Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Mary Papke

Committee Members

Charles Maland, Lisi Schoenbach


This thesis examines the treatment of slum spaces in the US and Brazil spanning the period 1890-1933, seeking to understand better the ethics of representation regarding the slum as well as the varying aesthetic agendas and political engagements of four novelists. The works under consideration are A Hazard of New Fortunes (1890) by William Dean Howells, The Slum (1890) by Aluísio Azevedo, Manhattan Transfer (1925) by John Dos Passos, and Industrial Park (1933), by Patrícia Galvão. I chart the varying methods of representation associated with each novel, from Howell’s critical realism to Azevedo’s unique version of naturalism to the fragmented experiences of modernism found in the final two novels, in part to understand how each novelist engages with the slum as well as employs it as a literal and metaphoric space in his or her work. Finally, this work also engages with and contributes to the relatively new fields of metropoetics and inter- American studies, and allows me the opportunity to take a comparativist approach to the literatures of this period, a concern that motivates me as a scholar and academic.

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