1846: 21). Finally, it must be noted that the powerful and the powerless interact dynamically. The powerless may become powerful and change role.
A third strategy in Salas' book is to be mentioned: the building of moral types. Moved by his ethical spirit and his faith in moral and social regeneration, Salas brings the nature and behaviour of these conceptual types to the forefront. Thus, he denounces power, defends the weak and promotes the figure of the reformer. As in previous occasions, a set of precise sub-strategies and linguistic resources may be identified.
Salas makes a mindful selection of Anglo-Saxon figures and a recurrent judgement of their behaviour in the dynamics of power to obtain a piling-up effect of morally evaluated characters. Unlike most narratives of a similar kind, both the powerful and the powerless may be praised or criticised.
Through Salas' careful selection of meanings (nouns, adjectives, adverbs), which serve to evaluate human behaviour, people, policies and plans positively or negatively by reference to a set of institutionalised or desired social norms, the reader grasps some psychological and moral features of the two main character types. Thus, he learns that the powerful act in their own benefit (Salas 1846: 1, 18); show "unending covetousness" (Salas 1846: 6, 25, 27); "strip the defeated of their goods" (Salas 1846: 8); look for social and material privileges (Salas 1846: 8, 11, 16); "preserve vested rights" (Salas 1846: 8); seek social rise through bribery (Salas 1846: 18); kill their equals (Salas 1846: 21); look for help among their peers and help each other (Salas 1846: 27, 30, 31); are usually ignorant and arbitrary (Salas 1846: 3, 12); have a distorted vision of reality (Salas 1846: 21, 25); consider agreed-on decisions a hindrance to their plans (Salas 1846: 29); and persuade with the power of words (Salas 1846: 29, 31). The reader is taught that politics means dominance and punishment (Salas 1846: 2); that killing and robbery is "the dogma of power" (Salas 1846: 9); that power implies "arms and insolence" (Salas 1846: 25); that weak kings are usually controlled by the clergy (Salas 1846: 11, 16); or that judges may be "biased and corrupt" (Salas 1846: 12, 13). Although power is understood in both political and religious terms, as demonstrated by the examples above, Salas particularly inveighs against religion, its rites and outer symbols, its vacuous belief in miracles, its corrupt charity deals, the hypocrite and morally degenerate conduct of the clergy, as in the following examples:
i. "This prince, mistrusting the influence of the clergy, more worried about their material interests than the spreading of faith ..." (Salas 1846: 8)
ii. "The sovereign, utterly controlled by the clergy, decided to pray instead of fighting. To obtain the clergy's favour, he ordered that every landowner should pay his tithe to the church from then on ... And feeling this was not enough, he set out for Rome as a pilgrim. Back in his country, he devoted himself to prayer ..." (Salas 1846: 11)
iii. "This was a sign his followers could not disdain, since in those times the clergy's influence was decisive for the crown and for all kinds of power" (Salas 1846: 16)
iv. "But as it usually happens that religious zeal turns into fanaticism, it soon became fashionable to make rich donations to the monks..." (Salas 1846: 17)
Similarly, the reader gains knowledge of the values and attitudes exhibited by the powerless group. The weak have "brothers" and help them (Salas 1846: 19); must be defended; are forced to endure the king's mistakes (Salas 1846: 23); they are not passive; on the contrary, they may react against the sovereign's abusive behaviour (Salas 1846: 19) and evaluate, approve or disapprove of the king's actions (Salas 1846: 21, 22). Yet, the reader is warned of some of their faults: the powerless may worship their kings, forgetting their abusive behaviour or fruitless actions (Salas 1846: 28), may hinder the reformer's plans (Salas 1846: 12); and, even worse, may become powerful and change role (Salas 1846: 12, 23).
However, not all members in the powerful group show deplorable behaviour. A further clear-cut distinction between useful and useless leaders is deliberately established. Terms from the semantic field of usefulness are recurrently used, as demonstrated by the description of Alfred's reign as "useful" (Salas 1846: 13); Dunstan's job is reportedly not "barren" (Salas 1846: 16); Edward's (Aethelstan's brother) reign proves "fruitless" (Salas 1846: 15) and Edward Martyr's reign is said to have disappeared without a trace (Salas 1846: 18).
