Year of Publication

2005

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Susan Carvalho

Abstract

Contemporary novels about Patagonia rely on foundational texts to caricature the region as a sterile, empty, and isolated. This stereotype was the impetus for this study. Through literary texts concerning Patagonia, the author joins the theoretical debate regarding the relationship between marginal and hegemonic cultures. A close analysis of writings on Patagonia reveals that the image of Patagonian space varies considerably depending on the perspective of the narrator, character, or writer. This dissertation analyzes the construction of Patagonian space in six contemporary novels by Chilean and Argentinean writers. It is divided into two sections. The first section discusses novels written about Patagonia by non-Patagonians. These works depend on and repeat the image of Patagonia found in certain foundational texts. The texts analyzed in this section include Patagonia Express, by Luis Seplveda, Final de novela en Patagonia, by Mempo Giardinelli, and La tierra del fuego, by Sylvia Iparraguirre. By contrast, the second part of the dissertation analyzes novels by Patagonian writers. Rather than the familiar stereotypes of Patagonia, these works paint a vibrant picture of the social, economic, cultural, and human realities of Patagonia. The texts of this section include the short stories Caminos y rastrilladas borrosas and Memorias de un carrero patagnico, by Asencio Abeijn and Pap botas altas (a collection of short stories), by David Aracena as well as the novel El corazn a contraluz, by Patricio Manns. The theoretical framework for this dissertation derives from Humanistic Geography an emphasis on the social awareness. Particularly special attention is paid to the ways in which environment shapes human interactions. Within that framework, the use of Cultural Landscape theory serves to illustrate how the social and physical environment shapes the perception of space in Patagonian literature. The ideas of the geographers Edward Soja, Yi-Fu Tuan, Lester Rowntree, Paul Adams, Steven Hoelscher, Karen Till and Edward Casey are used in this dissertation. In addition, the ideas of the literary scholars Arturo Roig, Michael Keith and Steve Pile contributed greatly towards the conclusion that critics must remain constantly aware of how location shapes the perspectives of space and discourses of power.

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