Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2011

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Gollnick, Brian

First Committee Member

Filios, Denise

Second Committee Member

Fox, Claire

Third Committee Member

Martín-Estudillo, Luis

Fourth Committee Member

Vaquera-Vásquez, Santiago


My dissertation examines three novels by Colombian author Fernando Vallejo: La virgen de los sicarios (1994), El desbarrancadero (2001), and La rambla paralela (2002). Vallejo is considered by many to be the most controversial Latin American novelist of our time. His literary work is filled with harsh criticism towards key pillars of civilization, from religion and democracy to motherhood, making him a symbol of the "politically incorrect" in contemporary Latin American narrative.

This dissertation proves that there is much more to Vallejo's work than the controversy it generates, which has been the focus of much of the literary criticism on him. I show that the discourse of Vallejo's narrator focuses on criticism and nostalgia as a way of dealing with the crisis of modernity in contemporary Colombia. This allows me to establish the origin of the author's critical view of the world in his narrative work: a deep sense of nostalgia for the values of modernity in the midst of the chaos of contemporary life in Colombia, as well as a profound feeling of frustration upon the discovery that they might have actually existed only in the realm of discourse. My research also explores the reasons behind the radical turn in the narrator's view of the world that is evidenced in Vallejo's latter works, as his disillusionment eradicates his belief in criticism and replaces it with a state of nihilism that can only lead to death. Ultimately, my dissertation establishes how Vallejo's narrative reaches its limits by destroying the very arguments on which it once relied.


vi, 153 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 150-153).


Copyright 2011 Andres Fernando Forero Gomez