Albacete / Birmingham / New York

In Amor se escribe sin hache (Amor is written without H, 1929), “an almost cosmopolitan novel,” Enrique Jardiel Poncela describe Birmingham as “the Albacete of the United Kingdom.” Not to be outdone, José Martínez Azorín (who also gave the Generation of 98 its name) baptised Albacete “the New York of La Mancha.” That all this praise merely situates the genuine poverty suffered in Albacete in the early twentieth century in the context of the extraordinary deprivation of La Mancha can be seen from the following, admittedly partial pamphlet published in Seville in 1937 (Albacete es una provincia rusa. Y Cartagena una ciudad bolchevique.):

Albacete is Russian [ie ruled by Russian and Spanish Stalinists]. In the middle of the countryside, far from the fronts, an uneducated region, already breathing the atmosphere of La Mancha and its windmills. In the centre of this old and miserable town, its houses built on the hillside, many of them mud, real hovels, a conglomeration of misery considered unworthy of bombing by the aeroplanes.
Albacete es ruso. En pleno campo, lejos de todos los frentes, una región inculta, que tiene ya el ambiente de La Mancha y sus molinos. En el centro de esta vieja y miserable ciudad, de casas construídas en la colina, muchas de ellas de barro, verdaderas guaridas, un conjunto de miseria que los aviones no tienen ningún interés en bombardear.

The generalisation of “X is the Y of Z” facilitates radical navigational strategies. However, not all the insights provided by cycling around Germany using the 1905 Baedeker streetmap of greater London can be described as useful.

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Last updated 15/09/2005

This post pre-dates my organ-grinding days, and may be imported from elsewhere.

Albacete (36): Albacete [Spanish pronunciation: [alβaˈθete]] is a city and municipality in the Spanish autonomous community of Castilla-La Mancha, and capital of the province of Albacete.

Andalusia (152):

Castile-La Mancha (36):

Enrique Jardiel Poncela (3): Enrique Jardiel Poncela was a Spanish playwright and novelist who wrote mostly humorous works. In 1932-33 and 1934 he was called to Hollywood to help with the Spanish-language versions shot in parallel to the English-language films.

Generation of '98 (23): The Generation of '98 Generación del 98 or Generación de 1898) was a group of novelists, poets, essayists, and philosophers active in Spain at the time of the Spanish–American War. The name Generación del 98 was coined by José Martínez Ruiz, commonly known as Azorín, in his 1913 essays titled "La generación de 1898", alluding to the moral, political and social crisis in Spain produced by the loss of the colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam after defeat in the Spanish–American War that same year.

José Martínez Ruiz (7): José Augusto Trinidad Martínez Ruiz, better known by his pseudonym Azorín, was a Spanish novelist, essayist and literary critic.

Kaleboel (4307):

Natural history (512): Natural history is the research and study of organisms including animals, fungi and plants in their environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study.

Russia (108):

Seville (31):

Spain (1881):

Spanish literature (171):

Stalinism (3): Stalinism is the means of governing and related policies implemented from around 1927 to 1953 by Joseph Stalin.

Tree (284):


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