How to be universal

Andrew Ginger

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Many nineteenth-century Spanish subjects longed to be universal. Universalism in Spanish territories ranged from expressions of brutal racism through to calls for revolutionary federalism, for Philippine nationalism, or for the emancipation of women. Subjects of the Spanish government in the nineteenth century had two primary, overlapping, but not identical motives for wishing to be universal. The first arose from the state's present situation and longer history. The second motive for universalism was a genuine concern with matters general to humanity. The central trope of El drama universal is transmigration, transmutation. In poetic universality, an intimacy is effected between what would otherwise have a confined context in place and time, and what is free of all such limits. Choice and judgement are equally fundamental to many versions of the universal laws said to govern human society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpain in the nineteenth century
Subtitle of host publicationNew essays on experiences of culture and society
EditorsAndrew Ginger, Geraldine Lawless
PublisherManchester University Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781526124760, 9781526124753
ISBN (Print)9781526124746
Publication statusPublished - May 2018

Publication series

NameInterventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century
PublisherManchester University Press


  • universal
  • spain
  • nineteenth century
  • historicism
  • universalism
  • transnationalism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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