Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Spanish & Portuguese

First Advisor

Juan Pablo Dabove

Second Advisor

Peter Elmore

Third Advisor

Leila Gomez

Fourth Advisor

Susan Hallstead

Fifth Advisor

Alejandra Laera


Camila O'Gorman: reality and myth in the Argentine cultural imaginary (1847-1884) is a reconstruction of the life, escape, persecution, capture and execution of Camila O'Gorman (1825-1848) during the dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1793-1877); and an analysis of the representations of the case in XIX Century Argentine literature. In my research, I appreciate the case as more than a cause célèbre, or a romantic myth, and analyze the narrative processes through which the historical reference of the Rosas dictatorship has shifted in time by the greater meaning of hegemony and political authoritarianism.

The first chapter, Camila O'Gorman (1825-1848), is a complete reconstruction of the historical episode carried out through the analyses of primary sources viewed in the National Archive of the Nation (Archivo General de la Nación), the Treasure of the National Library (Tesoro de la Biblioteca Nacional Mariano Moreno) and the Supreme Court (La Corte Suprema de Justicia) in Argentina. The second chapter, Camila O'Gorman en la Literatura Nacional, explores literary texts written by Hilario Ascasubi, Felisberto Pelissot, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Juana Manuela Gorriti, and Julio Llanos, in which the historical episode is developed into a romantic myth through which the writers introduce knowledge and historical experiences that are sedimented in the present, thus becoming symbolic readings of the nation. As such, Camila O'Gorman assumes the fullest expression of a national tragedy: her story represents both the antagonism between factious, arbitrary violence; and the possibility of a truly free national subject that represents the idealized subject of the liberal nation-state.

This thesis illuminates the ways in which an authoritative regime is more than a repressive order, and is the necessary condition for the existence of a romantic myth whose significance has been imposed throughout particular periods of argentine history: The Rosas dictatorship (1848-1852), the república oligárquica of the period known as the Organización Nacional (1852-1870), and the period of consolidation and modernization of the nation-state (1870-1883). This thesis seeks to provide a new perspective on the representation of Camila O'Gorman in the Argentine cultural imaginary through a critical division of that which constitutes reality and myth.