Master of Arts (MA)


Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type



Ignacio Manuel Altamirano’s novelística is of insurmountable importance for any study of the development of Nineteenth century Mexican literary culture and the Mexican liberal national narrative. Nevertheless, the ample criticism which treats Altamirano’s novels has to date failed to grasp anything more than a tenuous unity latent in those works. This investigation provides a new framework for a unified interpretation of Altamirano’s three most widely read and commented novels, Clemencia, La navidad en las montañas, and El Zarco. By way of an examination of historiographic-political narratives contemporaneous with the period informing the writing of those novels, in conjunction with an appeal to the understanding of the function of the novelistic form following the theory of M.M. Bakhtin and others, Altamirano’s still controversial final novel will be shown to yield a new interpretation whose unitary function is dependent on all three of the novels examined herein. This unitary function will be shown to be constructed by way of the deployment of an innovatory instructive discourse which embraces all three of the novels examined and fundamentally determines their structure and content. As such, this investigation provides a new understanding of the works of this canonical author and propounds a more profound understanding of the interdependencies both literary and extraliterary that shape this part of the maestro’s work and the innovatory instructive discourse upon which it is founded.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Alejandro Cortazar