Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Latin America, Narrative, Literary Studies, Complexity, Complex Thought, Volpi, Bolaño, Luiselli, Alarcón

Major Advisor

Guillermo Irizarry

Associate Advisor

Miguel Gomes

Associate Advisor

Jacqueline Loss

Field of Study

Literatures, Languages, and Cultures


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


This dissertation examines the centrality of complex thought in examples of Latin American narrative produced since 1999. I am interested in the ways in which Jorge Volpi (Mexico City 1968), Roberto Bolaño (Santiago, Chile 1953), Valeria Luiselli (Mexico City 1983), and Daniel Alarcón (Lima, Peru 1977) address complex dynamics in contemporary human experience. My analysis focuses on thematic and narratological indicators of complex thought primarily in Volpi’s En busca de Klingsor (1999); Bolaño’s 2666 (2004); Luiselli’s Los ingrávidos (2011), La historia de mis dientes (2013), and Los niños perdidos (2016); and Alarcón’s podcast Radio Ambulante. I have chosen these works because they evince specific cognitive dynamics related to the emerging paradigm of complexity in late-stage, globalized capitalism.

The premise of this dissertation departs from the insight that existing modes of thought developed over the course of the 20th century have become inadequate for addressing the complexities of social reality in the 21st century. I examine the work of the above-mentioned narrators as manifestations of the effort to confront paradigmatic limitations of simplifying logic characteristic of modern, neoliberal nation-states and institutions. I argue that these narrators exhibit a sensitivity to complexity engendered by tensions between institutionalized forms of knowledge and visceral human experience. I further define the concept of infranarrative to describe a representational mode that does not traffic in simple or fully-formed meanings but instead evinces the complexity of the very process of producing meaning through narrative.

Available for download on Tuesday, April 08, 2025