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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Imagining The Reader: Vernacular Representation and Specialized Vocabulary in Medieval English Literature

Imagining The Reader: Vernacular Representation and Specialized Vocabulary in Medieval English Literature

Date: August 2000
Creator: Walther, James T.
Description: William Langland's The Vision of Piers Plowman was probably the first medieval English poem to achieve a national audience because Langland chose to write in the vernacular and he used the specialized vocabularies of his readership to open the poem to them. During the late thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, writers began using the vernacular in an attempt to allow all English people access to their texts. They did so consciously, indicating their intent in prologues and envois when they formally address readers. Some writers, like Langland and the author of Mankind, actually use representatives of the rural classes as primary characters who exhibit the beliefs and lives of the rural population. Anne Middleton's distinction between public-the readership an author imagined-and audience-the readership a work achieved-allows modern critics to discuss both public and audience and try to determine how the two differed. While the public is always only a presumption, the language in which an author writes and the cultural events depicted by the literature can provide a more plausible estimate of the public. The vernacular allowed authors like Gower, Chaucer, the author of Mankind, and Langland to use the specialized vocabularies of the legal and rural communities to discuss societal ...
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In Awesome Wonder

In Awesome Wonder

Date: August 1996
Creator: McMurtry, William Charlie
Description: The dissertation is a collection of eighteen short stories. These stories relate the life experiences of the first-person narrator and chronicle a period of twenty years. They are arranged in five thematic groups: Expectations, Questions, Lighter Moments, Answers, and Separation. The focus of each one represents the narrator's experiences with his father, as the narrator attempts to understand a man who exerts such control over his life. Expectations contains three stories, with the first depicting the narrator's earliest association with his father. The other two represent significant growth experiences. The five stories in the Questions portion focus on the youthful narrator as he tries to understand the reasons behind his father's values and moral lessons. In the section, Lighter Moments, there are four stories in which the narrator is in his late teens and recalls four incidents that lacked the usual serious undertones prevalent in most of his experiences with his father. Answers is composed of three stories in which the narrator, nearing manhood, struggles with feelings of disillusionment with the life his father has planned for him, as well as the realization that his father controls every aspect of his life. The final section of three stories, Separation, depicts ...
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The Incest Taboo in Wuthering Heights : A Modern Appraisal

The Incest Taboo in Wuthering Heights : A Modern Appraisal

Date: August 1992
Creator: McGuire, Kathryn B. (Kathryn Bezard)
Description: A modern interpretation of Wuthering Heights suggests that an unconscious incest taboo impeded Catherine and her foster brother, Heathcliff, from achieving normal sexual union and led them to seek union after death. Insights from anthropology, psychology, and sociology provide a key to many of the subtleties of the novel by broadening our perspectives on the causes of incest, its manifestations, and its consequences. Anthropology links the incest taboo to primitive systems of totemism and rules of exogamy, under which the two lovers' marriage would have been disallowed because they are members of the same clan. Psychological studies provide insight into Heathcliff and Catherine's abnormal relationship—emotionally passionate but sexually dispassionate—and their even more bizarre behavior—sadistic, necrophilic, and vampiristic—all of which can be linked to incest. The psychological manifestations merge with the moral consequences in Bronte's inverted image of paradise; as in Milton's Paradise, incest is both a metaphor for evil and a symbol of pre-Lapsarian innocence. The psychological and moral consequences of incest in the first generation carry over into the second generation, resulting in a complex doubling of characters, names, situations, narration, and time sequences that is characteristic of the self-enclosed, circular nature of incest. An examination of Emily Bronte's ...
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Interactions Between Texts, Illustrations, and Readers: The Empiricist, Imperialist Narratives and Polemics of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Interactions Between Texts, Illustrations, and Readers: The Empiricist, Imperialist Narratives and Polemics of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Date: December 1995
Creator: Favor, Lesli J.
Description: While literary critics heretofore have subordinated Conan Doyle to more "canonical" writers, the author argues that his writings enrich our understanding of the ways in which Victorians and Edwardians constructed their identity as imperialists and that we therefore cannot afford to overlook Conan Doyle's work.
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Into the Woods: Wilderness Imagery as Representation of Spiritual and Emotional Transition in Medieval Literature

Into the Woods: Wilderness Imagery as Representation of Spiritual and Emotional Transition in Medieval Literature

Date: August 1997
Creator: Sholty, Janet Poindexter
Description: Wilderness landscape, a setting common in Romantic literature and painting, is generally overlooked in the art of the Middle Ages. While the medieval garden and the city are well mapped, the medieval wilderness remains relatively trackless. Yet the use of setting to represent interior experience may be traced back to the Neo-Platonic use of space and movement to define spiritual development. Separating themselves as far as possible from the material world, such writers as Origen and Plotinus avoided use of representational detail in their spatial models; however, both the visual artists and the authors who adopted the Neo-Platonic paradigm, elaborated their emotional spaces with the details of the classical locus amoenus and of the exegetical desert, while retaining the philosophical concern with spiritual transition. Analysis of wilderness as an image for spiritual and emotional transition in medieval literature and art relates the texts to an iconographic tradition which, along with motifs of city and garden, provides a spatial representation of interior progress, as the medieval dialectic process provides a paradigm for intellectual resolution. Such an analysis relates the motif to the core of medieval intellectual experience, and further suggests significant connections between medieval and modern narratives in regard to the ...
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An Investigation of the Semantics of Active and Inverse Systems

