Current Students

Ciaran Harty

My research project examines the Spanish costumbrista literature during the reign of Charles IV (1788-1808)- a literary genre depicting everyday social life and customs within the context of Madrid and its most characteristic urban spaces. In the wake of the French Revolution, the intensifying pace of reform in other European countries encouraged enlightened Spaniards to carry out radical social reforms. However, the reign of Charles IV reflected the tensions between modernisers who sought to associate the national Spanish identity with the liberal attitudes emanating from Europe, and casticistas who remained loyal to traditional ways of Spanish life. This identity clash resulted in certain elite Spanish espousing the appearances and mores of traditionally marginalised Spanish social groups, such as majos and majas, who reflected a quintessential castizo identity. This ambiguity surrounding the Spanish national identity was reflected in new prose of costumbrista nature and in articles in the periodical, Diario de Madrid. My thesis connects these journalistic articles with contemporary prose works that have not been extensively considered by critics, and explores the link between this emerging costumbrista literature and the tensions between old and new ways of life, as received by the nascent public opinion.

Supervisory Team: Dr Gabriel Sánchez Espinosa, Modern Languages (Queens University Belfast), Dr Geraldine Lawless, Arts, English and Languages (Queens University Belfast).

Start Date: October 2018