"..quite unconscious of anything outside Baedeker" (E.M.Forster): Malaga City - a failed resort of the early twentieth century?

Mike Barke, Graham Mowl

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


"The second edition (1901) of Baedeker's Spain was scornfully dismissive of what it described as the city of Málaga's "..vigorous effort.. to boom itself as a winter resort..". This negative judgement was amplified in the subsequent edition on the grounds of the "..dirt on the streets, the inefficiency of the drainage system and the deficiency of comfortable quarters". Yet, only a few years later, the Nobel Prize winning poet, Vicente Aleixandre, could write of Málaga - Ciudad del Paraso ! These contrasting representations of place clearly reflect "external" and "internal" perspectives on the city of Málaga at this time but they also relate to the plurality of the tourist gaze. On the one hand there is an expression of concerns reflecting an expectation of assurances about the collective material experience of place. On the other hand there is a celebration of place relating much more to sensations and emotional intensity. Whilst in general terms there may be something of a north European/south European dichotomy manifest here, it will be argued that the early history of Málaga as a resort renders such a categorisation too crude a generalisation. This paper will attempt to reconstruct the trajectory of development of the city of Málaga as a resort destination from the late nineteenth century through to the Civil War. An explanation of the city's changing functional and spatial structure will be presented, using contemporary written accounts - both in literature and the popular media, official reports, statistical sources, the growth and nature of the infrastructure, and the built environment itself. It will be argued that, whilst Málaga may at this stage have failed to become a major tourist destination for Northern Europeans, it actually played a significant specific role for many visitors from that region but, more particularly, for Spaniards and especially Andalucians the city was anything but a "failed" resort. Moreover, the built environment of this phase of the city's development constitutes a major resource that has been fundamental in recent, successful promotional strategies. "
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResorting to the Coast: Tourism, Heritage and Cultures of the Seaside
Place of PublicationLeeds Metropolitan University
PublisherCentre for Tourism and Cultural Change
ISBN (Print)978-1907240027
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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