Spain has been a fruitful locus for the European imagination for centuries, and it has been most often perceived in black-and-white oppositions -- either as a tyrannical and fanatical force in the early modern period or as an imaginary geography of a ‘Romantic’ Spain in later centuries. However, the image of Spain, its culture and its inhabitants did not evolve inexorably from negative to positive. From the early modern period onwards, it responded to an ambiguous matrix of conflicting Hispanophobic and Hispanophilic representations. Just as in the nineteenth century latent negative stereotypes continued to resurface, even in the Romantic heyday, in the early modern period appreciation for Spain was equally undeniable. When Spain was a political and military superpower, it also enjoyed cultural hegemony with a literary Golden Age producing internationally hailed masterpieces. Literary Hispanophobia and Hispanophilia in Britain and the Low Countries (1550-1850) explores the protracted interest in Spain and its culture, and it exposes the co-existent ambiguity between scorn and fascination that characterizes Western historical perceptions, in particular in Britain and the Low Countries, two geographical spaces with a shared sense of historical connectedness and an overlapping, sometimes complicated, history with Spain.
Yolanda Rodríguez Pérez is Associate Professor of European Literature and Culture in the Department of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam. She specializes in Spanish-Dutch-Anglo cultural exchanges in the early modern period and beyond, with a focus on the intersection between literature and ideology, nation-building processes, imagology and translation studies.