J.B. Trend, first Professor of Spanish at Cambridge

The civilization of Spain

The civilization of Spain. London, New York: Oxford University Press, 1967. 9582.d.162.

John Brande Trend (1887-1958) was the first Professor of Spanish at Cambridge University. He was appointed to the chair of Spanish in 1933. His friendship with Edward Joseph Dent, Professor of Music at Cambridge between 1926 and 1941, was to play an instrumental part in Trend’s passion for Hispanism. His first degree was in Natural Sciences, but he soon developed a keen interest in Spanish life and culture and would later become a prime figure in Spanish musicology. Trend admired Luís de Góngora, one of the most influential poets of the Golden Age, and Manuel de Falla, possibly the greatest Spanish composer of the twentieth century.

In the 1920s, after serving in the First World War, Trend travelled to Spain. He soon formed close links with the Residencia de Estudiantes, which he used to refer to as “Oxford and Cambridge in Madrid”. His last two visits to Spain date back to 1936-1937. His studies of modern Spanish culture from this period still remain a key point of reference for researchers today. Some of his works include The civilization of Spain (1967, classmark 9582.d.162), Lorca and the Spanish poetic tradition (1956, classmark 701:01.c.3.20), The origins of modern Spain (1934, classmark RF.157.21), Spain from the South (1928, classmark 609.c.92.17), and Alfonso the Sage and other Spanish essays (1926, classmark S743:2.c.9.2).

The bridge at Cordoba -- Spain from the South

The bridge at Cordoba, from Spain from the South. London : Methuen & Co., 1928. 609.c.92.17.

Trend’s research on the historiography of Spanish music is equally long-lived. Some representative titles include The music of Spanish history to 1600 (1926, classmark 699.d.1.60), Medieval lyrics in Spain and Portugal (1952, 9743.c.20 and 9743.c.145), Manuel de Falla and Spanish Music (1929, M535.d.90.1), and Catalogue of the music in the Biblioteca Medinaceli (1927, MRR.33.11).

Four box files of Trend’s correspondence and papers (dated ca. 1930-1955) are held at the Manuscripts and Archives Department of the University Library. His correspondence shows various aspects of the way he worked – in particular, his research activities in Spain. The papers include drafts of essays, translations of poetry, and lectures and letters to Trend, mostly from the last decade of his life. Amongst his correspondence, there are letters from Rosalía de Castro, Ruben Darío, Federico García Lorca, Jorge Guillén, Juan Ramón Jiménez, Antonio Machado, José Ortega y Gasset, Alfonso Reyes, Marqués de Santillana and Miguel de Unamuno.

General enquiries about the Archive may be addressed to the Manuscripts & Archives Department. Alternatively, click here for further details.

The King’s College Archives Centre, in Cambridge, contains further correspondence from J.B. Trend to his close friend E.J. Dent (dated 1935-1940). General enquiries about the E.J. Dent Archive (EJDA) may be addressed to Modern Archives, Kings College, Cambridge. Alternatively, click here for further details.

Further links:

Symposium “Remembering J.B. Trend: the quiet internationalist”, convened by Professor Alison Sinclair, (Cambridge University), and Karen Arrandale  (King’s College, Cambridge). April 22-23, 2013.


Prof. Alison Sinclair and Karen Arrandale in conversation with Dame Margaret Anstee, biographer of J.B. Trend.

Sonia Morcillo.

1 thought on “J.B. Trend, first Professor of Spanish at Cambridge

  1. I was one of the first beneficiaries of the J.B.Trend Fund, if not THE first,which financed my first visit to Spain in 1963. Edward Cooper (un don nadie cualquiera).

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