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Title: Problems of the documentary novel : the treatment of the Chaco War in Bolivian fiction
Author: Gold, Peter J.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3501 8014
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 1978
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The thesis examines Bolivian fiction written about the war with Paraguay (1932-35), known as the Chaco War. The study takes two different perspectives: the first considers the fiction as works of literature, and studies three major aspects of fictional writing: narrative organization, characterization arid figurative language, in order to investigate the constraints imposed upon writers who produce fiction about an historical event, (in this instance a military conflict). The second perspective views the works of fiction as historical documents and assesses their informative value by comparing factual information supplied in the novels with that provided in historiographical accounts and also by examining the kind of information which is the peculiar contribution of fiction to the understanding of an historical event. These two examinations are undertaken in Chapters V and VI respectively, and constitute the main body of the thesis. In order to place them in a wider context, the thesis considers previous critical studies of Chaco War fiction (in the Introduction). There follows a study of the relationship between the writing of contemporary history and documentary fiction (Chapter I), a brief summary of the Chaco War (Chapter II), an examination of some possible influences and precedents (Chapter III) and a survey of the writers and the works of Bolivian fiction of the Chaco War (Chapter IV). The conclusion suggests that the problems encountered by writers of documentary fiction are those faced by any naturalist writer, compounded here by the nature of the subject matter. If they cannot fully succeed on an artistic level, however, these works do provide a view of the historical facts of the war which is reasonably accurate. In addition they lead to a distinctive understanding of the war as an historical experience which no historiographical work can produce.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Bolivian fiction ; History and criticism ; Chaco War, 1932-1935 ; Literature and the war ; Nonfiction novel ; War in literature ; 20th century