For hundreds of years, Barcelona and Madrid have shared a deep rivalry. Throughout history, they have competed in practically every aspect of social life, sport, politics, and culture. While competition between cities is commonplace in many nations around the world, in the case of Barcelona and Madrid it has been, on occasion, excessively antagonistic. Over time they have each tried to demonstrate that one was more modern than the other, or more avant-garde, or richer, or more athletic, and so on. Fortunately, the Spain of today is a democracy and every nation and region of the State has the liberty to act. As such, the rivalry between these two capitals has become productive not only for the cities themselves, but also for Spain as a whole. One hundred years ago, at the onset of the Historical Avant-Garde in Spain, the connections between Barcelona and Madrid consisted of a complicated web of politics, friendships, publications, and inter-art collaborations. Over the last century, the antagonistic relationship between these two cultural capitals has been dismissed as simply a fact of life and thereby scholars, for the most part, have focused only on Barcelona or Madrid when addressing this cultural moment. By delving deep into the myriad of cultural and political complexities that surround these two cities from the onset of Futurism (1909) to the arrival of Surrealism in Spain (1929), a complex social and cultural network is revealed. Networking between artists, poets, journalists and thinkers connected avant-garde Barcelona and Madrid, thereby creating synergy for this artistic and literary movement. In a hybrid, transdisciplarian, translingual and historical approach using a wide range of visual and textual artifacts, the complexity of interactions described here opens our imagination to new ways of thinking about culture.
Publisher: Bucknell University Press
Number of pages: 288
Weight: 426 g
Dimensions: 227 x 154 x 22 mm
This is a book about friendships and connections, the "networks" of the Spanish avant-garde that played through an exciting political transformation in the cultural history of the peninsula during the early 20th century. As a harbinger of modernity, the avant-garde movement brought with it new opportunities for Spaniards to learn about one another. The rivalry between Barcelona and Madrid is the center of the narrative: Arenas's thesis is that the tension between the two cities opened new spaces for artists from the periphery to participate. Some, like Ernesto Gimenez Caballero of the journal La Gaceta Literaria, were intensely aware of the momentous opportunity, but behind all exhibits and little magazines lay the intention to shake traditional culture by allowing more participation and new expressions. Social networks were the means to connect with groups in different geographical locations. Arenas (Spanish, Univ. of Hawai'i) shows that by destroying old prejudices vanguardia artists and writers, acting together, engaged in new ways of imagining Spain. The international context is not ignored, as all movements are mentioned, always according to their reception in the Hispanic world. Appendixes provide lists of magazines and participants in different seminal events. Summing Up: Recommended. * CHOICE *
Did the Avant-Garde movements of Barcelona and Madrid know about one another? This is the essential question at the heart of Ara' nzazu Ascunce Arenas's ambitious new book. ... [T]he book is highly commendable. Ascunce carefully and thoughtfully analyses a rich variety of sources, avoids burdensome academic jargon, provides an extensive bibliography, and does not unnecessarily favour one city over the other. Overall, this is an important contribution to the complex story of Spain's development in the early twentieth century, and should be welcomed by graduate students and scholars across a variety of disciplines: cultural studies, art history, history and network studies. * European History Quarterly *