Usefulness is interpreted in terms of the character's regenerating skill and defined through the portrait of Alfred and Dunstan, two most prominent figures, to whom larger space is devoted. To a lesser extent, other Anglo-Saxon rulers contribute to the symbolic building of the new type of reformer, namely Athelstan, Cnut, Edward Confessor and Harold.
As in former cases of type-building, the reader is made familiar with the reformer's values. A useful leader contributes to civilization (Salas 1846: 12, 16), justice and learning (Salas 1846: 12); strives for honour, knowledge and virtue (Salas 1846: 13, 18); looks for an honest administration of justice (Salas 1846: 12, 22); spreads culture, civilization, spirituality and commerce (Salas 1846: 14); must have a regenerating aim (Salas 1846: 13) and strive against corruption (Salas 1846: 15); governs for both rich and poor (Salas 1846: 21, 22) and relieves the oppressed of their taxes (Salas 1846: 23). His only aim must be to better his subjects' condition (Salas 1846: 13) and procure their happiness (Salas 1846: 21). A reformer respects tradition and looks ahead into the future (Salas 1846: 21); respects and consults his Council (Salas 1846: 21, 22); respects the law (Salas 1846: 24); looks for peace (Salas 1846: 14, 18, 22, 23) and for common agreement (Salas 1846: 21); stops chaos and anarchy (Salas 1846: 13) and establishes order and regularity (Salas 1846: 21). Thus, he achieves and enjoys the people's affection (Salas 1846: 13), gains his people's love (Salas 1846: 21, 29), respect and veneration (Salas 1846: 15).
The reformer is encouragingly depicted as an innovator, bound to succeed despite the difficulties he may have to overcome (Salas 1846: 13, 16) or the strong perseverance and effort he is often demanded, as coded in adverbials regularly (22), tirelessly (13), unceasingly (12), fervently (17). The following examples illustrate this point:
i. Alfred, however, had to fight against ... his subjects' run-of-the-mill concerns, an ailment from which all innovators and men of elevated minds have suffered and will go on suffering unceasingly (12)
ii. As every reformer who achieves his goal, he obtained more than he had sought (16)
Moreover, despite a scarcity of open references to his native country, the reformer's tasks deliberately evoke the structural deficiencies in Salas' homeland through an insistent repetition of ideas: education and learning, a better public service and justice, respect for the law and institutions, peace and hard-working, non-abusive monarchs. Salas portrays Alfred and Dunstan as representatives of a class on which he pins his hopes for reform.
In order to arouse the audience's unmistakable rejection of or adherence to the Anglo-Saxon collective characters described, Salas makes a wise exploitation of linguistic devices. He not only selects meanings which serve to evaluate human behaviour, but also skilfully grades the intensity conferred on his value judgments. Consequently, he uses markers of a strongest force to describe either the reformers, mainly Alfred and Dunstan, or abusive power. Extremely negative and positive behaviour is indisputably signalled through nouns, adjectives or adverbials of perfective meaning or heavy moral load: ovation (9), dogma (9), utterly controlled (11), submission (9), stupid habit (18), despicable (19), depravation (13), so cruel (20), such an idiot (20), unreined (22), satisfied with (18), omnipotent clergy (22), wholehearted support (22), (immoral) thriving (18), heroic deeds (13), inexorable (13), any excess (13), solely (13). And most despicable leaders may be even deprived of their names, as mentioned in note 11, above. Conversely, Salas mitigates his evaluation when judging doubtful conducts by members in the weak group or less prominent people. In these cases a frequent use of hedging and lower values of evaluative meanings are found, as in (my italics):
i. "but, his more than peaceful nature, often verged on weakness, and he frequently lacked the necessary strength to stifle the turmoil caused by his noblemen, who repeatedly abused his flexible and compliant mind" (Salas 1846: 24)
ii. "this task of submission ... was carried out to a large extent with the help of Anglo-Saxon missionaries" (Salas 1846: 9)
iii. "Good King Edward died ... and long time afterwards people still commented on his good nature, forgetting his weakness, and on his love for justice, forgetting the biased affection he had displayed towards foreigners" (Salas 1846: 28)
