Mariano José de Larra

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Mariano José de Larra
Mariano Jose de Larra (Museo nacional del Romanticismo de Madrid).JPG
Born(1809-03-24)24 March 1809
Madrid, Spain
Died13 February 1837(1837-02-13) (aged 27)
Madrid, Spain
OccupationJournalist, novelist, playwright, politician

Mariano José de Larra (24 March 1809 – 13 February 1837) was a Spanish romantic writer and journalist best known for his numerous essays and his infamous suicide. His works were often satirical and critical of the 19th-century Spanish society, and focused on both the politics and customs of his time.


Larra lived long enough to prove himself a great prose-writer during the 19th century. He wrote at great speed with the constant fear of censor before his eyes, although no sign of haste is discernible in his work. His political instinct, his abundance of ideas and his forcible, mordant style would possibly have given him one of the foremost positions in Spain. In 1901, members of the Generation of '98 including Miguel de Unamuno and Pío Baroja brought flowers to his grave in homage to his thought and influence. [1]

Censorship The practice of suppressing information

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The Generation of '98, also called Generation of 1898, was a group of novelists, poets, essayists, and philosophers active in Spain at the time of the Spanish–American War (1898), committed to cultural and aesthetic renewal, and associated with modernism.

Miguel de Unamuno Spanish writer and philosopher

Miguel de Unamuno y Jugo was a Spanish essayist, novelist, poet, playwright, philosopher, professor of Greek and Classics, and later rector at the University of Salamanca.


He was born in Madrid 24 March 1809. His father, Mariano de Larra y Langelot, 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 entered an imprudent marriage at the age of twenty, broke ties with his relatives, and became a journalist.

French Army Land warfare branch of Frances military

The French Army, officially the Ground Army to distinguish it from the French Air Force, Armée de l'Air or Air Army, is the land-based and largest component of the French Armed Forces. It is responsible to the Government of France, along with the other four components of the Armed Forces. The current Chief of Staff of the French Army (CEMAT) is General Thierry Burkhard, a direct subordinate of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA). General Burkhar is also responsible, in part, to the Ministry of the Armed Forces for organization, preparation, use of forces, as well as planning and programming, equipment and Army future acquisitions. For active service, Army units are placed under the authority of the Chief of the Defence Staff (CEMA), who is responsible to the President of France for planning for, and use, of forces.


Afrancesado refers to the Spanish and Portuguese partisan of Enlightenment ideas, Liberalism or the French Revolution.

Exile event by which a person is forced away from home

To be in exile means to be away from one's home, while either being explicitly refused permission to return or being threatened with imprisonment or death upon return.

On 27 April 1831 he produced his first play, No más mostrador, based on two pieces by Scribe and Dieulafoy. On 24 September 1834 he produced Macías, a play based on his own historical novel, El doncel de don Enrique el Doliente (1834).

Eugène Scribe French dramatist and librettist

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Joseph-Marie-Armand-Michel Dieulafoy was a French librettist and playwright.

On 13 August 1829, Larra married Josefa Wetoret Velasco. They had a son and two younger daughters, but their marriage did not go well. He discovered that his third child, whom later notoriously became the lover of King Amadeus, was not his-- exposing infidelity in their marriage. Larra divorced his wife shortly afterward. [2]

Amadeo I of Spain member of the House of Savoy and King of Spain

Amadeo I, was an Italian prince who reigned as King of Spain from 1870 to 1873. The only King of Spain from the House of Savoy, he was the second son of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy and was known for most of his life as the Duke of Aosta, but was appointed King of Spain briefly, from 1870 to 1873.

In 1833, Larra worked translating French theater plays for Juan Grimaldi, and even began writing his own. This year was also crucial because he met Dolores Armijo, a married woman who had already had a son. They began a relationship, even though they were both married.

The drama and novel were 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.

Ferdinand VII of Spain King of Spain

Ferdinand VII was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death. He was known to his supporters as the Desired and to his detractors as the Felon King. After being overthrown by Napoleon in 1808 he linked his monarchy to counter-revolution and reactionary policies that produced a deep rift in Spain between his forces on the right and liberals on the left. Back in power in 1814, he reestablished the absolutist monarchy and rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. A revolt in 1820 led by Rafael de Riego forced him to restore the constitution thus beginning the Liberal Triennium: a three year period of liberal rule. In 1823 the Congress of Verona authorized a successful French intervention restoring him to absolute power for the second time. He suppressed the liberal press from 1814 to 1833 and jailed many of its editors and writers. Under his rule, Spain lost nearly all of its American possessions, and the country entered into civil war on his death.

Mungia Municipality in Basque Country, Spain

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Carlism political movement supporting the claim to the Spanish throne by Don Carlos and his successors

Carlism is a Traditionalist and Legitimist political movement in Spain aimed at establishing an alternative branch of the Bourbon dynasty – one descended from Don Carlos, Count of Molina (1788–1855) – on the Spanish throne.

His constant disappointment in society and politics, added to the pain caused by the end of his relationship with Dolores Armijo, had an influence on his writing, which became pessimistic and took on a more sombre tinge.

Finally, on 13 February 1837, Dolores Armijo, accompanied by her sister-in-law, visited Larra to let him know that there was no chance of the two resuming their relationship. The two women had barely left the house when the writer committed suicide by gunshot. [3]


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  1. Palacios Fernández, Emilio (1984). "Larra, una revisión continua". Dicenda. Cuadernos de Filología Hispánica. 3: 279-288.
  2. "Mariano José de Larra - Spanish Writer". Britannica Online. The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  3. Tracy Chevalier, Editor – Encyclopedia of the Essay