Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Santiago Juan-Navarro

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

María Asunción Gómez

Third Advisor's Name

Maida Watson

Fourth Advisor's Name

Ana María Bidegain

Date of Defense



This thesis examines the phenomenological projection of space in two Cuban novels: La ninfa inconstante (2008) by Guillermo Cabrera Infante (1929-2005), and Todos se van (2006) by Wendy Guerra (1970-). Both novels are paradigmatic of two generations of Cuban writers who portray the city of Havana as a backdrop against which to project socio-political and biographical narratives. To problematize ethical and political omissions in the novels, this work incorporates disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, urbanism, architecture and literary theory. Through the concepts of prominent phenomenologists, such as Gaston Bachelard, Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty, amongst others, this study evaluates how space becomes a construction to ambivalent dynamics of truth telling within contrasting, suffocating sociopolitical contexts. In addition, it explores how these phenomenological spaces are defined in relation to power.

For instance, the Cuban Revolution, and its aftermath of more than 50 years, brings forth a sense of displacement and placelessness. The novels present and develop both authors’ spatial consciousness (that we call “ontological space”), which is not necessarily a container of three-dimensional objects, but instead, fictional emergent constructions. This thesis concludes that literature can become a meaningful space to cope with unbearable realities.





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