In the configuration of types Salas not only relies on the cumulative effect of morally evaluated figures, the intensity of evaluative words or the insistent repetition of landmark concepts. Equally important are the explanatory paragraphs he inserts in his chronological account in order to clarify the usual behaviour of a particular collective. To that purpose he introduces lexical expressions and noun phrases of generic reference to characterise a sub-set of event participants, usually reinforced by usuality modals or tenses with an aspectual tinge, expressing habituality (as the Spanish so-called imperfect past). The following excerpts illustrate this point (my italics):
i. "Then royal power was not an institution, or a right, but violence ... In those barbarian days the monarchy used to have land ownership as its resource for strength ..." (Salas 1846: xv)
ii. "In those days of darkness sovereigns would consider themselves so much the owners of their lands as of their horses or goshawks, and consequently would play on one or the other ..." (Salas 1846: 11)
iii. "... since the clergy's role in those times used to be decisive for the crown and for all kinds of power" (Salas 1846: 16)
iv. "... priests would give themselves over to all kinds of excesses; dancing and hunting were their favourite occupations and adultery their habit" (Salas 1846: 17);
v. "Up to that time magnates used to sell their female slaves or pupils' hands ..." (Salas 1846: 21)
A final strategy should be underlined in Salas' symbolic portrait of the Anglo-Saxons: the author's desire for explanation. Unlike other nineteenth century writers, Salas strives to project a more complex depiction of events. To that purpose, he uses at least three content substrategies:
a) Selection of non-human agents that may intervene in actions together with main political or religious figures. Non-human agents are advocated as concurring characters which may determine the course of social development. Among them, luck (Salas 1846: 3, 8, 32), weather conditions (Salas 1846: 32); diseases (Salas 1846: 15); popular fanaticism and religious zeal (Salas 1846: 17); linguistic and social prestige (Salas 1846: 24); the impact of public speech or the persuasive power of words (Salas 1846: 29, 31, 32).
b) Likewise, Salas' portrait of the Anglo-Saxons confers a prominent position to motivation. In his text, the breach between factual and psychological reality is highlighted and the reader learns that actions are usually backed by desires, thoughts and psychological responses. Therefore, a frequent occurrence of mentalstate verbs is found, encoding motivations (intentions) desires, experiences, feelings or perceptions, or referring to beliefs and cognitive states. Spanish medial constructions such as "Se vio obligado a entregarse" (Salas 1846: 15) (He felt forced to give in) unfortunately lost in our English adaptation, also contribute to this effect:
i. "Gregory the Great, mistrusting the clergy's influence ... sent a large number of monks ..." (Salas 1846: 8)
ii. "The sovereign, ... controlled by the clergy, was content with mere praying" (Salas 1846: 11)
iii. "... the prince, full of good intentions, found himself harassed ..." (Salas 1846: 15)
iv. "He persisted in considering him an usurper ..." (Salas 1846: 16)
v. "The sovereign ... imagined he could buy ..." (Salas 1846: 18)
vi. "The Danes put their minds to ..." (Salas 1846: 19)
vii. "Siweyn ... confident that he would win ..." (Salas 1846: 19)
viii. "One of those, resentful that ..." (Salas 1846: 24)
ix. "The people, tame and apprehensive, feared ..." (Salas 1846: 24)
x. "The English King intended to ..." (Salas 1846: 27)
xi. "After giving in to despair, he pondered ..." (Salas 1846: 29)
Furthermore, Salas' choice of an explanatory stance is confirmed by his interspersing of explanatory paragraphs and his restricted use of a cause-and-event pattern. Causal, consecutive and complex sentences abound, which contrasts with the coordinating or juxtaposed structures common in peer narratives. A few examples may suffice to demonstrate our point:
i. "Having learnt his lesson from 27 years of suffering and exile, Edward's only desire was to keep peace" (Salas 1846: 23)
ii. "The sovereign, moved either by his love of justice or his fear of discordance, felt it was enough to ..." (Salas 1846: 26)
iii. "Luck was so much on their side that they not only managed to establish a church in Canterbury, but ..." (Salas 1846: 8)
iv. "he was badly affected by a terrible and painful illness to the extent that he had to give in to ..." (Salas 1846: 15)
