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Modesto Lafuente y Zamalloa
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Spanish critic and historian, b. at Ravanal de los Caballeros, 1 May, 1806; d. at Madrid, 25 Oetober, 1866. He received his early education in his native town, but later took courses at the Universities of Santiago, Astorga, and Valladolid, receiving at the last institution the degree of Bachelor of Theology in 1832. He was appointed to the chair of philosophy and later to that of theology at the University of Astoria, but he remained only a short time, for he decided to devote himself to journalism. He moved to Madrid where he published with success a critical and satirical newspaper under the title of "Fray Gerundio", a name which, according to Ferrer del Rio, he borrowed from the work of Father Isla. Under the pseudonyms of Fray Gerundio and Tirabeque, he wrote many capilladas or essays on a great variety of subjects, including the political questions of the day. His articles became so popular that it was not long before his paper was read in every corner of Spain. Lafuente's chief work, however, and the one by which he is best known, is his "Historia general de España", which he published in Madrid (1850-1869, 30 vols.). A second edition (13 vols.) was published in 1874-1875. Among his other works may be mentioned his "Teatro social del siglo XIX" (1846), dealing with the manners and customs of the day; "Viaje aerostático del Fray Gerundio y Tirabeque". The latter is divided into two parts, the first being a review of aerial navigation, and the second, a satire on the political situation in Europe. The important events of 1848 caused him to write his "Revista Europea" which he published as a periodical for about one year. His works are all written in an easy, flowing, popular style.
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