Violencia, raza, mito e historia en la literatura del Caribe colombiano

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Committee Member

Rebecca Biron - Committee Chair


In this study, I explore how three texts from the Colombian Caribbean challenge the notion of a consolidated nation-state and its rhetoric of complete mestizaje, late into the 20th century. With Cien anos de soledad by Gabriel Garcia Marquez as the backdrop of my analysis, I unveil the treatment of race, myth and history respectively in the three novels, and how violence shapes the meanings of these categories. The first chapter focuses on Chambacu, corral de negros (1967) by Manuel Zapata Olivella. In this chapter, I define this novel as a depository of the memory of slavery in Colombia that asserts an African heritage in the Northern Coast. At the aesthetic level, I discuss Zapata Olivella's use of a social realist narrative style to articulate the identity and history of Afro-Colombians. The second chapter examines Alvaro Cepeda Samudio's La casa grande (1962) to explore the strategies he employs to recover and revise the events of the Massacre of the Banana Workers in 1928. In my reading, the massacre emerges as the first wound that causes the disarticulation of the consolidation process of the modern Colombian nation-state. The last chapter centers on Los panamanes (1979) by Fanny Buitrago. I define the legend of the Spanish Man, the foundational legend of the island and the text's organizing element, as a myth of origins that delineates the novel's space as a product of violence and penetration. I establish the use of myth as anti-myth to separate and divide, and to mark the difference that separates the insular space and the continental nation-state. In my conclusion, I return to Cien anos de soledad to explore how processes of reception and canonization in the symbolic market are "produced," following strategies derived from the failed encounter between cultural modernism and social modernization. I argue that this process consists in eliminating the discrepancy between these two aspects to attain an abstract state of Modernity.


Literature, Latin American; Literature, Caribbean

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