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- The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition
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The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience that slavery was as bad for them as it was for the African slave. And in the process, a corpus of black writing was produced that gives current readers two glimpses of one world.
- American Literary Pragmatism : Lighting Out for the Territory
- This thesis discusses pragmatist philosophy in the nineteenth century and its effect on American literature of the time.
- Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison
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In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would most likely attribute to the "folk." This perspective places their celebration of the continuous relations between humans and animals within a spiritual, indeed, tribal, cosmological construction. What makes these particular writers primarily different from their literary mothers, however, is a stronger sense that they are reclaiming the past, both an African and African-American history. What I hope to contribute with this dissertation is a new perspective of African-American women writers' literary tradition via their usage of animals as an expression of their "ethic of caring" and their awareness that all oppression stems from a single source.
- Asleep in the Arms of God
- A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
- Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature
- Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic and deliberative discourse.
- Diane Di Prima: The Muffled Voice of the Beat Generation
- The Beat rejection of conventional values meant a rejection of marriage, family, and a nine-to-five job, and few women were prepared to make that kind of radical shift in a society that condemned women for behaving the way the Beats behaved. Though she has faced difficulty in getting published, Beat writer Diane Di Prima has been publishing steadily for the past forty years. Di Prima has also lived the life of a Beat, wandering the country, avoiding nine-to-five work and supporting herself with grants, teaching and poetry readings. In spite of her success and adherence to the Beat lifestyle, Di Prima has given birth to five children, all of whom she took with her in her travels. Diane Di Prima has always faced the particular challenge of gaining the acceptance of her male peers amid indifference and hatred toward her sex while not allowing these men to go unanswered.
- Do Not Eat Fish from These Waters and Other Stories
- Earl suffers from a guilty obsession with a monster catfish. Eddie Klomp searches dog tracks for the ghosts of his lost childhood. Mike Towns is a hopeless blues musician who loses everything he cares for. Blair Evans learns to love a pesky wart. Americana becomes confused with the difference between knowledge and sex. Do Not Eat Fish from These Waters And Other Stories is a collection of short stories that explores the strange and often defeated lives of these Southern characters (and one from the point-of-view of a feral hog). Each man, woman, and hog flails through a period of potential metamorphosis trying to find some sort of meaning and worth in the past, present and future. Not all of these characters succeed.
- East, West, Somewhere in the Middle
- A work of creative fiction in novella form, this dissertation follows the first-person travails of Mitch Zeller, a 26-year-old gay man who is faced with an unexpected choice. The dissertation opens with a preface which examines the form of the novella and the content of this particular work.
- Everything and Nothing at the Same Time
- This paradoxically titled collection of poems explores what the blues and blindness has come to mean to the author.
- The Evolution of Dexter and Me
- The Evolution of Dexter and Me is a collection of one vignette and four short stories. All of the stories deal with young men figuring out and coping with their daily life and environment. The "Dexter stories" deal with a character I developed and evolved, Dexter, a sane young man trying to find the best way to cope in an insane system.
- The Fool-Saint and the Fat Lady: an Exploration of Freaks and Saints in Robertson Davies's The Deptford Trilogy
- In The Deptford Trilogy, Robertson Davies uses the circus freaks and the Roman Catholic Saints who influence the main characters to illustrate the duality inherent in all human beings.
- From Skeletons to Orchards
- This thesis is a creative work that is segmented into three main phases in order to display the developing poetic growth and control in the work of Paul Andrew Thies. The first phase is titled "Skeletons and Rhinoceri." It was a phase where I focused on more classical forms of poetry, namely accentual and syllabical sonnets. This phase was greatly influenced by both Charles Baudelaire and William Butler Yeats. The second phase, titled "Clandestinies," was one in which I tried to develop a more dense form. Lord Byron and Pablo Neruda were the two main influences on my work at this time, largely in terms of imaginative exoticism and figurative energy. The third section of this thesis, titled "Graffiti in the Orchard," is an exploration of my current work as a poet. In this phase, Rainer Maria Rilke was the primary influence as I began to develop a more fluid and expressive style.
