Date of Award

Fall 10-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Bromwich, David


This dissertation describes how the novels, novellas and short stories of Joseph Conrad and Gabriel García Márquez subvert the conventions of the European realist novel and indeed the quotidian world of real facts itself in favor of a romance grounded in everyday experience. In their fictions, Conrad’s and García Márquez’s narrators trace the apparition of the wonderful in an otherwise realistic world through their mastery of craft and its concomitant vernaculars. They draw on the tropes of the traditional romance—digression, repetition and chance—to reenchant disenchanted worlds, to reconstrue the strange. They borrow the skills of the oral storyteller—craftsmanship, gesture and perspicacity—to make those enchanted worlds feel real, to integrate them into a common consciousness. The works in question incorporate and preserve stories, as well as the techniques necessary for telling those stories before the rise of the literary novel. They contest the dissemination of ideas cut off from technical practice and material knowledge, instead promoting epistemes grounded in craft and storytelling—ways of knowing, seeing and narrating that are polysemic, regenerative, communal and quotidian. In the works I focus on in this dissertation, these two authors ironize the spread of dogma at the expense of the experientially and locally known. García Márquez and Joseph Conrad, I will argue in this dissertation, invigorate and challenge ossified narrative conventions and solutions by capturing instances in which everyday practices are disrupted or misunderstood. Their composite and hybrid creations revivify modes of seeing and saying that contest attempts to order from a distance what is unknown—attempts to idealize, rationalize or belittle peripheral worlds with ignorance or smugness.