Mariano José de Larra  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mariano José de Larra (24 March 1809 – 13 February 1837) was a Spanish romantic writer best known for his numerous essays, as well as his infamous suicide. Larra's works were often satirical and critical of nineteenth-century Spanish society, and focused on both the politics and customs of his time.

He was born in Madrid; his father served as a regimental doctor in the French army, and, as an afrancesado, was compelled to leave the Peninsula with his family in 1812. In 1817 Larra returned to Spain, knowing less Spanish than French. His nature was disorderly, his education was imperfect, and, after futile attempts to obtain a degree in medicine or law, he made an imprudent marriage at the age of twenty, broke with his relatives and became a journalist.

On the 27th of April 1831 he produced his first play, No más mostrador, based on two pieces by Scribe and Dieulafoy. Though lacking in originality, it is brilliantly written, and held the stage for many years. On the 24th of September 1834 he produced Macías, a play based on his own historical novel, El doncel de don Enrique el Doliente (1834).

The drama and novel are interesting as experiments, but Larra was essentially a journalist, and the increased liberty of the press after the death of Ferdinand VII gave his caustic talent an ampler field. He was already famous under the pseudonyms of Juan Pérez de Munguía and Fígaro which he used in El Pobrecito Hablador and La Revista Española respectively. Madrid laughed at his grim humour; ministers feared his vitriolic pen and courted him assiduously; he defended Liberalism against the Carlist rebellion; he was elected as deputy for Ávila, and a great career seemed to lie before him. But the era of military pronunciamientos ruined his personal prospects and patriotic plans. His writing took on a more sombre tinge; domestic troubles increased his pessimism, and, in consequence of a disastrous love-affair, he committed suicide in February 1837.


Influence

  • Some of his phrases like Vuelva usted mañana (come back tomorrow) or Escribir en España es llorar (To write in Spain is to cry) are still applied to chastise present-day ills.
  • The Spanish-language clone of the Slashdot Internet forum, Barrapunto, uses Pobrecito Hablador ("Poor little talker") as the name for anonymous commenters.
  • The Premio Mariano José de Larra rewards young outstanding journalists in Spain.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mariano José de Larra" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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