A brief history of zoological shame

Featuring a Spanish view of the Saxons.

Javier Álvarez quotes Valle-Inclán’s Marquis of Bradomín, getting his end away in Mexico in Sonata de estío (1904-ish):

La raza sajona es la más despreciable de la tierra. Yo, contemplando sus pugilatos grotescos y pueriles sobre la cubierta de la fragata, he sentido un nuevo matiz de la vergüenza: la vergüenza zoológica. / The Saxon race is the most worthless on earth. Contemplating their grotesque and puerile fights on the deck of the frigate I felt a new nuance of shame: zoological shame.

Javier says that in the original, «La niña Chole», which appeared in Femeninas in 1897, the Saxons were Yankees, their faces red & freckled, with saffron hair and perjured eyes (or something (ojos perjuros)). But the loss of Cuba and the Philippines in 1898 presumably reduced public appreciation of their grotesque and puerile fighting, so in the final version they became English.

I think zoological shame must be a category of plaatsvervangende schaamte / vergüenza ajena / proxy shame. His gaze has something ratty, but life’s too short to go around feeling embarrassed on behalf of rodents.

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