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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Happiness Is a By-Product of Function: William Burroughs and the American Pragmatist Tradition

Happiness Is a By-Product of Function: William Burroughs and the American Pragmatist Tradition

Date: December 2000
Creator: Goeman, James Robert
Description: This dissertation examines the techniques and themes of William Burroughs by placing him in the American Pragmatist tradition. Chapter One presents a pragmatic critical approach to literature based on Richard Rorty and John Dewey, focusing on the primacy of narration over argumentation, redescription and dialectic, the importance of texts as experiences, the end-products of textual experiences, and the role of critic as guide to experience rather than judge. Chapter Two uses this pragmatic critical lens to focus on the writing techniques of William Burroughs as a part of the American Pragmatist tradition, with most of the focus on his controversial cut-up technique. Burroughs is a writer who upsets many of the traditional expectations of the literary writing community, just as Rorty challenges the conventions of the philosophical discourse community. Chapter Three places Burroughs within a liberal democratic tradition with respect to Rorty and John Stuart Mill. Burroughs is a champion of individual liberty; this chapter shows how Burroughs' works are meant to edify readers about the social, political, biological, and technological systems which work to control individuals and limit their liberties and understandings. The chapter also shows how Burroughs' works help liberate readers from all control systems, and examines the ...
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The Human Body is Not Designed for Ambivalence: Odes

The Human Body is Not Designed for Ambivalence: Odes

Date: December 2007
Creator: Walker, Tammy
Description: The critical analysis section of this dissertation seeks to define the ode using examples in translation from Greek and Latin odes and examples in English written from the 1500s to the 2000s. Although most definitions of the ode contend that this subgenre of the lyric is an occasional poem of praise that includes a meditative or mythological element, the ode is far more complex. An ode is an occasional poem, but it works to privilege rather than strictly praise its subject, allowing for the speaker's ambivalence toward the subject. Meditation is a key element of the ode, since the poet uses the subject as a means for moving to the meditation or as a conduit through which the meditation occurs. The meditation in the poem is also a way for the poet or speaker to negotiate the relationship between the subject and herself; thus, the ode is concerned with power, since the poet must place herself or the speaker in relation to the subject. Power thus may be granted to either the speaker or the subject; the poet names and speaks of the subject, and often the poet names and speaks of himself in relation to the subject. Additionally, odes ...
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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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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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Jinxed

Jinxed

Date: August 2003
Creator: Davis, Richard
Description: My dissertation, Jinxed, developed out of my interest in the movement between the comic and the tragic by tracing the evolution of a romantic relationship. While employing biblical, classical, literary, and pop-cultural traditions, my manuscript has its most clear affinities with Renaissance poetry that navigates between the erotic and the spiritual. The sequence of poems recreates the character of Petrarch's Laura in the Little Redhead Girl, Charlie Brown's first love. My Laura, however, is a feisty secular Irish woman who simultaneously frustrates and attracts a religious narrator. To explore the multifaceted nature of their love, I employ a variety of poetic techniques, such as the repetition inherent in the villanelle to express the powerlessness of the narrator as he begins to fall in love. In "To a Young Philosopher," a sestina, one of the repeated words ("ephemeral") triggers a philosophical discussion that is a proposal of marriage. The manuscript also uses other forms such as the sonnet, Spenserian stanza, terza rima, couplets, and blank verse. Narratively, it ends with Charlie Brown after he has missed kicking Lucy's football, falling to earth literally and symbolically. Poems in the manuscript have appeared in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, Talking River ...
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John Graves and the Pastoral Tradition

John Graves and the Pastoral Tradition

Date: August 2001
Creator: Anderson, David Roy
Description: John Graves's creative non-fiction has earned him respect in Texas letters as a seminal writer but scarce critical commentary of his work outside the region. Ecological criticism examines how language, culture and the land interact, providing a context in which to discuss Graves in relation to the southwestern literary tradition of J. Frank Dobie, Walter P. Webb, and Roy Bedichek, to southern pastoral in the Virgilian mode, and to American nature writing. Graves's rhetorical strategies, including his appropriation of form, his non-polemical voice, his experimentation with narrative persona, and his utilization of traditional tropes of metaphor, metonymy, and irony, establish him as a conservative and Romantic writer of place concerned with the friction between traditional agrarian values and the demands of late-twentieth-century urban/technological existence. Sequentially, Graves's three main booksGoodbye to a River (1960), Hard Scrabble (1974), and From a Limestone Ledge (1980)represent a movement from the pastoral mode of the outward journey and return to the more domestic world of georgic, from the mode of leisure and contemplation to the demands and rewards of hard work and ownership. As such they represent not only progression or maturation in the arc of the narrator's life but a desire to reconcile ideological ...
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Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

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Date: December 2003
Creator: Rose-Vails, Shannon
Description: For Muscogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, poetry is a real world force that can empower the reader by utilizing mythic memory, recovery of history, and a spiral journey to regain communal identity. Her poetic career transforms from early lyric poems to a hybridized form of prosody, prose, and myth to accommodate and to reflect Harjo's concerns as they progress from personal, to tribal, and then to global. She often employs a witnessing strategy to combat the trauma caused by racism in order to create the possibility for renewal and healing. Furthermore, Harjo's poetry combats forces that seek to define Native American existence negatively. To date, Harjo's poetic works create a myth that will refocus humanity's attention on the way in which historical meaning is produced and the way difference is encountered. In an effort to revise the dominant stories told about Indians, Harjo privileges the idea that Native Americans are present and human, and it is this sense of humanity that pervades her poetry. Sequentially, Joy Harjo's volumes of poetry-She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)-create a regenerative cycle that combats the effects of oppressive history and ...
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