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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
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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The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

Date: August 1998
Creator: Kim, Bong-Gwang
Description: This study addresses the ideological properties of the two main modal strains in fictional representation of romance and realism in order to provide an antidote to the currently extremely negative view of the representational function of fiction. In the course of the discussion, three received positions in traditional literary criticism are challenged. Firstly, the view of literary form as ideology-free is undermined by demonstrating the ideological properties of the two modes. Secondly, the realism/romance binary opposition regarding the mode of fictional representation is critiqued by both uncovering the misconception of the former's competence for transparent representation and evincing the two modes' ideologically interactive relation. Lastly, the categorization of Henry James as an aesthete is problematized by historicizing and socializing his three texts.
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The Politics of Sympathy: Secularity, Alterity, and Subjectivity in George Eliot's Novels

The Politics of Sympathy: Secularity, Alterity, and Subjectivity in George Eliot's Novels

Date: December 2009
Creator: Koo, Seung-Pon
Description: This study examines the practical and political implications of sympathy as a mode of achieving the intercommunicative relationship between the self and the other, emphasizing the significance of subjective agency not simply guided by the imperative category of morality but mainly enacted by a hybrid of discourses through the interaction between the two entities. Scenes of Clerical Life, Eliot's first fictional narrative on illuminating the intertwining relation of religion to secular conditions of life, reveals that the essence of religion is the practice of love between the self and the other derived from sympathy and invoked by their dialogic discourses of confession which enable them to foster the communality, on the grounds that the alterity implicated in the narrative of the other summons and re-historicizes the narrative of the subject's traumatic event in the past. Romola, Eliot's historical novel, highlights the performativity of subject which, on the one hand, locates Romola outside the social frame of domination and appropriation as a way of challenging the universalizing discourses of morality and duty sanctioned by the patriarchal ideology of norms, religion, and marriage. On the other hand, the heroine re-engages herself inside the social structure as a response to other's need for ...
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Practical Astronomy

Practical Astronomy

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Date: August 2012
Creator: Woodard, Chelsea S.
Description: This dissertation is a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers Anthony’s Hecht’s long poem, “The Venetian Vespers,” and the ways in which the temporally unsettled situation of the poem’s speaker parallels a problem facing narrative-meditative poets. The preface is divided into two main sections that explore divisions of this larger conflict. The first discusses the origins and effects of the speaker’s uprootedness in time, and the ways in which he tries to both combat and embrace this dislocation by temporarily losing himself in the immediacy of observing visual art. In this section I connect the dilemma of the speaker, who wishes to escape his memory by focusing outwards, to the dilemma of a representational poet who, despite his position towards the past, must necessarily confront or recollect memories and emotions in order to create authentic descriptions or characters. The second section focuses on the production and appreciation of artistic works (both visual and literary) and how the meaning, production and appreciation of beauty are inseparable from its existence within the physical limits of time. Here I discuss the significance of Hecht’s character who is surrounded with beauty yet describes himself as a person who only ...
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The Problematic British Romantic Hero(ine): the Giaour, Mathilda, and Evelina

The Problematic British Romantic Hero(ine): the Giaour, Mathilda, and Evelina

Date: May 1995
Creator: Poston, Craig A. (Craig Alan)
Description: Romantic heroes are questers, according to Harold Bloom and Northrop Frye. Whether employing physical strength or relying on the power of the mind, the traditional Romantic hero invokes questing for some sense of self. Chapter 1 considers this hero-type, but is concerned with defining a non-questing British Romantic hero. The Romantic hero's identity is problematic and established through contrasting narrative versions of the hero. This paper's argument lies in the "inconclusiveness" of the Romantic experience perceived in writings throughout the Romantic period. Romantic inconclusiveness can be found not only in the structure and syntax of the works but in the person with whom the reader is meant to identify or sympathize, the hero(ine). Chapter 2 explores Byron's aesthetics of literature equivocation in The Giaour. This tale is a consciously imbricated text, and Byron's letters show a purposeful complication of the poet's authority concerning the origins of this Turkish Tale. The traditional "Byronic hero," a gloomy, guilt-ridden protagonist, is considered in Chapter 3. Byron's contemporary readers and reviewers were quick to pick up on this aspect of his verse tales, finding in the Giaour, Selim, Conrad, and Lara characteristics of Childe Harold. Yet, Byron's Turkish Tales also reveal a very different ...
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