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 Degree Discipline: English
Ours is the Kingdom of Heaven: Racial Construction of Early American Christian Identities
This project interrogates how religious performance, either authentic or contrived, aids in the quest for freedom for oppressed peoples; how the rhetoric of the Enlightenment era pervades literatures delivered or written by Native Americans and African Americans; and how religious modes, such as evoking scripture, performing sacrifices, or relying upon providence, assist oppressed populations in their roles as early American authors and speakers. Even though the African American and Native American populations of early America before the eighteenth century were denied access to rights and freedom, they learned to manipulate these imposed constraints--renouncing the expectation that they should be subordinate and silent--to assert their independent bodies, voices, and spiritual identities through the use of literary expression. These performative strategies, such as self-fashioning, commanding language, destabilizing republican rhetoric, or revising narrative forms, become the tools used to present three significant strands of identity: the individual person, the racialized person, and the spiritual person. As each author resists the imposed restrictions of early American ideology and the resulting expectation of inferior behavior, he/she displays abilities within literature (oral and written forms) denied him/her by the political systems of the early republican and early national eras. Specifically, they each represent themselves in three ways: first, as a unique individual with differentiated abilities, exceptionalities, and personality; second, as a person with distinct value, regardless of skin color, cultural difference, or gender; and third, as a sanctified and redeemed Christian, guaranteed agency and inheritance through the family of God. Furthermore, the use of religion and spirituality allows these authors the opportunity to function as active agents who were adapting specific verbal and physical methods of self-fashioning through particular literary strategies. Doing so demonstrates that they were not the unrefined and unfeeling individuals that early American political and social restrictions had made them--that instead they were intellectually and morally capable of making both physical and spiritual contributions to society while reciprocally deserving to possess the liberties and freedoms denied them.
With the Earth in Mind: Ecological Grief in the Contemporary American Novel
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"With the Earth in Mind" responds to some of the most cutting-edge research in the field of ecocriticism, which centers on ecological loss and the grief that ensues. Ecocritics argue that ecological objects of loss abound--for instance, species are disappearing and landscapes are becoming increasingly compromised--and yet, such loss is often deemed "ungrievable." While humans regularly grieve human losses, we understand very little about how to genuinely grieve the loss of nonhuman being, natural environments, and ecological processes. My dissertation calls attention to our society's tendency to participate in superficial nature-nostalgia, rather than active and engaged environmental mourning, and ultimately activism. Herein, I investigate how an array of postwar and contemporary American novels represent a complex relationship between environmental degradation and mental illness. Literature, I suggest, is crucial to investigations of this problem because it can reveal the human consequences of ecological loss in a way that is unavailable to political, philosophical, scientific, and even psychological discourse.
"For the Ruined Body"
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This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, "Self-Elegy as Self-Creation Myth," which discusses the self-elegy, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, For the Ruined Body, a collection of poems. Traditionally elegies are responses to death, but modern and contemporary self-elegies question the kinds of death, responding to metaphorical not literal deaths. One category of elegy is the self-elegy, which turns inward, focusing on loss rather than death, mourning aspects of the self that are left behind, forgotten, or aspects that never existed. Both prospective and retrospective, self-elegies allow the self to be reinvented in the face of loss; they mourn past versions of selves as transient representations of moments in time. Self-elegies pursue the knowledge that the selves we create are fleeting and flawed, like our bodies. However by acknowledging painful self-truths, speakers in self-elegies exert agency; they participate in their own creation myths, actively interpreting and incorporating experiences into their identity by performing dreamlike scenarios and sustaining an intimate, but self-critical, voice in order to: one, imagine an alternate self to create distance and investigate the evolution of self-identity, employing hindsight and self-criticism to offer advice; two, reinterpret the past and its role in creating and shaping identity, employing a tone of resignation towards the changing nature of the self. This self-awareness, not to be confused with self-acceptance, is often the only consolation found.
"Goodness and Mercy": Stories
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The stories in this collection represent an increasingly transcultural world by exploring the intersection of cultures and identities in border spaces, particularly the Mexican-American border. Characters, regardless of ethnicity, experience the effects of migration and deportation in schools, hometowns, relationships, and elsewhere. The collection as a whole focuses on the issues and themes found in Mexican-American literature, such as loss, separation, and the search for identity.
