Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

The Alchemy of Exile

The Disinherited: The Exiles Who Created Spanish Culture

By

Allen Lane / The Penguin Press 507pp £30 order from our bookshop

Home thoughts are best from abroad. Memory is a better nurse of patriotism than experience, generally because memory is more easily deluded, and distance lends enchantment. Love for Jerusalem flows by the waters of Babylon. Improbably but convincingly, Macaulay’s Jacobite preferred Scargill to Florence. Almost the only poem all Dutch people know is Denkend aan Holland – a heart-wringing evocation of flat landscape and cloud-filled skies. It was written in Sweden. To imagine England, go to some corner of a foreign field. 

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