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The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spain

Jesus Cruz

Publication Year: 2011

In his stimulating study, Jesus Cruz examines middle-class lifestyles—generally known as bourgeois culture—in nineteenth-century Spain. Cruz argues that the middle class ultimately contributed to Spain’s democratic stability and economic prosperity in the last decades of the twentieth century. Interdisciplinary in scope, Cruz’s work draws upon the methodology of various areas of study—including material culture, consumer studies, and social history—to investigate class. In recent years, scholars in the field of Spanish studies have analyzed disparate elements of modern middle-class milieu, such as leisure and sociability, but Cruz looks at these elements as part of the whole. He traces the contribution of nineteenth-century bourgeois cultures not only to Spanish modernity but to the history of Western modernity more broadly. The Rise of Middle-Class Culture in Nineteenth-Century Spain provides key insights for scholars in the fields of Spanish and European studies, including history, literary studies, art history, historical sociology, and political science.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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1. Bourgeois Culture and Modernity

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pp. 1-19

The author of a conduct book entitled Elegance in Social Treatment, published in Spain at the end of the nineteenth century, wrote the following in reference to the celebration of January 6, the Epiphany of the Three Kings: “In recent years, it has become...

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2. Bourgeois Conduct and the Making of Polite Society

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pp. 20-51

Spain produced 44 courtesy and etiquette books in the eighteenth century—much fewer than the number of similar publications printed in England and France over the same period of time: 287 and 216, respectively. Yet, between 1820 and 1900, Spanish presses...

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3. Homes from the Inside

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pp. 52-90

In June 1866, a new weekly publication called El Hogar appeared in Madrid. It was presented to the public as a periodical “on the advances in domestic living, hygiene, culinary arts, magazines, poetry, stories, anecdotes, novelties, fashion, advertisements, and public spectacles...

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4. El buen tono and the World of Goods

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pp. 91-130

On January 10, 1882, the first issue of La Moda Ilustrada, a fashion magazine published in Madrid, included an advertisement for a gift shop called El Buen Tono. “Mr. Alvarez Vivigo, owner of this prestigious store,” read the...

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5. The Bourgeois City

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pp. 131-168

Even though, in 1900, Spain was still an agrarian country with a mostly rural population, urban life had experienced an unprecedented transformation throughout the nineteenth century. Quantitatively speaking, the results were modest. At the end of the...

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6. The Pleasures of the Imagination and the Body

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pp. 169-219

Larra might have continued his argument against bullfighting, but before he died at twenty-nine his opinions about the availability of civic forms of entertainment and sociability in Madrid had begun to change. In June 1834, one year after “La fonda nueva” appeared, he published “Jardines públicos,” an...

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pp. 220-224

Current narratives of the history of nineteenth-century Spain, especially of the second half of the century, coincide in highlighting the central role played by the bourgeoisie. The culmination of the liberal state and its society in the...


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pp. 225-250


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pp. 251-282


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pp. 283-294

E-ISBN-13: 9780807139202
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807139196

Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2011