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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
A New Literary Realism: Artistic Renderings of Ethnicity, Identity, and Sexuality in the Narratives of Philip Roth

A New Literary Realism: Artistic Renderings of Ethnicity, Identity, and Sexuality in the Narratives of Philip Roth

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Date: May 2012
Creator: Harvell, Marta Krogh
Description: This dissertation explores Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories (1959), the Ghost Writer (1979), the Counterlife (1986), the Facts (1988), Operation Shylock (1993), Sabbath's Theater (1995),and the Human Stain (2000), arguing that Roth relishes the telling of the story and the search for self within that telling. with attention to narrative technique and its relation to issues surrounding reality and identity, Roth's narratives stress unreliability, causing Roth to create characters searching for a more complex interpretation of self. Chapter I examines Roth’s negotiation of dual identities as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus feels alienated and displaced from Christianized America. the search for identity and the merging of American Christianity and Judaism remain a focus in Chapter II, which explores the implications of how, in the Ghost Writer, a young Nathan Zuckerman visits his mentor E.I. Lonoff to find him living in what he believes to be a non-Jewish environment—the American wilderness. Chapter II also examines the difficulties of cultural assimilation in "Eli, the Fanatic," in which Eli must shed outward appearances of Judaism to fit into the mostly Protestant community of Woodenton. Relative to the negotiation of multiple identities, Chapter III considers Sabbath’s attempt, in Sabbath’s Theater, to reconcile his ...
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Night of no Exile

Night of no Exile

Date: August 1999
Creator: Jones, Marie C.
Description: Night of no Exile is a collection of poems preceded by a critical article entitled "‘Exile seems both a blessing and a curse': A Blissful Reading of Li-Young Lee's Poetry." That article discusses Lee's quest to achieve communication, truth, and transcendence through poetic language and concludes that he finally reaches his goal through a leap from narrative poetry to lyricism. The "exile" alluded to in the title of the article is not only geographic, but also interioran exile due to the natural limitations of all languages, and which can be bridged only in linguistic ways. Lee's solution to that problem (lyricism) turns his poetry into what Roland Barthes would call "a text of bliss," a text that manages to deeply destabilize language, while simultaneously achieving a new kind of meaning. In the main body of the manuscript, the first section contains short love lyrics. The second section, "Night of no Exile," is an attempt at the demanding genre of the longer lyric poem. The third section uses short lyrics to explore various topics, such as discovering one's identity, friendship and solidarity between women, family history, and childhood memories. Finally, the last section includes poems, four of them longer, attempting to ...
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No Slip-Shod Muse: A Performance Analysis of Some of Susanna Centlivre's Plays

No Slip-Shod Muse: A Performance Analysis of Some of Susanna Centlivre's Plays

Date: May 2000
Creator: Herrell, LuAnn R. Venden
Description: In 1982, Richard C. Frushell urged the necessity for a critical study of Susanna Centlivre's plays. Since then, only a handful of books and articles briefly discuss herand many attempt wrongly to force her into various critical models. Drawing on performativity models, my reading of several Centlivre plays (Love's Contrivance, The Gamester, The Basset-Table and A Bold Stroke for a Wife) asks the question, "What was it like to see these plays in performance?" Occupying somewhat uneasy ground between literature and theatre studies, I borrow useful tools from both, to create what might be styled a New Historicist Dramaturgy. I urge a re-examination of the period 1708-28. The standard reading of theatre of the period is that it was static. This "dry spell" of English theatre, most critics agree, was filled with stock characters and predictable plot lines. But it is during this so-called "dry spell" that Centlivre refines her stagecraft, and convinces cautious managers to bank on her work, providing evidence that playwrights of the period were subtly experimenting. The previous trend in scholarship of this cautious and paranoid era of theatre history has been to shy away from examining the plays in any depth, and fall back on ...
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Noctilucent

Noctilucent

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Date: December 2011
Creator: Bush, Mary Gwen
Description: This dissertation is composed of two parts. Part I discusses the evolution of meditative poetry as a genre, with a particular emphasis on the influence of women poets and feminist critical theory. Part II is a collection of poems. Although several popular and critically-acclaimed poets working today write meditative poems, meditative poetry as a genre has not been systematically examined since M.H. Abrams’s essay on the meditative mode in Romantic poetry, “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric.” Because one of the driving forces of meditative poetry is a longing for, or recognition of, a state of perception that lies between individual being and some form of universal ordering principle, meditative poetry might seem to be antithetical to a postmodern world that is fragmentary, contingent, and performative; indeed, earlier definitions of meditative poetry, tied to historical and cultural understandings of the individual and the Universal, no longer reflect “how we know” but only “how we knew.” However, this essay argues that there is a contemporary meditative structure that allows for a continued relationship between the individual and the Universal without resorting to the essentialism implicit in the genre as traditionally described. This new structure owes much to feminist theory, ...
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The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne

The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne

Date: December 1998
Creator: Smith, Grace Elizabeth
Description: The recent publication of the bulk of Hawthorne's letters has precipitated this study, which deals with Hawthorne's creative and subversive narration and his synchronic appeal to a variety of readers possessing different tastes. The author initially investigates Hawthorne's religion and demonstrate how he disguised his personal religious convictions, ambiguously using the intellectual categories of Calvinism, Unitarianism, and spiritualism to promote his own humanistic "religion." Hawthorne's appropriation of the jeremiad further illustrates his emphasis on religion and narration. Although his religion remained humanistic, he readily used the old Puritan political sermon to describe and defend his own financial hardships. That jeremiad outlook has significant implications for his art.
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Orality-Literacy Theory and the Victorian Sermon

