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Isabel Cawthorn

Languages and Literature, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

Remembering the Future: the (re-)�construction of memory, the past and the future in the nineteenth-century Spanish short story�

My thesis explores memory in the nineteenth-century Spanish short story (1850-1899), namely works by Leopoldo Alas (1852-1901). The project offers an innovative perspective of nineteenth-century Spain, drawing upon theoretical frameworks from the interdisciplinary field of memory studies to analyse how concepts of temporality, the future and memory are expressed in the short story form.

I aim to make the case for a more profound investigation of memory in the context of nineteenth-century literature and thought, moving beyond the predominant twentieth-century discussions of memory in Hispanic Studies. I will interrogate the ways in which debates have been historically framed around memory in the nineteenth century, examining the level of historical consciousness and continual reflection on recurrent violence. By analysing of the relationship between traumatic pasts and presents in the short story, novel ways of negotiating historical and temporal consciousness can be uncovered, and the dearth of memory studies work situated in the nineteenth century can be addressed. 

Research Area

  • Languages and Literature


  • Mortal Memories: how the theme of death in the work of Leopoldo Alas (1852-1901) illuminates ideas around oblivion in nineteenth-century Spain, Student Research Festival 2019, University of Sheffield 

Other Research Interests

  • Memory
  • 19th-Century Spain
  • Realism 
  • Space


  • International Network of Nineteenth-Century Hispanists
  • Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland (AHGBI)

Prizes and awards

2019, Petrie Watson Exhibition, University of Sheffield

2018, Herbert Hughes Memorial Prize, University of Sheffield

2018, Fernando Moragas Prize for Spoken Spanish, University of Sheffield