- The Gender of Time in the Eighteenth-century English Novel
- This study takes a structuralist approach to the development of the novel, arguing that eighteenth-century writers build progressive narrative by rendering abstract, then conflating, literary theories of gendered time that originate in the Renaissance with seventeenth-century scientific theories of motion. I argue that writers from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century generate and regulate progress-as-product in their narratives through gendered constructions of time that corresponded to the generation and regulation of economic, political, and social progress brought about by developing capitalism.
- Idea of Natural Law in Milton's Comus and Paradise Lost
- This dissertation tries to locate Milton's optimistic view of man and nature as expressed in Comus, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and Paradise Lost in the long tradition of natural law that goes back to Aristotle, Cicero, and Aquinas.
- Melville's Vision of Society : A Study of the Paradoxical Interrelations in Melville's Major Novels
- I hold that Melvillean society consists of paradoxical relationships between civilization and barbarianism, evil and good, the corrupt and the natural, the individual and the collective, and the primitive and the advanced. Because these terms are arbitrary and, in the context of the novels, somewhat interchangeable, I explore Melville's thoughts as those emerge in the following groups of novels: Typee, Omoo, and White-Jacket demonstrate the paradox of Melvillean society; Redburn, Moby-Dick, and Mardi illustrate the corrupting effects of capitalism and individualism; and The Confidence-Man, Israel Potter, and Pierre depict a collapsed paradox and the disintegration of Melville's society.
- Night of no Exile
- 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 combine narrative and lyric impulses in a way not unlike Li-Young Lee's experimentation with those two genres.
- The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne
- 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.
- Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy
- 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.
- The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious
- 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.
- A Reading of Shakespeare's Problem Plays into History: A New Historicist Interpretation of Social Crisis and Sexual Politics in Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure
- This study is aimed to read Shakespeare's problem comedies, Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure into the historical and cultural context of dynamically-changing English Renaissance society at the turn of the sixteenth century. In the historical context of emerging capitalism, growing economic crisis, reformed theology, changing social hierarchy, and increasing sexual control, this study investigates the nature of complicated moral problems that the plays consistently present. The primary argument is that the serious and dark picture of human dilemma is attributed not to Shakespeare's private imagination, but to social, political, economic, and religious crises in early modern England.
- Remembering the Forgotten Beauty of Yeatsian Mythology: Personae and the Problem of Unity in The Wind Among the Reeds
- Remembering the Forgotten Beauty of Yeatsian Mythology: Personae and the Problem of Unity in The Wind Among the Reeds
- Revisiting the Grotesque: Poems
- This thesis consists of a group of poems around a central concept: language as a physical dwelling place—a place much like what Raphael discovered in the grottoes of Rome and named "grotesque," or "grotto-esque." Using the word, "grotesque," as an example, the preface illustrates how poetry can play with the lost histories of words while still searching for new referents and associations.
- The Rhetoric of Androgyny: Gender and Boundaries in Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness
- The androgyny of the Gethenians in The Left Hand of Darkness is a vehicle for Ursula Le Guin's rhetoric concerning gender roles. Le Guin attempts to make the reader identify with an ideal form of androgyny, through which she argues that many of the problems of human existence, from rape and war to dualistic thought and sexism, are products of gender roles and would be absent in an androgynous world. The novel also links barriers of separation and Othering with masculine thought, and deconstructs these separative boundaries of opposition, while promoting connective borders which acknowledge difference without creating opposition. The novel thus criticizes gendered thought processes and social roles, because they lead to opposition and separation.
- The Rhetoric of Posthumanism in Four Twentieth-Century International Novels
- The dissertation traces the trope of the incomplete character in four twentieth-century cosmopolitan novels that reflect European colonialism in a global context. I argue that, by creating characters sharply aware of the insufficiency of the Self and thus constantly seeking the constitutive participation of the Other, the four authors E. M. Forster, Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, and Congwen Shen all dramatize the incomplete character as an agent of postcolonial resistance to Western humanism that, tending to enforce the divide between the Self and the Other, provided the epistemological basis for the emergence of European colonialism. For example, Fielding's good-willed aspiration to forge cross-cultural friendship in A Passage to India; Murphy's dogged search for recognition of his Irish identity in Murphy; Susan's unfailing compassion to restore Friday's lost speech in Foe; and Changshun Teng, the Chinese orange-grower's warm-hearted generosity toward his customers in Long River--all these textual occasions dramatize the incomplete character's anxiety over the Other's rejection that will impair the fullness of his or her being, rendering it solitary and empty. I relate this anxiety to the theory of "posthumanism" advanced by such thinkers as Marx, Bakhtin, Sartre, and Lacan; in their texts the humanist view of the individual as an autonomous constitution has undergone a transformation marked by the emphasis on locating selfhood not in the insular and static Self but in the mutable middle space connecting the Self and the Other.
