Librería Miguel Miranda
Madrid Store Calle Lope de Vega 19, 28014 Madrid, ES
Calle Lope de Vega 19
WHAT WE LOVE
Miguel Miranda Vicente, founder of this bookstore, was a man with an intense and varied life. We will not talk here about his youth, full of anecdotes, and we will focus on the period after the war, when many people had to reorganize their lives. At that time Miguel began to work as an actor at the Spanish Theater in Madrid, since he had had certain contacts with some of its most prominent members and was definitely a person of character and stage skills. So much so that he was a regular member of the cast for almost ten years, during which he would go on several national tours and even play some minor film roles, among which we highlight Panja in La mies es mucho (José Luis Sáenz de Heredia, 1948). However, in the midst of such a busy life, Miguel ("Prince Bolsinsky" to his friends) did not give up his true passion: reading. In this way, he would always find a quiet corner where he could isolate himself from the world and immerse himself in books; He read everything, almost devoured the pages and became a man of vast literary culture.
This passion, together with the demands of the showbiz life, would make him settle down and begin his new married life as a bookseller, a profession in which he began with the books that he himself had been accumulating; In 1949 he opened a place at 17 Prado Street, next to the Ateneo, and it goes without saying that he escaped there whenever he could to chat and debate the most diverse topics. He had been a regular at the gatherings that Don Pío Baroja organized in his house and in general he interacted with various intellectuals of the time, many of whom came to visit him at the store; Over time, it became a meeting point for academics, writers, professors and the most varied and curious people, almost as much as the books that Miguel sold in his small literary cubicle. Without a doubt he was quite a character: athenaist, bibliophile, bohemian, intellectual and somewhat eccentric, in short what would be an unusual individual.
Later, Miguel would move the bookstore to 4 Lope de Vega Street, since the good progress of the business made him need more space for his books. And boy did he find it... That store deserves a mention, having been like a mysterious crypt of culture. It had two real floors, the entrance and a basement, but the first (more than 5 meters high) had been unfolded with shelves between which there were metal floors, false walls lined with books and dark dead ends. ; It was not unusual to hear the muffled voice of a client who had gotten lost among old files, hypnotized by the vision of it all. As if that were not enough, Miguel was an active defender of arachnids, since in his own words "these creatures are staunch enemies of xylophagi and friends of gnomes", so spider webs were accepted. There were harlequins, marionettes, and strange dolls hanging from the ceiling; also a bust of Seneca, scattered papers and an old walnut table from the Spanish 18th century – where there was an old Remington typewriter whose keys clicked dryly. All of this made up the first and surprising vision as soon as you entered through the door.
The basement was a forbidden space, where almost no one went down in years; It was descended by a creaking old staircase and was lined with wooden boards, nailed to battens to the wall to prevent the action of humidity, but rather causing a certain unrest. Inside, large shelves full of boxes lined up symmetrically on the cold stone floor like a bibliographical warehouse; The yellowish light of a few light bulbs barely served to produce a hypnotic dance of shadows, creating a unique atmosphere. And, to say something else, let's not forget the bathroom, the service staircase, the back room, in short, any corner: everything was absolutely full of books, whether on the floor or on improvised shelves to take advantage of any space. In conclusion, it was the bookstore of a person simply in love with his work.
The son, Miguel Miranda Miravet, remained with his father for a time as an assistant and disciple. Starting in 1980, he opened his own store on 7 San Pedro Street, always in the same area. It should be noted that he was a pioneer in the computerization of his inventory, for which he would use an 8 Mhz computer, 640 kb of RAM and 20 MB of hard drive, which at that time was the most cutting-edge. Once the father and founder died in 1997, it was the son who was in charge of supporting the entire business in close collaboration with his wife, Pilar Barrientos Diez de Oñate. With the arrival of the new millennium, it changed location and returned to Lope de Vega Street, this time to No. 19, where the Miguel Miranda Bookstore is currently located. It is a place that he had bought with his father years ago and that had attracted a lot of attention from both of them, as it is located in front of the Cervantes commemorative tombstone: indeed, the entrance of the bookstore faces the wall of the Convent of the Trinitarias Descalzas – a national historical monument from the 17th century where the illustrious author is known to lie – and more specifically to the part where said tombstone appears. Also say that the neighborhood where the store is located is called "Barrio de las Letras", since authors such as the aforementioned Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Quevedo or Moratín lived there.
Neighborhood of letters = Literary Quarter
Today it is Miguel Miranda Barrientos, grandson of the original founder and third generation of booksellers, who takes charge of the business. His great goal, he says, is for the bookstore to be at least one hundred years old.