Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date



This thesis approaches the fictional works of three contemporary Latin American authors: the Brazilian writers Regina Rheda, Letícia Wierzchowski and the Argentine author Gustavo Nielsen. In selected works by these writers Humana Festa (2008); Os Aparados (2009) and El Corazón de Doli (2010), respectively, I analyze the literary representation of nature in relation to neoliberalism and globalization in Latin America. My study considers the explicit and implicit values attached to the ecological in contemporary society, how the environment is represented in contemporary literature and how it dialogues with current political, social and cultural trends. The thesis explores how the fictional works in question broach the traditional division between nature and (neoliberal, globalized) culture. All three novels posit consumer culture as an agent of destruction — both ecological and social. At the same time, however, the texts paradoxically propose consumption (of purportedly eco-friendly goods) as the remedy for environmental and human degradation. Rhedas, Wierzchowski's and Nielsen's fictions combine the discourse of ecocriticism with that of consumerism. In this framework, it can be argued that, in Rheda's, Wierzchowski's and Nielsen's fictions, consumption is a pharmakon (A Farmácia de Platão; Derrida, 1991) of sorts to nature. As such, the three novels in question articulate the shifting discourse on nature that prevails in the contemporary period: Nature is seen as both a material resource and as a resource to counteract materialism.

Degree Name

Portuguese (MA)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lehnen, Jeremy

Second Committee Member

Milleret, Margo

Third Committee Member

Lopez, Kimberle




Human ecology in literature, Rheda, Regina, 1957- -- Criticism and interpretation, Wierzchowski, Leticia -- Criticism and interpretation, Nielsen, Gustavo, 1962- -- Criticism and interpretation

Document Type