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Title: Travel writing : the work of Roberto Bolaño and Juan José Saer
Author: Gerardi Arauz, G.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines travel and the configuration of the desert within literary works by Roberto Bolaño and Juan José Saer. Travel is considered not only in literal terms but as a journey that occurs within the writing itself. The deserts where these authors set their texts - the Sonoran desert and Patagonia - have been sites through which complex questions of historical and personal identity, migration, crime and colonialism have been explored. This thesis demonstrates how the work of both authors engages with traditions of writing about travel and the desert which range from conquest and captive narratives to biblical crossings and migration. Through close readings of their fictions, and drawing from a number of critical, theoretical and philosophical frameworks, this thesis also examines how Bolaño’s and Saer’s texts present us with essential considerations about literature and ways of reading. The first part of the thesis deals with three novels by Juan José Saer in which travel is at stake, two of which re-enact journeys through or to the desert. An evident dialogue with history also runs throughout the thread of these novels. The second part of the thesis focuses on two novels by Roberto Bolaño that have the desert and travel at their core. Both texts mark their particular stance with regards to experiences of reading and writing in relation to notions of space and travel. Among this thesis’s central research questions are: How do these authors tackle and reformulate the historical, political and biblical traditions of travel and the desert? What are the implications of their depictions of space and travel and why are they so central to their narratives? What types of reading are proposed by their works? The examination and consideration of these questions point to how Bolaño and Saer, while borrowing from traditions of both travel and the desert, transgress them, offering meaningful and ground-breaking literary works. Likewise, the analysis that results from addressing those central questions is situated in the context of current academic interests in issues of travel and space.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available