Welcome to the Rest of It
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This creative nonfiction dissertation is a book of essays that explore the author's life and relationship to Upstate New York. The project also connects this experience to gender and trauma. Though the topics range from local history to cosmetic surgical procedures, the essays are collected by how they illuminate cultural tensions and universal truths. These essays are preceded by a critical preface that examines the differences between essays collections, books of essays, and argues for the recognition of narrative nonfiction as an artistic choice.
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This dissertation is has two parts: a critical essay on the lyric subject, and a collection of poems. In the essay, I suggest that, contrary to various anti-subjectivists who continue to define the lyric subject in Romantic terms, a strain of Post-Romantic lyric subjectivity allows us to think more in terms of space, process, and dialogue and less in terms of identity, (mere self-) expression, and dialectic. The view I propose understands the contemporary lyric subject as a confluence or parallax of imagined and felt subjectivities in which the subject who writes the poem, the subject personified as speaker in the text itself, and the subject who receives the poem as a reader are each repeatedly drawn out of themselves, into others, and into an otherness that calls one beyond identity, mastery, and understanding. Rather than arguing for the lyric subject as autonomous, expressive (if fictive) "I,” I have suggested that the lyric subject is a dialogical matrix of multiple subjectivities—actual, imagined, anticipated, deferred—that at once posit and emerge from a space whose only grounded, actual place in the world is the text: not the court, not the market, and not a canon of legitimized authors, but in the relatively fugitive realm of text. In this way, there is no real contradiction between what Tucker terms the intersubjective and the intertextual. The lyric space I am arguing for is ultimately a diachronic process in which readers take up the poem and bring that space partially into their bodies, imaginations, and consciousness even as the poem brings them out, or to the edge, of each of these.
The Laureates’ Lens: Exposing the Development of Literary History and Literary Criticism From Beneath the Dunce Cap
In this project, I examine the impact of early literary criticism, early literary history, and the history of knowledge on the perception of the laureateship as it was formulated at specific moments in the eighteenth century. Instead of accepting the assessments of Pope and Johnson, I reconstruct the contemporary impact of laureate writings and the writing that fashioned the view of the laureates we have inherited. I use an array of primary documents (from letters and journal entries to poems and non-fiction prose) to analyze the way the laureateship as a literary identity was constructed in several key moments: the debate over hack literature in the pamphlet wars surrounding Elkanah Settle’s The Empress of Morocco (1673), the defense of Colley Cibber and his subsequent attempt to use his expertise of theater in An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740), the consolidation of hack literature and state-sponsored poetry with the crowning of Colley Cibber as the King of the Dunces in Pope’s The Dunciad in Four Books (1742), the fashioning of Thomas Gray and William Mason as laureate rejecters in Mason’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of William Whitehead (1788), Southey’s progressive work to abolish laureate task writing in his laureate odes 1813-1821, and, finally, in Wordsworth’s refusal to produce any laureate task writing during his tenure, 1843-1850. In each case, I explain how the construction of this office was central to the consolidation of literary history and to forging authorial identity in the same period. This differs from the conventional treatment of the laureates because I expose the history of the versions of literary history that have to date structured how scholars understand the laureate, and by doing so, reveal how the laureateship was used to create, legitimate and disseminate the model of literary history we still use today.
Derivation: Excerpts From a Novel
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The dissertation consists of a critical preface and excerpts from the novel Derivation. The preface details how the novel Derivation explores the tension between the artist and the academy in the university, as well as the role memory plays in the construction of fictional narratives. The preface also details how narrative voice is used to expand the scope of Derivation, and ends with a discussion of masculine tropes in the novel. Derivation traces the path of a woman trying to rebuild her life in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, returning first to her blue collar roots before pursuing a career as an academic.
“Wolf Man”
This creative nonfiction dissertation is a memoir that probes the complex life and death of the author’s father, who became addicted in his late forties to crack cocaine. While the primary concerns are the reasons and ways in which the father changed from a family man into a drug addict, the memoir is also concerned with themes of family life, childhood, and grief. After his father’s death, the author moves to Las Vegas and experiences similar addiction issues, which he then explores to help shed light on his father’s problems. To enrich the investigation, the author draws from eclectic sources, including news articles, literature, mythology, sociology, religion, music, TV, interviews, and inherited objects from his father. In dissecting the life of his father, the author simultaneously examines broader issues surrounding modern fatherhood, such as cultural expectations, as well as the problems of emptiness, isolation, and spiritual deficiency.
