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Barcelona's Vocation of ModernityRise and Decline of an Urban Image$
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Joan Ramon Resina

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780804758321

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804758321.001.0001

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The City of Eternal Returns

The City of Eternal Returns

(p.179) Chapter Six The City of Eternal Returns
Barcelona's Vocation of Modernity
Stanford University Press

Between 1939 and 1975, when Spain was under Francisco Franco, Barcelona became a shadowy city as deracinated peasants flocked to the metropolis in search of work. The rapid waves of newcomers led to the proliferation of a periphery of unregulated shantytowns that paved the way to a never-ending rise of housing projects. The latent rebellion of the rural émigrés in Barcelona was poignantly described by Manuel de Pedrolo in his novel Tocats pel foc. In 1975–1985, an intense retrospective activity took place in Barcelona, with literature initially serving as the projective screen for collective self-awareness. Among the prominent works celebrating the city was Eduardo Mendoza's 1986 City of Marvels (La ciudad de los prodigios), which encapsulates the history of Barcelona's rise to modernity as well as the role of that history in inspiring its pre-Olympic desire. In a sense, the novel is about repetition—more precisely, about living history backwards.

Keywords:   Barcelona, Spain, Francisco Franco, Manuel de Pedrolo, Tocats pel foc, Eduardo Mendoza, City of Marvels, repetition, history, modernity

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