A Cultural History of Madrid: Modernism and the Urban by Deborah L. Parsons

By Deborah L. Parsons

Despite its foreign value, Madrid has been nearly completely neglected by way of city, literary and cultural stories released in English. A Cultural historical past of Madrid: Modernism and the city Spectacle corrects that oversight via featuring an city and cultural heritage of town from the flip of the century to the early 1930s.

Between 1900 and 1930, Madrid's inhabitants doubled to just about a million, with lower than part the inhabitants being indigenous to town itself. faraway from the 'Castilian' capital it was once made out to be, Madrid used to be quickly changing into a socially magnetic, more and more secular and cosmopolitan city. Parsons explores the interface among elite, mass and pop culture in Madrid whereas contemplating the development of a latest madrileño identification that constructed along city and social modernization. She emphasizes the interconnection of paintings and pop culture within the construction of a metropolitan character and temperament.

The publication attracts on literary, theatrical, cinematic and photographic texts, together with the paintings of such figures as Ramón Mesonero Romanos, Benito Pérez Galdós, Pío Baroja, Ramón Gomez de l. a. Serna, Ramón Valle-Inclán and Maruja Mallo. moreover, the writer examines the improvement of new urban-based paintings types and entertainments resembling the zarzuela, song halls and cinema, and considers their interplay with extra conventional cultural identities and actions. In arguing that conventional elements of tradition have been integrated into the standard lifetime of city modernity, Parsons indicates how the limits among 'high' and 'low' tradition turned more and more blurred as a brand new id inspired through sleek consumerism emerged. She investigates the interplay of the geographical panorama of the town with its expression in either the well known mind's eye and in aesthetic representations, detailing and interrogating the hot freedoms, wishes and views of the Madrid modernista.

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Extra resources for A Cultural History of Madrid: Modernism and the Urban Spectacle

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Descending to the streets, he recommends, allows the observer to see the variety of the city’s built form, and the distinct dimensions and decoration of the facades of its houses. Moving from an encyclopaedic perspective to a kaleidoscopic one, from exhaustive description to the appreciation of colourful, changing form, the architectural example provides a synonym for Mesonero’s writing of the social physiognomy of the city. For having provided his readers, in the Manual, with a map of Madrid, in the costumbre he declares, he intends to show them its character, to ‘abandon stones for men; the conventions of architecture for the conventions of society; in short, the physical Madrid, for the essence of its people’ [dejáramos las piedras por los hombres; los órdenes arquitectónicos por el orden de la sociedad; el Madrid físico, en fin, por el Madrid moral] (EM, 306).

Familiar with the phenomenal inefficiency of the city’s bureaucracy, Fígaro knowingly laughs that he will be unlikely to accomplish his business within fifteen months. As the title of the piece implies, every errand in Madrid will take days to even initiate, as the harrassed Monsieur SansDelai soon discovers. 19 In a city that offers almost no services or facilities for outsiders, he is thus forced into idle waiting, left stranded by bureaucratic indolence and institutional incompetency. Mesonero’s suggestions for urban reform dealt directly with the scarcity of adequate accommodation, restaurants and transport for visitors to 1830s Madrid, but the city’s lack of official hospitality remained a common complaint.

The political, royal, scientific and literary laboratory of Madrid; . . the stage on which the drama of its history and the intrigue of its intimate and social life are played out and reach their dénouement. [La Puerta del Sol es el corazón, el núcelo de la viralidad y animación de la población cortesana. . el laboratorio político, cortesana, científico y literario de Madrid; . . 29 The Puerta del Sol was being transformed, almost unrecognisably, into the hub of the new commercial city.

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