Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Peter Elmore

Second Advisor

Juan Pablo Dabove

Third Advisor

Leila Gómez

Fourth Advisor

Andrés Prieto

Fifth Advisor

Luis H. Castañeda


I explore texts such as La Habana para un infante difunto by Guillermo Cabrera Infante; La tía Julia y el escribidor by Mario Vargas Llosa; El asco by Horacio Castellanos Moya; El desbarrancadero by Fernando Vallejo; Edén.Vida imaginada by Alejandro Rossi and O falso mentiroso by Silviano Santiago. In each of these texts, the construction of the self is modeled after the life experience of the author. These works stage the discussion about the thin line between fiction and nonfiction and the difficulty of reading certain texts within categories such as novel or autobiography.

Theoretically, my dissertation relies on a psychological, narratological and linguistic approach. I use criticism by Philippe Lejeune, Sergey Dubrovsky and Paul de Man who have discussed different approaches to the subject of autobiographical narratives, which have given way to a productive controversy from which notions such as autobiographical pact, autofiction and the topological nature of autobiographical language have arisen. The contributions of these critics allowed me to consider that autobiography is not exclusively a reproduction of life but a performative act that is also discursive and rhetorical. In a dialogue with these postulates, my thesis explores the various forms of representation of the self in these texts that appeared in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, in which we can see how the construction of the self is not something that exists prior to the story, but the result of the writing process itself.