Bass Reeves: a History • a Novel • a Crusade, Volume 1: the Rise
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This literary/historical novel details the life of African-American Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves between the years 1838-1862 and 1883-1884. One plotline depicts Reeves’s youth as a slave, including his service as a body servant to a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War. Another plotline depicts him years later, after Emancipation, at the height of his deputy career, when he has become the most feared, most successful lawman in Indian Territory, the largest federal jurisdiction in American history and the most dangerous part of the Old West. A preface explores the uniqueness of this project’s historical relevance and literary positioning as a neo-slave narrative, and addresses a few liberties that I take with the historical record.
Vanishing Act
This dissertation is comprised of a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface reconsiders the value of discontinuous poetic forms and advocates a return to lyric as an antidote to the toxic aspects of what Tony Hoagland terms “the skittery poem of our moment.” I consider poems by Wendy Xu, Kevin Prufer, Sharon Olds, and Stephen Dunn in depth to facilitate a discussion about the value of a more centrist position between the poles of supreme discontinuity and totalizing continuity. Though poets working in discontinuous forms are rightly skeptical of the hierarchies that govern narrative and linear forms, as Czesław Miłosz notes in The Witness of Poetry, “a poet discovers a secret, namely that he can be faithful to real things only by arranging them hierarchically.” In my own poems, I make use of the hierarchies of ordered perception in lyric and narrative forms to faithfully illuminate the collapsed structures of my own family history in the shadow of Detroit. I practice the principles I advocate in the preface, using a continuous form to address fractured realities in a busy, disordered age when poets often seek forms as fragmented as their perceptions. These poems are distinctly American, but because there is no true royalty in America, our great cultural and economic institutions—television, music, film, magazines, and big business—take the place of the castle (the book’s emblem) while Michael Jackson ultimately rises as the commanding dead king whose passing prompts contemplation of the viability of popular culture, family, history, and geography. The fallen structures that litter the work are many: the twin towers, chess rooks, bounce castles, nuclear families, the auto industry. However, the sole structure cohering the whole is that of a lyric voice whose authority is derived through lived experience and presented in rich, continuous poetic forms.
(Some More) American Literature
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This short story collection consists of twenty short fictions and a novella. A preface precedes the collection addressing issues of craft, pedagogy, and the post Program Era literary landscape, with particular attention paid to the need for empathy as an active guiding principle in the writing of fiction.
Marvels of the Invisible
This dissertation is comprised of a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers the consumed animal body as a metaphor in contemporary American poetry, specifically in the works of Galway Kinnell, Li Young Lee, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. The consumption of the mute creature allows the poet to identify the human self in the animal other, and serves as a metaphor for our continuity with the natural world. I revise Owen Barfield’s notion of “original participation,” positing that through imaginative participation, the poet and the reader can identify the animal within the self, and thus approach a fuller understanding of both the self and the outside world. We identify the animal other within the human self, and in of this act of relating, we are able to temporarily transgress the boundaries of the individual self to create art that expresses continuity with the outside world. This argument brings about a discussion of text as an act of consumption, and the way and which this can symbolize the ways in which the self is altered through the act of reading. The book-length collection of poems, entitled Marvels of the Invisible, won Tupelo Press’s 2014 Berkshire prize for a first or second book of poetry. The poems look to sources like 17th and 18th century scientific letters, modern and contemporary art, and recent studies in biological phenomena in order to parse the intersection between personal experience and the outside world. The title of the collection points to the conceptual interests of the book: through the lens of scientific phenomena, memory, and personal history, one begins to see that what seems very small (the ant under a microscope, a Russian nesting doll, two people on horseback) are, in fact, individual offerings that articulate one’s place in the cosmos. The collective voice I advocate in the critical preface appears in these poems, especially “Echolocation,” “My Name in Sleep,” “Civilization,” and “Narrative,” all of which make use of the animal-as-metaphor. This collective voice is particularly female, and deals with motherhood, loss, and childhood experience. Poetry, as part-myth, longs to transgress the felt boundaries of the self; it must see that self as inextricably dependent on the natural world.
