Mariano José de Larra

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Portrait of Mariano José de Larras in the Museo nacional del Romanticismo

Mariano José de Larra y Sánchez de Castro (born March 24, 1809 in Madrid , † February 13, 1837 ibid) was a Spanish writer and journalist .


Larra was born on Calle Segovia in Madrid, in the former Casa de la Moneda . His father was a doctor and stood out as a so-called afrancesado during the Spanish War of Independence with his work as a military doctor in the service of Joseph Bonaparte . In 1813 the family had to migrate to France and moved to Bordeaux. After an amnesty in 1819, the family returned to Spain.

Larra began studying law in Valladolid , which he never finished. Initially Larra wrote odes and satires , in 1828 he founded a satirical magazine called El duende satírico del día. In his youth, according to his biographers, he is said to have lived through an unhappy love similar to that of young Werther's sufferings .

On August 13, 1829, he married Josefa Wetoret, a marriage that resulted in three children. As early as 1831 Larra began an extramarital relationship with Dolores Armijo, who was also married in turn. Larra's dissatisfaction with his early marriage was later reflected in his article El casarse pronto y mal .

Larra's tomb (Madrid)

1832 began with the magazine El Pobrecito Hablador , which appeared until March 1833, another important stage of his work, which continued with the collaboration on the liberal magazine La Revista Española . Under the pseudonym Fígaro, Larra wrote a large number of mostly satirical articles that dealt with both literature and politics. In addition to Ramón de Mesonero Romanos, Larra is one of the main representatives of the Costumbrismo style genre , which aims to describe behavior typical of the country. His best-known articles include Vuelva usted mañana , El castellano viejo and En este país .

Much of Larra's political texts during this period referred to the Carlist War . Larra attacked the conservative-absolutist pretender to the throne Carlos María Isidro and supported Queen Isabella II , who was supported by the liberal-constitutionalist camp . In addition, Larra criticized, among other things, the prevailing press censorship , the death penalty , which he regarded as inhuman, and the poor living conditions of the Spanish lower class.

In addition to his satirical articles, Larra published the historical novel El doncel de don Enrique el Doliente and the drama Macías in 1834 , both of which have the same theme - a romantic , tragic story about an extra-marital love set in the Middle Ages. In addition, Larra made a name for himself as a translator of articles and theater plays from French, such as Victor Henri Joseph Brahain Ducange , Eugène Scribe and Casimir Delavigne .

Also in 1834, Larra's relationship with Dolores Armijo became public. As a result, Armijo broke off the relationship and left Madrid. At the same time, Larra separated from his wife Josefa Wetoret. In 1835 he made a trip to Lisbon, London, Brussels and Paris, where he stayed for several months. On the return journey he also visited Ávila in early 1836 , where Armijo now lived, but without their relationship being resumed.

Upon his return to Madrid, Larra worked for El Español magazine . There he initially supported the government under Juan Álvarez Mendizábal , which had recently come into office, and its policy of secularizing church property . Influenced by the politically active writer José de Espronceda , however, he soon criticized the fact that Mendizábal's policies did not benefit the most socially disadvantaged. The opposition to Mendizábal's Partido Progresista led Larra to move closer to the opposition Partido Moderado , although he did not support essential parts of the moderados program - such as maintaining royal authority over parliament.

After the replacement of Mendizábal and the takeover of the moderados under Francisco Javier de Istúriz in May 1836, Larra decided to take up active politics himself. In the parliamentary elections proclaimed by Istúriz, he ran in Ávila and won a seat in parliament. However, the uprising of La Granja on August 12, 1836 led to the proclamation of a new constitution and to the renewed takeover of power by the Mendizábal camp, which scheduled new elections immediately. The parliament for which Larra was elected never met. Because of his reputation as a moderado , he was now also exposed to accusations of political backwardness.

From the end of 1836 onwards, Larra's growing disappointment with political and social developments led to an increasingly pessimistic tone in his articles, among which El día de difuntos de 1836 and La Nochebuena de 1836 stand out. In addition, his attempt to resume the relationship with the returned to Madrid Dolores Armijo failed. On February 13, 1837, after a visit from Armijo, Larra committed suicide with a pistol shot in the chest.

Despite the extensive isolation of Larra in the last months of his life, his funeral on February 15, 1837 became a major social event. Among other things, the young writer José Zorrilla gained first notoriety there through a poem dedicated to Larra.

Works (selection)

  • Macías , 1834.
  • Obras Completas de D. Mariano José de Larra , Barcelona: Montaner y Simón, 1886.
  • Las palabras - artículos y ensayos selection of works with an introduction by José Luis Varela, Madrid: Espasa-Calpe 1982 ff.


Web links

Commons : Mariano José de Larra  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h i j k l Bartolomé Bennassar, Jean-Pierre Amalric, Jacques Beyrie, Lucienne Domergue: Histoire des Espagnols - XVIIIe – XXe siècle . In: Marguerite de Marcillac (ed.): Tempus . 2nd Edition. tape 2 , no. 378 . Editions Perrin, Paris 2011, ISBN 978-2-262-03441-2 , pp. 213 f .