v. "since it must be noted that Norman courtiers, despite they did not have at their disposal the armies led by Danish warriors, favoured by royal protection ..." (Salas 1846: 24-25)
c) Finally, it is worth mentioning that Salas does not assert his authority on the Anglo-Saxons as an all-powerful writer, but shares his sources of information with his readers through a variety of resources. That is, he constructs an authorial voice more open to alternative or divergent viewpoints, through the indication of his sources of information and a sensible attribution of assertions and claims. In his Advertencia (Salas 1846: iv-x) he includes a list of the books consulted to make his claims and throughout his pages different reportative evidential expressions, whether quotative or hearsay, are found, as well as linguistic hedging and other mitigating devices to lessen the impact of an utterance. See, for example:
i. According to a chronicle ... (Salas 1846: 14)
ii. Tradition says that (Salas 1846: 19)
iii. Tempests, it was said, make the rover's arm strong (Salas 1846: 10)
iv. History does provide enough evidence for us to believe that ... (Salas 1846: 3)
v. "... it must be admitted that the Christian faith sweetened, to some extent, the harshness of these uses" (Salas 1846: 9-10)
vi. "One of these, in particular, whose daughter Edward had taken as his wife ..." (Salas 1846: 24)
The analysis of Salas' text has proved that the construction of identities, self or other, runs invariably linked to ideological and personal standpoints. According to this historical and dynamic nature of representations, Salas' portrait may be said to reproduce the author's romantic ideals and his literary practices rooted in a social, psychological and critical framework. On the one hand, the text encompasses all romantic features: individualistic, vocational, idealist, universal, marginal and symbolic; on the other, it highlights Salas' concern about the lacks observed in the Spanish contemporary system.
The analysis indicates that this little-known vocational historian sketches a contrasting image of the Anglo-Saxons through a personal selection of contents and a skilful use of rhetorical, linguistic and new historiographical strategies. It is possible to state that unlike in other nineteenth century narratives: 1) The Spanish conventional image of the Anglo-Saxons is backgrounded. The Anglo-Saxons are not so much territorially and ethnically rendered, but socially defined. Little attention is paid to their political identity, which serves merely as a tool to spotlight social issues. Consequently, relevant data in other renderings, such as Anglo-Saxon continental or biblical ancestors, their legendary anchorage, their national virtues or their heroic nature as land winners are neutralized; fewer strategies of group coherence--such as the emphasizing of common features, the usual simplification of characters and the avoiding of inner differences--are applied; and the narrative's function as a nation-imagining myth fades slightly away. 2) In Salas' text a social and pragmatic function seems clearest: the Anglo-Saxon representation is meant to shape contemporary thinking or future home events. But unlike other narratives of a similar nature, Salas does not aim at the reinforcing of Catholic standpoints or at the perpetuation of the Spanish official culture. 3) The social focus in this narrative suggests its regenerating purpose, achieved through the destruction of Catholic myths, the severe criticism of religious and political rulers (praised in other accounts) and the reassertion of individuality and popular liberties. 4) The evidence from the study supports the idea that Salas streamlines the role of the common people in their dynamic interaction with political and religious leaders through the building of collective main characters or types. Various resources have been found to contribute to that purpose: the juxtaposition of powerful and powerless characters in adjoining sentences or subject-object structures; the listing of particular members integrating social groups; the recurrent evaluation of Anglo-Saxon figures with a cumulative effect; the repetition of landmark words, the uneven distribution of evaluative meanings of a strongest force to achieve the intended reaction from the audience; or the insertion of explanatory paragraphs expanding on the usual behaviour of social types. 5) The study confirms Salas' deviation from the Spanish common cultural and historiographic practice. Unlike more conservative authors, Salas favours the explanatory and causal account, the social side of history and a less powerful speaker's position.