The Palestinian Archipelago and the Construction of Palestinian Identity After Sixty-five Years of Diaspora: the Rebirth of the Nation
This dissertation conceptualizes a Palestinian archipelago based on Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory of the chronotope, and uses the archipelago model to illustrate the situation and development of Palestinian consciousness in diaspora. To gain insight into the personal lives of Palestinians in diaspora, This project highlights several islands of Palestinian identities as represented in the novels: Dancing Arabs, A Compass for the Sunflower, and The Inheritance. The identities of the characters in these works are organized according to the archipelago model, which illustrates how the characters rediscover, repress, or change their identities in order to accommodate life in diaspora. Analysis reveals that a major goal of Palestinian existence in diaspora is the maintenance of an authentic Palestinian identity. Therefore, my description of the characters’ identities and locations in the archipelago model are informed by various scholars and theories of nationalism. Moreover, this dissertation illustrates how different Palestinian identities coalesce into a single national consciousness that has been created and sustained by a collective experience of suffering and thirst for sense of belonging and community among Palestinians. Foremost in the memories of all Palestinians is the memory of the land of Palestine and the dream of national restoration; these are the main uniting factors between Palestinians revealed in my analysis. Furthermore, this project presents an argument that developing a Palestinian exceptionalism as both a response and a solution to the problems Palestine faced in the 20th century has already occurred among diasporic Palestinians as well as those settled in the West Bank. In addition, a significant finding of this dissertation is the generation clash in regarding to the methods of modernization of the West Bank society between the settled Palestinian and those returning from diaspora. Nevertheless, a Palestinian homecoming will require a renegotiation of Palestinian identities in which generation gaps and other disagreements will be resolved and transcended in favor of nation-state building.
Networks of Social Debt in Early Modern Literature and Culture
This thesis argues that social debt profoundly transformed the environment in which literature was produced and experienced in the early modern period. In each chapter, I examine the various ways in which social debt affected Renaissance writers and the literature they produced. While considering the cultural changes regarding patronage, love, friendship, and debt, I will analyze the poetry and drama of Ben Jonson, Lady Mary Wroth, William Shakespeare, and Thomas Middleton. Each of these writers experiences social debt in a unique and revealing way. Ben Jonson's participation in networks of social debt via poetry allowed him to secure both a livelihood and a place in the Jacobean court through exchanges of poetry and patronage. The issue of social debt pervades both Wroth's life and her writing. Love and debt are intertwined in the actions of her father, the death of her husband, and the themes of her sonnets and pastoral tragicomedy. In Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (c. 1596), Antonio and Bassanio’s friendship is tested by a burdensome interpersonal debt, which can only be alleviated by an outsider. This indicated the transition from honor-based credit system to an impersonal system of commercial exchange. Middleton’s A Trick to Catch the Old One (1608) examines how those heavily in debt dealt with both the social and legal consequences of defaulting on loans.
Down and Out: A Novel
A creative dissertation consisting of two parts: a novel and a critical preface. The critical preface, titled “Novel without Falsehood” deals directly with David Shields’s Reality Hunger, touching on issues of reality as it pertains to truth, writing, fiction, and contemporary culture. The novel is entitled Down and Out and follows the fortunes of a small town in Arkansas before, during, and after its sole source of employment ceases to exist.
Patrol: Excerpts From a Novel
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The dissertation consists of a critical preface and excerpts from the novel Patrol. The preface explores how the novel Patrol utilizes characters that engage with tropes of the Romantic Genius in order to establish their subjectivity while navigating the standardizing mechanisms of twenty-first century information technologies. The preface analyzes how the rise of the organic food movement, the usage of biotech genetic engineering, and the tactics of Big Data-era marketing all inform the critical underpinnings of Patrol, situating the novel in conversation with works of fiction and nonfiction that also explore the interplay of these topics with contemporary American culture. Set primarily in Cincinnati, Ohio, the bifurcated narrative of the novel Patrol enlists the perspectives of both a science-tech father from the Boomer generation, Tim Smith, and his millennial public relations-major daughter, Sarah Smith. Both work in industries that seek to utilize the concept of the individual genius in service of quantification. Tim and Sarah’s interactions with Alexandra Smith, a family member who transitions from female to male over the course of the novel, cause both protagonists to recognize that their own identities are malleable, and this discovery goads each into reexamining their career choices and personal relationships. The plot depicts the outcome of these explorations, culminating in a series of choices for Tim and Sarah that showcase the fundamental change in each character. Unable to simply quantify themselves and those around them, Tim and Sarah instead adopt a more nuanced view of the world that seeks to find a balance between the individualistic conceit of the Romantic genius and the quantifying mandates of technology.
