Theses defended

From Urban Dystopias to a Better Ecology in the Americas. Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room!, Ignacio de Loyola Brandão's Não verás país nenhum, and Homero Aridjis's La leyenda de los soles

Maria Sousa

Public Defence date
February 1, 2022
Doctoral Programme
American Studies
Isabel Caldeira e Maria José Canelo
Dystopian narratives and all literature that engage with environmental issues may have an astounding impact on the readers. By drawing their attention to undreamed-of scenarios, they open up new lines of thought and may encourage different ways of living on the Earth. In this comparative study I demonstrate that the ecological concerns which permeate Harry Harrison's Make Room! Make Room! (1966), Loyola Bandão's Não verás país nenhum (1981), and Homero Aridjis's La leyenda de los soles (1993) may prompt more discussion on the themes they address and show the urgent need to find alternative sustainable lifestyles in the Anthropocene. Even though these novels' representions of horrifying distorted scenarios may cause strong feelings of uneasiness on the readers and environmental apocalypticism stands out, they provide a unique resource to explore, reconsider, redirect, and recreate humans' relation to the nonhuman world. I therefore want to contribute to their deeper understanding and bring to the fore these authors' angles, since they unquestionably contribute to perceive that environmental problems are entangled with social, economic, and political issues. Grounded in the theoretical framework of ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, I illustrate that by melding literary and scientific discourses, dystopian narratives may move the readers in many more ways than science alone.

Keywords: Dystopian Narratives, Undreamed-of Scenarios, Harry Harrison, Loyola Brandão, Homero Aridjis, Sustainable Lifestyles, Anthropocene, Environmental Apocalypticism, Ecocriticism, Environmental Humanities