Finally, findings verify the importance of peripheral, apparently naive, discourses in the construction of foreign identities. However, although cross-cultural perceptions of the 'other' are gaining ground among researchers, much work remains to be done on the images of Englishness elaborated by Spanish scholars.
Received 22 May 2008
Revised version accepted 16 December 2008
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Paloma Tejada Caller
Universidad Complutense Madrid
(1) Work for the present article was carried out under the auspices of the Research Project HUM2005-08221-C02-01, financed by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science.
(2) English translations of original extracts are mine.
(3) Cruz (1999) abounds on the control exercised by the Church on culture and education throughout the 19th c. Victoria Lopez Cordon, as quoted in Peiro (1990: 129) insists on similar arguments.
(4) Anquetil, Blanqui, Chateaubriand, Fleury, Gallibert, Green, Guizot, Hume, Oncken, Ott, Saint Prosper, Macaulay, Thierry were all well-known authors in 19th c. Spain, as suggested by translations (Tejada 2007). See also Peiro and Pasamar (1987) on the Spanish dependence on European culture and introduction of new contents in late 19th c. history books.
(5) Tejada (2007) analyses ten books classified as literary, being either literary anthologies or books dealing with literary issues. Most dated from the 1875s onwards, but offered no information on Anglo-Saxon literature, except for Henrich i Girona (1881), whose author evaluated the Old English period as "scarcely important and difficult to understand" (1881:11). Therefore, the political Anglo-Saxon identity recognised in history books seemed to prevail over a further literary or more widely cultural one.
(6) During the last two decades, a growing literature has emerged on the construction of an English identity in early times. On the complexities of the concept of medieval race, its constituents and relation to the idea of ethnicity, see Chester (1996: 515-18); on the discursive elaboration of an English identity before the Norman Conquest, see chapter 2 in Thomas (2005); Scragg and Weinberg (2000) offers different views on ideas of Englishness, race and nationality developed from the Anglo-Saxons themselves; from a personal perspective, Shippey (2000) discusses the notion of an English identity as suspect, sustaining that in the popular imagination the Anglo-Saxons are unknown. Identity construction also forms the heart of Frantzen and Niles (1997); on the rise and development of Anglo-Saxonism, Frantzen (1990) is a classical reference; both Lavezzo (2006) and Michelet (2006) focus on the emergent sense of English identity in relation to land and space. Interesting as well is Astrom (2002) on identity processes and negotiations carried out by Anglo-Saxonists through the use of OE texts. For representations of the English as portrayed by non-English observers, contributions are scarce: see Bjork (1997); Fjaldall (2005) or the dissertations mentioned in Astrom (2002: 22).
(7) The role played by historians in 'constructing reality' has been studied from different standpoints, traditional or modern. The recent development of linguistic models derived from the fields of the Critical Discourse Analysis and the Systemic Approach (Appraisal Theory) makes the study of authorial voices even more daring and suggestive. See Wodak et al. (1999); Martin (2000), Martin and White (2005). For applied studies, see Oteiza (2003) and Ricento (2003).
(8) From a large sample of nearly 90 entries comprising information on Anglo-Saxon England throughout the century (Tejada 2007), only three books proved to be Histories of England as such, the three of them published between 1830 and 1850: Gonzalez Vara (1831); Gil de Zarate et al. (1843); and Salas (1846), object of this research. However, the first two seemed to be implicit or explicit versions of English books.