Recklessness and Light
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This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, which discusses the methods and means by which poets achieve originality within ekphrastic works; and Part II, Recklessness and Light, a collection of poems. Poets who seek to write ekphrastically are faced with a particular challenge: they must credibly and substantially build on the pieces of art they are writing about. Poems that fail to achieve invention become mere translations. A successful ekphrastic poem must in some way achieve originality by using the techniques of the artist to credibly and substantially build on the art. The preface discusses three ekphrastic poems: W.H. Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts,” John Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in Convex Mirror,” and Larry Levis’ “Caravaggio: Swirl and Vortex.” In order to invent, each of these poets connects time within the paintings to time within the poem. The poets turn to techniques such as imprinting of historical context, conflation, and stranging of perspective to connect their work with the paintings. I examine these methods of generating ekphrastic poems in order to evaluate how these poets have responded to one another and to consider emerging patterns of ekphrastic poetry in the twentieth century.
Somebody Else’s Second Chance
Charles Baxter, in his essay “Dysfunctional Narratives: or: ‘Mistakes Were Made,’” implies that all trauma narrative is synonymous with “dysfunctional narrative,” or narrative that leaves all characters unaccountable. He writes: “In such fiction, people and events are often accused of turning the protagonist into the kind of person the protagonist is, usually an unhappy person. That’s the whole story. When blame has been assigned, the story is over.” For Baxter, trauma narrative lets everyone “off the hook,” so to speak. He would say that we write about our bitter lemonade to make excuses for our poor choices, and “audiences of fellow victims” read our tales, because their lemonade and their choices carry equal bitterness, and they require equal excuses. While trauma narrative can soothe us, as can other narrative genres, we should not dismiss trauma fiction because of a sweeping generalization. Trauma fiction also allows us to explore the missing parts of our autobiographical narratives and to explore the effects of trauma—two endeavors not fully possible without fiction. As explained in more detail later, the human mind requires narrative to formulate an identity. Trauma disrupts this process, because “trauma does not lie in the possession of the individual, to be recounted at will, but rather acts as a haunting or possessive influence which not only insistently and intrusively returns but is, moreover, experienced for the first time only in its belated repetition.” Because literature can speak what “theory cannot say,” we need fiction to speak in otherwise silent spaces. Fiction allows us to express, analyze, and comprehend what we could not otherwise.
The Necessity of Movement
This dissertation is a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers emotional immediacy—or the idea of enacting in readers an emotional drama that appears genuine and simultaneous with the speaker's experience—and furthermore argues against the common criticism that accessibility means simplicity, ultimately reifying the importance of accessibility in contemporary poetry. The preface is divided into an introduction and three sections, each of which explores a different technique for creating immediacy, exemplified by Robert Lowell’s "Waking in the Blue,” Sylvia Plath's "Lady Lazarus,” and Louise Gluck's "Eros." The first section examines "Waking in the Blue,” and the poem's systematic inflation and deflation of persona as a means of revealing complexity a ambiguity. The second section engages in a close reading of "Lady Lazarus,” arguing that the poem's initially deliberately false erodes into sincerity, creating immediacy. The third section considers the continued importance of persona beyond confessionalism, and argues that in "Eros," it is the apparent lack of drama, and the focus on the cognitive process, that facilitates emotional immediacy.
A Study of the Treatment of Time in the Plays of Lyly, Marlowe, Greene, and Peele
Because Shakespeare borrowed so many ideas and devices from other writers, we wonder whether he also borrowed the trick of double time from some of his predecessors; therefore one of the purposes of this study is to discover whether or not this device was original with Shakespeare. In this study I have considered the works of John Lyly, Christopher Marlowe, Robert Greene, and George Peele because these four seem to have influenced Shakespeare more than did any of the other of his immediate predecessors. To discover what influence, if any, these men had upon Shakespeare ts treatment of time is not, however, the only purpose of this study; for I am also interested in the characteristics of the works of these men for their own values, independent of any influence which they may have had on the works of Shakespeare.
