La urbanización decimonónica de Madrid

La urbanización decimonónica de Madrid

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Mariano José de Larra (1809-1837) was the most critical literary voice of the first third of the Spanish nineteenth century. Whether directed against censorship, the police and the Inquisition, or mypoic social attitudes and passing fads, his writings always showcased his unique, ironic and biting temperament. Moreover, many of his essays reflected the consequences of the ongoing urbanization of Madrid. The essays titled «Jardines públicos» (1834), «La fonda nueva» (1833), «Las casas nuevas» (1833), «La vida de Madrid» (1834) and «El día de Difuntos de 1836. Fígaro en el cementerio» (1836) are republished here as a way of prompting discussion of Larra as an urban critic. Ramón de Mesonero Romanos (1803-1882) best expressed the characteristically «triumphant and triumphalist» attitude of modernity, understood as a bourgois product. The essays and excerpts of more extensive works republished here -«Los jardines del Retiro» (1840), «La casa de Cervantes» (1833), «El alquiler de un cuarto» (1837), «Paseo por las calles» (1835), and «Rápida ojeada sobre el estado de la capital y los medios de mejorarla» (1835)- testify to the author's sympathy for Madrid. As a planner, Mesonero bemoaned the destruction of Madrid's monuments, encouraged a touristic vision of its advantages (apologizing for its defects) and saw to improvements that greatly changed Madrid. A critical introduction in Spanish (penned by Benjamin Fraser) engages the fundamental premise of «Urban Cultural Studies» in language accessible to a wide range of readers.