An Investigation of the Semantics of Active and Inverse Systems

Date: May 1992
Creator: Yang, Lixin
Description: This study surveys pronominal reference marking in active and inverse languages. Active and inverse languages have in common that they distinguish two sets of reference marking, which are referred to as Actor and Undergoer. The choice of one series of marking over another is shown to be semantically and pragmatically determined.
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Irony, Humor, and Ontological Relationality in Literature

Irony, Humor, and Ontological Relationality in Literature

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Date: August 2012
Creator: Kim, Soon Bae
Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to investigate ontological relationality in literary theory and criticism by critically reflecting on modern theories of literature and by practically examining the literary texts of Geoffrey Chaucer, William Shakespeare, and Oscar Wilde. Traditional studies of literary texts have been oriented toward interpretative or hermeneutic methodologies, focusing on an independent and individual subject in literature. Instead, I explore how relational ontology uncovers the interactive structures interposed between the author, the text, and the audience by examining the system of how the author's creative positioning provokes the reader's reaction through the text. In Chapter I, I critically inquire into modern literary theories of "irony" in Romanticism, New Criticism, and Deconstructionism to show how they tend to disregard the dynamic dimension of interactive relationships between different literary subjects. Chapter II scrutinizes Wilde's humor in An Ideal Husband (1895) and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) in order to reveal the ontological relationships triggered by a creative positioning. In chapter III, I examine Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (c. 1400) and the laughter in "The Miller's Tale" in particular, to examine the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of its interactive relationships. In Chapter IV, I explore Much Ado About Nothing ...
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"Is She Going to Die or Survive with Her Baby?": The Aftermath of Illegitimate Pregnancies in the Twentieth Century American Novels

"Is She Going to Die or Survive with Her Baby?": The Aftermath of Illegitimate Pregnancies in the Twentieth Century American Novels

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Date: August 2006
Creator: Liu, Li-Hsion
Description: This dissertation is mainly based on the reading of three American novels to explore how female characters deal with their illegitimate pregnancies and how their solutions re-shape their futures and affect their inner growth. Chapter 1 discusses Dorinda Oakley's premarital pregnancy in Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground and draws the circle of limits from Barbara Welter's "four cardinal virtues" (purity, submissiveness, domesticity, and piety) which connect to the analogous female roles (daughter, sister, wife, and mother). Dorinda's childless survival reconstructs a typical household from her domination and absence of maternity. Chapter 2 examines Ántonia Shimerda's struggles and endurance in My Ántonia by Willa Cather before and after Ántonia gives birth to a premarital daughter. Ántonia devotes herself to being a caring mother and to looking after a big family although her marriage is also friendship-centered. Chapter 3 adopts a different approach to analyze Charlotte Rittenmeyer's extramarital pregnancy in The Wild Palms by William Faulkner. As opposed to Dorinda and Ántonia who re-enter domesticity to survive, Charlotte runs out on her family and dies of a botched abortion. To help explain the aftermath of illicit pregnancies, I extend or shorten John Duvall's formula of female role mutations: "virgin>sexually active (called whore)>wife" to ...
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Jeans, Boots, and Starry Skies: Tales of a Gay Country-and-Western Bar and Places Nearby

Jeans, Boots, and Starry Skies: Tales of a Gay Country-and-Western Bar and Places Nearby

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Date: May 2010
Creator: Gay, Wayne Lee
Description: Fourteen short stories, with five interspersed vignettes, describe the lives of gay people in the southwestern United States, centered around a fictional gay country-and-western bar in Dallas and a small town in Oklahoma. Various characters, themes, and trajectories recur in the manner of a short story cycle, as explained in the prefatory Critical Analysis, which focuses on exemplary works of James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Shirley Jackson, Italo Calvino, Yevgeny Kharitonov, and Louise Erdrich.
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Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains

Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains

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Date: August 2000
Creator: Colvin, Trey Vincent
Description: The term "feminist," when applied to Wilkie Collins, implies he was concerned with rectifying the oppression of women in domestic life as well as with promoting equal rights between the sexes. This study explores Collins the "feminist" by analyzing his portrayals of women, particularly his most powerful feminine creations: his villainesses. Although this focus is somewhat limited, it allows for a detailed analysis of the development of Collins's attitudes towards powerful women from the beginning to the end of his career. It examines the relationship between Collins's developing moral attitudes and social beliefs, on the one hand, and the ideas of Victorian feminists such as Josephine Butler and feminist sympathizers such as John Stuart Mill, on the other. This interaction, while never overt, reveals the ambivalence and complexity of Collins's "feminist" attitudes. Of the five novels in this study, Antonina (1850), Basil (1852), Armadale (1866), Jezebel's Daughter (1880), and The Legacy of Cain (1889), only one was published at the zenith of Collins's career in the 1860s. Each of the villainesses in these novels, their ideas and experiences, are crucial to understanding Collins's "feminist" impulses. Looking at them as powerful women who detest domestic oppression, one becomes aware that Collins ...
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