Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2012

Degree Type


Degree Name



Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

First Advisor

Helene Weldt-Basson


This dissertation examines from the perspective of postmodern theory, the ideological and formal aspects of Jorge Volpi's trilogy of the twentieth century: En busca de Klingsor (In Search of Klingsor), El fin de la locura (The End of Madness), and No será la tierra (Season of Ash). Employing the concept of postmodernism as used by Jean-François Lyotard, I demonstrate how Volpi, through his trilogy, undermines the basis of modernity; that is, the trilogy subverts the metanarratives of science, theory, and progress characteristic of modernity and portrays the previous century as a failed one. As a result of postmodern thought this trilogy also deconstructs the dichotomies culture vs. nature, civilization vs. barbarism, and chaos vs. order. The exploration of the relationship between power and knowledge as examined by Michel Foucault is also a fundamental part of this project. I propose that by criticizing this relationship, Volpi's trilogy proves to be synchronized with the condition of postmodernity in which a multiplicity of voices allows for the fading of a monologic discourse and the disappearance of absolute truths. I also examine the relation between content and form, which leads me to conclude that Volpi's trilogy is more postmodern in ideology than in form. I employ the theories of Linda Hutcheon and Brian McHale on postmodern fiction to illustrate this point.