- A sensory tour of Cape Cod, Thoreau's transcendental journey to spiritual renewal
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Predominantly darker than his other works, Cape Cod depicts Henry David Thoreau's interpretation of life as a struggle for survival and a search for salvation in a stark New England setting. Representing Thoreau's greatest test of the goodness of God and nature, the book illustrates the centrality of the subject of death to Thoreau's philosophy of life. Contending that Thoreau's journey to the Cape originated from an intensely personal transcendental impulse connected with his brother's death, this study provides the first in-depth examination of Thoreau's use of the five senses in Cape Cod to reveal both the eccentricities inherent in his relationship with nature and his method of resolving his fears of mortality. Some of the sense impressions in Cape Cod--particularly those that center around human death and those that involve tactile sensations--suggest that Thoreau sometimes tried to master his fears by subconsciously altering painful historical facts or by avoiding the type of sensual contact that aggravated the repressed guilt he suffered from his brother's death. Despite his personal idiosyncrasies, however, Thoreau persisted in his search for truth, and the written record of his journey in Cape Cod documents how his dedication to the transcendental process enabled him to surmount his inner turmoil and reconfirm his intuitive faith. In following this process to spiritual renewal, Thoreau begins with subjective impressions of nature and advances to knowledge of objective realities before ultimately reaching symbolic and universal truth. By analyzing nature's lessons as they evolve from Thoreau's use of his senses, this dissertation shows that Cape Cod, rather than invalidating Thoreau's faith, actually expands his transcendental perspective and so rightfully stands beside Walden as one of the fundamental cornerstones of his canon. In addition, the study proffers new support for previous psychoanalytical interpretations of Thoreau and his writings, reveals heretofore unrecognized historical inaccuracies in his account of the shipwreck that frames the book's opening, and provides the first detailed consideration of the linguistic implications of Cape Cod.
- Toward a rhetoric of marketing for high-tech services
- The market for high-tech services is expanding, and writers will have to create more documents to market these services. Researchers note marked differences between traditional goods marketing and services marketing. A rhetorical framework for high-tech services marketing will give writers a tool for creating effective marketing messages. This study examines the five canons of rhetoric in their classical context, and then examines how the first professional teachers, the Sophists, used rhetoric to promote their services. The canons of rhetoric are then analyzed to show their modern significance. This study also considers visual rhetoric and how writers can use it effectively. This study shows that companies should promote service quality and strong service relationships through the rhetorical element of ethos. This study examines services marketing samples through a visual and verbal rhetorical framework, providing rhetorical insights that writers can use in their work.
- Unearthing the Spiritual Message in Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire
- Unearthing Edward Abbey's spiritual philosophy is not an easy task. One must sift through Abbey's humor, sort through Cactus Ed's flamboyant character, look under the veneer of this character, and beyond Abbey's overt objective of convincing readers to defy the destruction of wilderness, and only then does the spiritual philosophy of Abbey become visible. To understand his perception of spirituality, one must define what constitutes a mystic and determine what American theological philosophies mystics tend to adopt. Once these are defined, one can apply those principles to Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and determine that Abbey is a nature mystic who adheres to the ecocentric based immanence theology. This theology is contrary to the Judeo-Christian based emanation theology which supports anthropocentricism and resourcism.
- What Spins Away
- What Spins Away is a novel about a man named Caleb who, in the process, of searching for a brother who has been missing for ten years, discovers that his inability to commit to a job or his primary relationships is both the result of his history with that older missing brother, and his own misconceptions about the meaning of that history. On a formal level, the novel explores the ability of traditional narrative structures to carry postmodern themes. The theme, in this case, is the struggle for a stable identity when there is no stable community against which or in relationship to an identity might be defined.