Mariano José de Larra

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]

Mariano José de Larra
Portrait by José Gutiérrez de la Vega
Born24 March 1809
Madrid, Spain
Died13 February 1837 (aged 27)
Madrid, Spain
OccupationJournalist, novelist, playwright, politician


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.

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).

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 Armadeus, was not his-- exposing infidelity in their marriage. Larra divorced his wife shortly afterward.[2]

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.

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]


  • 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 posters.
  • The Premio Mariano José de Larra rewards young outstanding journalists in Spain.
  • The National Museum of Romanticism in Madrid has items relating to Mariano José de Larra.
  • He is a frequent reference point among Spanish writers, including Francisco Umbral (Larra, anatomía de un dandy, 1965), Francisco Nieva (Sombra y quimera de Larra, 1976), Antonio Buero Vallejo (La detonación, 1977); and Juan Eduardo Zúñiga (Flores de plomo, 1999).


  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

External links


The aduaneros (lit. "customs officers") were a special military force created by Tomás de Zumalacárregui during the First Carlist War. They were entrusted with the levying of revenue for various consumer goods. During the first years of the war, they prohibited the export and import of goods to isolated barracks and fortified villages that had sided with the Liberal (Isabeline) cause.

The aduaneros' uniform included corduroy pants, jacket, and vest; a flesh-colored corset; blue beret with white tassel; gray cloak; and alpargatas, a sort of light sandal made of hemp. Their weapons included a bandolier and carbine.

Mariano José de Larra wrote a satirical article about them called "Nadie pase sin hablar con el portero" ("No one can pass without speaking first with the doorman").

Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe

The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE; French: Alliance des Démocrates et des Libéraux pour l'Europe, ADLE) is a transnational alliance between two European political parties, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Party and the European Democratic Party. ALDE has political groups in the European Parliament, the EU Committee of the Regions, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. There are assorted independents in these groups as well as national-level affiliate parties of the European-level parties.

The pro-European platform of ALDE espouses liberal economics, and support for European integration and the European single market.

Civil libertarianism

Civil libertarianism is a strain of political thought that supports civil liberties, or which emphasizes the supremacy of individual rights and personal freedoms over and against any kind of authority (such as a state, a corporation, social norms imposed through peer pressure and so on). Civil libertarianism is not a complete ideology—rather, it is a collection of views on the specific issues of civil liberties and civil rights.

Juan Eduardo Zúñiga

Juan Eduardo Zúñiga Amaro (24 January 1919) is a Spanish writer, Slavonic scholar, Portuguese scholar, literary critic and translator.

He was born in Madrid, and is considered among the most important living Spanish writers, alongside novelists like Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Eduardo Mendoza and Andrés Pascual, all of them included in the so-called Spanish New Narrative.


Larra may refer to:

Larra (genus), a genus of parasitoid wasps

Larra, Haute-Garonne, a commune in France

Mariano José de Larra (1809 – 1837), Spanish romantic writer and journalist

Liberal internationalism

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Liberalism and radicalism in Paraguay

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Liberalism in Bolivia

This article gives an overview of liberal parties in Bolivia. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ means a reference to another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it isn't necessary so that parties labeled themselves as a liberal party.

Liberalism in Colombia

This article gives an overview of liberalism in Colombia. It is limited to liberal parties with substantial support, mainly proved by having had a representation in parliament. The sign ⇒ means a reference to another party in that scheme. For inclusion in this scheme it is not necessary for the parties to have labeled themselves as a liberal party.

Liberalism in Luxembourg

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Liberalism in Moldova

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Luis Mariano de Larra

Luis Mariano de Larra y Wetoret (1830, in Madrid – 1901, in ibis) was a Spanish writer, son of journalist Mariano José de Larra. Also noted as author of numerous zarzuelas such as El Toro y el Tigre, Un embuste y una boda, Todo con raptos, El cuello de la camisa, con el Sr. Suricalday, among others.Larra worked for the Ministry of Development and contributed to various publications of the time such as the Gaceta de Madrid, from which he resigned to devote himself exclusively to literature. He also wrote many comedies, among which is his much successful La oración de la tarde, drama in three acts and verse whose protagonist Don Diego de Mendoza, dragging his righteous indignation for reasons of honor, implements the evangelical precept of forgiving every injury. It premiered at Teatro del Circo on 25 November 1858 with great acclaim.

Museum of Romanticism (Madrid)

The Museum of Romanticism (Spanish: Museo del Romanticismo) is an art museum located in Madrid, Spain. It was inaugurated in 1924 as Museo Romántico.

It is housed in a late eighteenth-century building (two stories plus an attic floor, which is not open to the public). The building was declared Bien de Interés Cultural in 1962.The museum was reordered in 2009 and relaunched with its current name (a modification that clarifies that the museum is about romanticism). The museum's exhibits are presented in the context of a historic house with a dining room, billiard room etc. They include items related to the romantic writer Mariano José de Larra.

Romanticism in Spanish literature

Romanticism arrived late and lasted only for a short but intense period, since in the second half of the 19th century it was supplanted by Realism, whose nature was antithetical to that of Romantic literature.

The two Spains

The two Spains (Spanish: Ser de España) is a phrase from a short poem by Spanish poet Antonio Machado. The phrase, referring to the left-right political divisions that later led to the Spanish Civil War, originated in a short, untitled poem, number LIII of his Proverbios y Cantares (Proverbs and Songs).

Antonio Machado himself is an example of this split.

While he wrote a poem to honor the Communist General Enrique Líster, his brother Manuel Machado dedicated another poem to the saber of the rebel Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

The idea of a divided Spain, each half antagonistic to the other half, dates back at least to 19th-century Spanish satirist Mariano José de Larra, who, in his article "All Souls' Day 1836" ["Día de difuntos de 1836"] wrote "Here lies half of Spain. It died of the other half." Later, philosopher Miguel de Unamuno, Machado's contemporary, developed the idea through the Biblical story of Jacob and Esau struggling for dominance in their mother's womb, as in the article "Rebeca" (1914), which may pre-date Machado's quatrain. But historians trace the idea still further back, to the 17th and 18th centuries and the formation of the Spanish character.Historian Charles J. Esdaile describes Machado's "two Spains" as "the one clerical, absolutist and reactionary, and the other secular, constitutional and progressive," but views this picture of the first Spain as "far too simplistic", in that it lumps the enlightened absolutism of the 18th century Bourbon monarchs with the reactionary politics that simply wanted to restore the "untrammeled enjoyment" of the privileges of the Church and aristocracy. In addition, he states that the populacho—the mass of the common people "pursuing a dimly perceived agenda of their own"—were not loyal to any of these on any long term basis.

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