Student Research Projects

A Cultural Study of Political and Social Division of Twentieth-Century Spain: Pedro Antonio de Alarcon's novel, El Sombrero de tres picos and Manuel de Falla’s ballet “The Three Cornered Hat”

Student Stephanie Harron ‘15 (Hispanic Studies and Music)
Faculty Mentor(s)
Department Foreign Languages and Literature
Course Spanish 345: Seminar in Spanish Literature


This project identifies the political and cultural controversies of Spanish literature and music of twentieth-century Spain. The comedic satire and metaphoric symbolism of Pedro Antonio de Alarcon's 1874 costumbrismo novel El Sombrero de tres picos and the majestic and animated espanolismo ballet entitled "The Three-Cornered Hat" by Manuel de Falla, which premiered in 1919, portray a national division within both liberal and conservative Spanish forces as seen in the obvious public reaction of both works. Alarcon's novel portrays the social and political hypocrisy of local andalucian culture, while de Falla's ballet emulates different españolismo aspects of Spanish music such as las jotas, las seguidillas, and la zarzuela. Modernists did not accept the traditional musical Spanish influence as universalismo that Napoleonic forces enforced to culturally integrate Spain with the rest of Europe. By examining these works within the recent social division of twentieth-century Spain, this research models how cultural and political ideologies shaped the social consciousness of each historic period.