Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Comparative Literature


John Brenkman

Committee Members

Bettina Lerner

Noel Carroll

Paul Julian Smith

Subject Categories

American Literature | American Popular Culture | Comparative Literature | Latin American Literature | Literature in English, North America | Modern Languages | Modern Literature


Literary Journalism, Latin American Literature, Mexican Studies, Fictionality, Theory of the Novel, Literary Nonfiction


This dissertation compares twentieth-century literary journalism from the U.S. and Mexico, with a focus on the nonfiction novel and the Mexican chronicle. The dissertation considers the two genres both historically and theoretically, in order to distinguish the borders between literature and unscrupulous journalism. North American journalism is at the heart of a crisis over the epistemological status of facts and their place in our political discourse. Some have argued that works of literary nonfiction can damage social norms like journalistic objectivity. Others argue that forms like the chronicle and the nonfiction novel can describe experience better than news reports. This dissertation engages with debates in and between the disciplines of history and theory of the novel, rhetorical and narrative studies of literature, philosophy of art and of literature, Latin American studies, Mexican studies and more, in order to investigate the boundaries of literature and journalism, art and representation, and fiction and fact.