This dissertation examines the interconnections between the creation and expansion of the public educational system, and the concomitant development of the modern nation in turn of the century Argentina. It explores the fictional representation of schools and teachers as metaphors for the nation and its citizens by analyzing the literary works of three representative authors who were also linked to the administration of the system: Miguel Can??, Manuel G? lvez, and Herminia Brumana. In addition, the influences and ideas that shaped the modern conception of citizenship in relation to the right to access a formal education are analyzed. This study looks at both the reactions of the established elite towards immigrant women who acquired a higher status through public education, and the ways in which these new groups strategically maneuvered their ways into the Argentine literary scene. The introductory chapter surveys the conception and expansion of the formal educational system in Argentina. I look at the pivotal role of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, and the connections between public education and the needs of both a liberal democracy and liberal economy. The second chapter focuses on Miguel Can??'s Juvenilia, a collection of vignettes centered on the narrator's experiences at Colegio Nacional de Buenos Aires. I argue that Cane's privileged position as an intellectual of the Generaci??n del 80 permeates his conception of the pedagogical relationships within the fictional classroom. The school is a metaphor for a nation struggling for leaving its barbaric past behind in order to legitimately enter Modernity by receiving a French oriented education. The third chapter provides an analysis of the role of the female teacher through the reading of La maestra normal by Manuel G? lvez. This text presents a critique of the non-religious education supported by the previous Generation, and the negative impact of the working woman. The novel is an expression of the anxieties about the changing society as a result of immigration and Modernity. In the last chapter, I examine the impact of the expansion of public education on female participation in the production and consumption of literary texts through an analysis of Herminia Brumana's literary production.