When, why and how did Spain fall from its pre-eminent position as a leading world power in the seventeenth century? These fundamental questions have exercised the minds of distinguished historians such as Prescott, Merriman, Hamilton, Braudel, Vilar, Vicens Vives, Elliott and Kamen and produced a prolific amount of writing. But while the subject of Spain's decline has been subject to rigorous historical research, the debate between scholars underpinning it has t thus far been analyzed from a historiographical perspective. What are the methodologies and schools of inquiry that have shaped the discourse? How have historians' perceptions been influenced by time and circumstance? Why has the 'Two Spains' phemen endured as a historical paradigm against which to measure its fortunes? These are some of the issues this book will address in its appraisal of the historians of Spain's decline and their discourse.
Helen Rawlings is Senior Lecturer in Spanish at the University of Leicester