(9) In his Preface, Salas (1846: i-iii) states his idea of history and expresses his aim to reveal the admiring development achieved by the English: "... es la Historia el manantial de todos los conocimientos humanos ... Pero este bien que apetecemos para la humanidad, no podra lograrse, interin la Historia sea una vana cronologia de soberanos, una nomenclatura de pueblos, un hacinamiento de fechas. Es necesario salir del yugo de la rutina y remontarse al principio de las revoluciones, al origen de las dignidades, al fundamento de las creencias ... Creyendo nosotros que carece nuestro idioma de obras historicas dictadas por estos principios, hemos concebido el proyecto de llenar este vacio, en cuanto de nosotros dependa ... Daremos resultados, y en breves reflexiones formularemos nuestro juicio acerca de los hechos que narremos ... Empezamos por la Historia de Inglaterra no como objeto de predileccion, sino como resultado de examen y aun de cierta analogia. Parecenos que es asunto de suyo altamente curioso el analisis de ese poderio que tiene a la mitad del mundo por envidioso y a la otra mitad por vasallo; el averiguar como del caos mas profundo de pobreza, de aislamiento y de barbarie, pudo la voluntad y energia de esos islenos convertir ese penon en un emporio del mundo civilizado" (Original spelling maintained).
(10) Books of a similar nature were published in England and France in the 1840s. See, for example,( Philadelphia: Carey & Hart) Heads of the People or Portraits of the English (1840-1).
(11) As in other works of an apparently similar kind, in Salas' chronological account, different amount of space is devoted to Ethelbert of Kent, Egbert, Edmund of East Anglia, Alfred, Edward, Aethelstan, Edward (his son), Edred, Edward Martyr, Svein, Cnut, Godwin, Harold and William. Several other monarchs deserve Salas' attention, though they remain unnamed, for reasons that will be explained later on: Egbert's son, AEthelwulf (Salas 1846: 11), Eadwig, referred to as Edward's (sic) son (Salas 1846: 16), Edgar Peaceable (Salas 1846: 17), Ethelred the Unready (Salas 1846: 18) and Cnut's sons (Salas 1846: 22).
(12) His discourse on the Conquest runs as follows: "AElla and his sons arrived in Kent, and they soon founded the kingdom of Sussex; Cerdic... landed on the western coast and created that of Wesser (sic) ... Finally, other invading hoards established themselves on the left bank of the Thames and founded the kingdom of Essex" (Salas 1846: 7).
(13) See, for example, Gaite, where the Anglo-Saxons are attributed the agentive capacities of individuality and volition, as in: "the Saxons got furious and decided to kill the Danes"; "the Anglo-Saxons helped Canute to conquer Norway" (1874: 257, my italics).
(14) For the importance of naming in identity construction, see Foot (2002).
Paloma Tejada, Ph.D., is currently a Tenured Lecturer in the English Language and Linguistics Department at the U. Complutense de Madrid. Her research interests are: History of the English Language; Spanish Reception of Englishness, Culture, Language and Ideology, English-Spanish Contrastive Linguistics. Her publications on Englishness include: Tejada, P. 2005. 'English Consciousness in 19th century Spain'. Cristopher Butler ed. The Dynamics of Language Use. Amsterdam: Benjamins. 3 6992; Tejada, P. 2006. 'La naturalizacion de lo ajeno'. Marta Carretero, M. et al. eds. A Pleasure of life in words. A Festschrift for Angela Downing. Cersa. 155-184; Tejada, P. 2008. Construcciones cambiantes de la identidad ajena: hetero-imagen inglesa en la RAE. III Congreso Internacional sobre Lengua y Sociedad. Blas Arroyo, J.L. et al. eds. Discurso y sociedad II. Nuevas contribuciones al estudio de la lengua en un contexto social. Castellon de la Plana: U. Jaume I. 415-428; Tejada, P. forthcoming. 'Negotiating future action: Competing discourses on Anglo-Saxon English origins in 19th century Spain. Britishness, identity and citizenship: The view from abroad'.
Address: Departamento de Filologia Inglesa I, Facultad de Filologia, Ed. A, Avda. Complutense s/n, 28040 Madrid, Tel. +34 91 3945392, Fax: +34 91 394 54 78.
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|Title Annotation:||Salas y Quiroga's Anglo-Saxon England: a Psychological and Sociological Portrait of Power|
|Publication:||Atlantis, revista de la Asociacion Espanola de Estudios Anglo-Norteamericanos|
|Article Type:||Critical essay|
|Date:||Jun 1, 2009|
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