Orality-Literacy Theory and the Victorian Sermon

Date: May 1995
Creator: Ellison, Robert H. (Robert Howard)
Description: In this study, I expand the scope of the scholarship that Walter Ong and others have done in orality-literacy relations to examine the often uneasy juxtaposition of the oral and written traditions in the literature of the Victorian pulpit. I begin by examining the intersections of the oral and written traditions found in both the theory and the practice of Victorian preaching. I discuss the prominent place of the sermon within both the print and oral cultures of Victorian Britain; argue that the sermon's status as both oration and essay places it in the genre of "oral literature"; and analyze the debate over the extent to which writing should be employed in the preparation and delivery of sermons.
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Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy

Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy

Date: August 1997
Creator: Wegner, John M. (John Michael)
Description: In Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy, I contend that McCarthy's literary aesthetic develops and changes as he moves from Tennessee to Texas. McCarthy's conspicuous Southern and Southwestern regional affiliations have led critics to expect his works to recapitulate native history, traditions, and myths. Yet, McCarthy transcends provincial regionalism by challenging the creation of the regional and national myths we confuse with our actual histories and identities. McCarthy's fictions point away from accepted histories and point instead to figures marginalized by society and myth makers. These figures, according to McCarthy, are just as much a part of the creation of myth as those figures indelibly imprinted on our consciousness by literary and historical tradition. My dissertation, in many respects, focuses on McCarthy's debunking of both literary and historical tradition, and his concomitant revitalization of American identity.
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Personal Properties: Stage Props and Self-Expression in British Drama, 1600-1707

Personal Properties: Stage Props and Self-Expression in British Drama, 1600-1707

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Date: December 2009
Creator: Bender, Ashley Brookner
Description: This dissertation examines the role of stage properties-props, slangily-in the construction and expression of characters' identities. Through readings of both canonical and non-canonical drama written between 1600 and 1707-for example, Thomas Middleton's The Revenger's Tragedy (1607), Edward Ravenscroft's adaptation of Titus Andronicus (1678), Aphra Behn's The Rover (1677), and William Wycherley's The Plain Dealer (1677)-I demonstrate how props mediate relationships between people. The control of a character's props often accords a person control of the character to whom the props belong. Props consequently make visual the relationships of power and subjugation that exist among characters. The severed body parts, bodies, miniature portraits, and containers of these plays are the mechanisms by which characters attempt to differentiate themselves from others. The characters deploy objects as proof of their identities-for example, when the women in Behn's Rover circulate miniatures of themselves-yet other characters must also interpret these objects. The props, and therefore the characters' identities, are at all times vulnerable to misinterpretation. Much as the props' meanings are often disputed, so too are characters' private identities often at odds with their public personae. The boundaries of selfhood that the characters wish to protect are made vulnerable by the objects that they use ...
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Plain and Ugly Janes: the Rise of the Ugly Woman in Contemporary American Fiction

Plain and Ugly Janes: the Rise of the Ugly Woman in Contemporary American Fiction

Date: August 1994
Creator: Wright, Charlotte M.
Description: Women characters in American literature of the nineteenth century form an overwhelmingly lovely group, but a search through some of the overlooked works reveals a thin but discernible thread of plain, even homely, heroines. Most of these fall into the stereotypical "old maid" category, and, like their real-life counterparts, these "undesirable" women are considered failures, even if they have money or satisfying careers, because they do not have boyfriends, husbands, or children. During the twentieth century, the old maid figure develops into someone not just homely, but downright ugly; in addition, the number of these characters increases, especially in the latter half of the century. In many works written since the 1960s, the woman's ugliness is such an intrinsic part of the story that it could not take place if she were beautiful. In subtle ways, these "ugly woman" stories begin to question the overwhelming value placed on beauty, to question the narrow definition of beauty in American society as a whole, and to suggest that the price for such a "blessing" might indeed be too high. Rather than settling for being a mere "heroine"—which still carries feminine connotations of passive behavior and second-class status—the ugly woman's increase in power ...
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Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems

Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems

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Date: May 2000
Creator: Dyer, Gregory A.
Description: Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems is a collection of poems with a critical introduction. The introduction consists of two independent essays, both of which examine intersections between poetry and Christian theology. In the first essay I identify the imaginative faculty as the primary source of agency for the speaker in John Donne's "Holy Sonnets." Working upon Barbara Lewalski's assertion that these sonnets represent "the Protestant paradigm of salvation in its stark, dramatic, Pauline terms," I consider the role of the imagination in the spiritual transformation represented within the sequence. Donne foregrounds a Calvinistic theology that posits both humanity's total depravity and God's grace and mercy as the only avenue of transcendence. Whatever agency the speaker exhibits is generated by the exercise of his imagination, which leads him to a recognition of his sinfulness and the necessity of God's grace. In the second essay I investigate the presence of a negative theology within "Lachrimae, or Seven Tears Figured in Seven Passionate Pavans," a sonnet sequence by Geoffrey Hill. In this sequence, Hill demonstrates the possibilities that surface through an integration of negative theology with postmodern theories of language, both of which have been influenced by the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger. The ...
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