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The City as Political Metaphor: End-of-the-Century Constructions of Madrid

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Abstract:

The city is a conglomeration of abstract and malleable signs. It is a mediated object but also a mediating subject in constant development; an entity in constant construction and deconstruction of realities. However, the city is not merely a historical, material creation; a commercial, industrial and political product. Its construction is also inseparable from the literary and the artistic. This article studies and compares two urban representations of Madrid: Arturo Soria's urban renewal experiment, the Linear City (1892), and Antonio Muoz Molina's novel Los misterios de Madrid (1992). These constructions are, in temporal terms, separated by a century, but they nonetheless share many philosophical, political, economic and cultural sensibilities. By focusing on two different urban constructions responding to the physical as well as the symbolic nature of the Spanish capital, I propose to draw a brief outline of the city (Madrid) as political metaphor and to hint at future representations by discussing more recent constructions being produced in other contemporary Spanish narratives at the beginning of the twenty-first Century.

Keywords: Madrid; Muoz Molina; Soria; city; contemporary; literature

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ijis.14.2.80

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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