Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Eric White

Second Advisor

Peter Elmore

Third Advisor

Christopher Braider


This thesis argues for the role of laughter in Roberto Bolaño’s laughter in 2666. It posits laughter in 2666 as the crux upon which an abyss of knowledge and experience reaches its vanishing point. Laughter occurs in instances of humor, of the non humorous, but it always occurs. Accounting for why and how, and how the representation of when, why, how laughter occurs in a given text and as a philosophical inquiry returns an abyss as cavernous as the throat from which laughter echoes. If laughter can heal, it is not a cure. It can service well-health, but is laughter ever unhealthy? What of health, disaster, trauma, and violence does laughter relate to? While laughter can heal, it can also echo emotional, mental, and collective trauma and disease. In 2666, this adds up to laughter being investigated itself and a new, “interrogated” for the relationship it plays with health, and global violence. Particularly in a work so underscored by violence gone globalized and a distinctly postnational mileau that spans times and geographies only a literary author or Doctor Who could make. It argues for laughter as it precedes and sustains enactment of violent scenes in Bolaño literary world.