Madrid on the move

Feeling modern and visually aware in the nineteenth century

Madrid on the move is a full-length monograph on illustrated print culture and the urban experience in nineteenth-century Spain. It provides a fresh account of modernity by looking beyond its canonical texts, artworks, and locations and exploring what being modern meant to people in their daily lives. The nineteenth century marked a crucial moment for cities across the West. Urbanisation, technological innovations, and the development of a mass culture yielded new forms of spectatorship and experiencing city life. Madrid underwent these processes just as many other European capitals did, and, as a result, the effects of urban and social change were at the heart of the growing number of circulating images and texts. Rather than shifting the loci of modernity from Paris or London to Madrid, this book decentres the concept and explains the modern experience as part of a more fluid, wider phenomenon. Meanings of the modern were not only dictated by linguistic authorities and urban technocrats; they were discussed, lived, and constructed on a daily basis. Cultural actors and audiences continuously redefined what being modern entailed and explored the links between the local and the global, two concepts and contexts that were being conceived and perceived as inseparable. Across images and printed media – from illustrated magazines, caricatures, and postcards to journalistic writing, guidebooks, and maps – what surfaced was an acute awareness of the demands of modernisation and a feeling of forming part of (whether half-heartedly or with conviction) an increasingly entangled world.

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