Theses Doctoral

This is Also the City: Urban Literature and Modernity in Colombia, 1920-1950

Johnson, Benjamin Scott

The Conservative party ruled Colombia from 1886 to 1930. During this period, a coterie of grammarians, poets, and theologians consolidated political power by appealing to literature as a form of rhetorical expertise. The Liberal party took power in 1930 and would hold it until 1946. Recent scholarship has argued that during this period Liberal intellectuals defended the political authority of literary expertise even as they endorsed a modernizing program. Although these charges of hypocrisy are well founded, they tell a limited version of the history of the so-called Liberal Republic, failing to take into full account the work of intellectuals at the edges of the Liberal party’s patronage network. This dissertation considers a series of writer-journalists—including Luis Vidales, Luis Tejada, José Antonio Osorio Lizarazo, José Joaquín Jiménez, and Arnoldo Palacios—who were active in Bogotá between 1920 and 1950. It examines their essays, chronicles, novels, and poems in newspapers and magazines, and less often in books, to argue that they elaborated a new function for literature in Colombia, appealing to the genres of urban journalism and the emerging discipline of urban sociology in order to transform literature into a form of social investigation.


  • thumnail for Johnson_columbia_0054D_13120.pdf Johnson_columbia_0054D_13120.pdf binary/octet-stream 915 KB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Montaldo, Graciela Raquel
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
January 27, 2016