Mark W. Bell

Date of Award

Fall 8-2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts




Since its discovery on Magellan's circumnavigation, Patagonia has been treated differently than any other region in the world. Effectively, Patagonia has been left empty or vacated by the North. But this emptiness and blankness have compulsively attracted curious travel writers who have filled the emptiness of Patagonia with self-reflexive projections. From Charles Darwin and W.H. Hudson to Bruce Chatwin and Paul Theroux, Northern commentators have found in Patagonia a landscape that accommodates their desire for self-reflexivity and self-consciousness. Thus, Patagonia has been simultaneously filled and evacuated by the Northern mind. As a result, Patagonia has become increasingly about the self and less about the physical place to the point where Patagonia as a concept has been abstracted and made into a trope or condition. This paper examines the history of Patagonia in literature in English and analyzes how Patagonia has evolved into its modem signification.