Jazz Age Barcelona

Jazz Age Barcelona

ROBERT A. DAVIDSON
Copyright Date: 2009
Pages: 288
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2tv34b
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  • Book Info
    Jazz Age Barcelona
    Book Description:

    Using periodicals and recently rediscovered archival material, Davidson considers the relationship between the political pressures of a brutal class war, the grasp of a repressive dictatorship, and the engagement of the city's young intellectuals with Barcelona's culture and environment.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9013-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-10)

    The 1920s and early 1930s were a time of rapid technological, political, and cultural change. Shocked by the horrors of the First World War, American and Western European societies embraced a new style of daily life that fed off the postwar economic boom. Sport and leisure activities such as dance and cinema became popular distractions. In art, various ‘isms’ came and went, gathering strength in some places and dissipating in others. The larger political sphere saw communism and fascism emerge as two poles. During the early 1920s in Catalonia, Spain’s most prosperous region, anarcho-syndicalism continued to push its agenda, threatening...

  5. 1 Barcelona Boom Town
    (pp. 11-26)

    From Barcelona’s initial First World War boom through to its International Exposition of 1929 and beyond into the hangover phase, the city’s unique relationship to the world – and the Spanish state, in particular – coloured the way in which it reacted to itself during this period. Barcelona’s experience of the time, however, is especially unique in that the First World War temporarily relieved Paris of its role as the pan-European city; Barcelona’s geographic location and social conditions allowed it to host spies and representatives of both warring sides and assume the role of frivolity-loving boom town for a brief yet intense...

  6. 2 Where Others Fear to Tread: El Escándalo and Sangre en Atarazanas
    (pp. 27-68)

    Amidst the rich history and historiography of Catalan journalism,El Escándalois a weekly that seems to have fallen through the cracks. It is very rarely mentioned and even the exhaustiveHistoria de la premsa catalanaconcedes that given its diverse subject matter – and name – it is hard to categorize.¹ A definite contributor to what one may callperiodisme de nitor ‘night journalism,’ the paper combines aspects of travel and war reporting with a strong dose of sensationalism, which is unsurprising given the title that its editors bestowed upon it. Bombast notwithstanding,El Escándaloplays an important role in...

  7. 3 The Spatial Aesthetics of Jazz Rhythm
    (pp. 69-103)

    One of the hallmarks of the Jazz Age style in terms of both its manifestation and its reception was a changing expression and appreciation of the notion of rhythm. Jazz music’s often frenetic, syncopated beat became an intrinsic part of the Age’s overall aesthetic. Its novelty served also as a convenient bridge concept for discussions of the rapid changes in the experience of modern life in Europe. For the Catalan cultural commentator Sebastià Gasch, rhythm came to be a fundamental tenet of his critical approaches not only to art and mass spectacle but also, importantly, to the modern city that...

  8. 4 Vantage Point: Barcelona’s Mirador (1929–31)
    (pp. 104-140)

    The cultural practices that accompanied the jazz style to Barcelona and that would subsequently inform the growing appreciation of technology, sports, and mass spectacle in the city’s experience of thefeliços vintbecame more and more prevalent as the 1920s came to a close. Their popularization and eventual gentrification effectuated a profound impact on the life of Barcelona. Played out in clubs throughout the emerging metropolis and eventually expanding to inflect how citizens saw their city, the Jazz Age lifestyle was concentrated, nevertheless, primarily in the areas of the entertainment industry: the Parallel, Raval, and, to a certain extent, the...

  9. 5 An Age in Pictures: Imatges (1930)
    (pp. 141-181)

    Nineteen-thirty was as much a transition year for Barcelona as it was for Catalonia in general. For even though Miguel Primo de Rivera had fled to France in January, authoritarian rule persisted in the form of General Dámaso Berenguer’s so-called dictablanda (bland dictatorship), which put off political and social normalization in Catalonia until the arrival of the Second Republic in 1931. Meanwhile, the culminating event of Spain’s Jazz Age, 1929’s Barcelona International Exhibition, had shed part of its moniker and morphed into the more locally oriented and simply titled ‘Barcelona Exhibition.’ These events, at the same time as the effects...

  10. 6 The Colour of a Cocktail: J.M. de Sagarra’s Aperitiu and Vida privada
    (pp. 182-211)

    Just as Josep Maria Planes was a versatile journalist who gravitated to the centre of the action during Barcelona’s Jazz Age heyday, so too was Josep Maria de Sagarra another key figure during this vibrant time. A multi-talented writer and journalist, he was instrumental in the articulation not only of the practice of the Age as it played out but also in its later criticism – both social and spatial – during what I call the ‘hangover’ period. Like Francesc Madrid, Sebastià Gasch, and Planes, Sagarra epitomized the cross-over potential between aesthetic pursuits and journalism and was to become one of the...

  11. Conclusion: Picking Up the Tab
    (pp. 212-214)

    The Jazz Age in Barcelona has been a somewhat forgotten time. The founding of modern Catalan nationalism at the turn of the twentieth century and the dramatic struggles of the Republic in the 1930s have always seemed to draw attention away from a period in a city that saw both lawless violence bordering on open war and an extremely controlled society under a dictatorship. All of this as Barcelona was experiencing the giddy pressures of mass culture for the first time. That the vibrancy of these years manifested not only in the streets, cinemas, clubs, and exhibition grounds but was...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 215-230)
  13. Works Cited
    (pp. 231-240)
  14. Index
    (pp. 241-248)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 249-250)