Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Maida Watson

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Andrea Fanta

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Nicola Gavioli

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Astrid Arrarás

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

Committe member


siglo XIX, novela de ciudad, novela urbana, ciudad, urbe, modernidad, tradición, civilización, barbarie, modernización, novela de artista, novela de (de)formación, ciudadanos, discurso criminológico, otredad urbana

Date of Defense



Urban space has played a prominent role in late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Latin American literature and culture due to the historical and political importance that cities have had and to the relevant role they played in the passage of Latin-American to modernity at the end of the nineteenth century. In spite of this, the fin de siècle´s city novels have not received the attention they deserve. They have often been misclassified (the Latin American urban novel has been studied almost exclusively as a phenomenon of the second half of the 20th century) and/or ignored even though they could provide crucial information about the modernization of Latin American capitals and the development of national identity in the region, as well as on the birth of urban literature in Latin America.

Through the physical image of the city, liberal politicians and intellectuals of the 19th century tried to restructure the national identity using idealized European models that often clashed with the traditional aspects considered by a sector of society as the true Latin American traits. This tense situation was further complicated by the complex relationship that the newly founded republics had with the indigenous cultures of each area. The urban novel of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries questioned or rejected the proposed idea of modernity and nation and tried, in some cases, to negotiate new possibilities of identity. In this dissertation I analyze the literary representation of the Latin American city in six urban novels from Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela published between 1880 and 1920 with the purpose of identifying the tensions that the modernizing process produced in the urban space, its inhabitants (and their way of life) and the concept of nation of each country.





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