Satire on American Life as Portrayed in the Novels of Sinclair Lewis
Since 1920, Lewis has written only novels in which he has ridiculed the leading phases of American life. He has given an exact picture; he has left no faults uncovered. He loves America and he hates to see her in a state of degeneration. He has tried to appeal to the human side of his public in order to open the eyes of America to her own defects. He has been cynical, satirical, and humorous in his attempt to picture America as she really is. I have chosen the novels that Lewis has written since the year 1920 to show that he has satirized America in her various phases of life. I have not explored the fields of poetry and drama nor the earlier novels; for beginning with Main Street in 1920 and ending with the Prodigal Parents in 1938, Lewis has depicted the faults of a nation struggling for peace and security in a world of materialistic ideals.
The Gothic Elements in Shelley's Writings
The purpose of this thesis is to give a basic understanding of Percy Shelley's introduction to Gothicism and to explore the Gothic elements found within his writings.
Contemporary Women Poets of Texas
As a teacher of American literature in high school, I have become conscious of the importance of teaching students of that age level the lore and poetry of their native state. Poems of nature or local color in their own country will hold their interest when material from more distant points seems dull and uninteresting. Through my teaching I have become interested in the poetry of the Southwest and have enjoyed reading the poetry and knowing the poets through personal interview or correspondence.
Repetitions in the Most Popular Works of Mark Twain
This paper is a study of the repetitions in the works of Mark Twain.The author has chosen repetitions which are most nearly alike and most representative of Mark Twain. The study was limited to repetitions of his own experiences repeated in his works, to repetitions of descriptions of the beautiful and the horrible, and to repetitions which are a result of his humor and a desire to save man from himself.
Persons and Places in Mark Twain's Fiction
This paper focuses on Mark Twain's writing style and characterization in his fiction. The settings and characters of his fiction are in particular focus, specifically how Mark Twain draws on personal experiences and memories to make his characters and settings more relatable and realistic. A brief biography of Twain's life is given before the author goes into the specifics of characterization and settings.
Structural and Thematic Development in the Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald
In dealing with the individual works, I have attempted to analyze the structural element first, and then to deduce the novel's meaning, or theme, making use, wherever it is possible, of the results of the analysis of structure. In addition, I have attempted to reveal the development of certain themes from one novel to another, and certain developments in characterization and general design. I have attempted to reveal the relationship of the structure and thematic aspects of the individual works to Fizgerald's work as a whole. Finally, I have attempted to demonstrate Fitzgerald's relationship with certain of this peers and forebears in the American novel.
Plots from Greek Tragedy in Twentieth Century Drama
In so far as I have been able to determine, nothing by way of general criticism or comment has previously been written on the subject of Greek plots in twentieth century tragedy, although individual writers have themselves admitted a certain indebtedness to their sources, and comments regarding the specific plays which I have cited, of course, mention a Greek origin. As regards the whole field of contemporary drama, however, I believe that no treaties earlier than this one has discussed the prevalence of Greek plots among twentieth century dramas.
Plot Structure in the Novels of Mark Twain
Mark Twain was not only a wit but a literary man. He could paint a scene and he could make a character live, but could he plot a novel? It is the purpose of this study to analyze his methods and his products, with emphasis upon the building of plots.
The Treatment of Human Cruelty in the Novels of Mark Twain
The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate Mark Twain's awareness of and sensitive reaction to the cruelty which surrounded him throughout his lifetime, and to evaluate his literary use of cruelty for both comic and satiric effects.
Recent Interpretations of Iago
A study of the character of Iago from Shakespeare's Othello. Traces the trends of interpretations, schools of thought, and major influences in interpretations of Iago as manifested in a survey of the writings of Shakespearean critics of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The emphasis of the study shall be on twentieth-century criticism, with possible established patterns of interpretation and their relation to or deviation from the patterns of the two previous centuries.
The Faithful Wife Motif in Elizabethan Drama
The major purpose of this thesis is to present a discussion of the motif of the faithful wife as it appears in the domestic drama of the Elizabethan Age; in addition, an account of the literary history of the theme will be given, in order that the use made of the story in Elizabethan drama may be correctly evaluated.
First-Person Narration in Edgar Allan Poe's Tales
For the purpose of this study, Poe's tales were read and considered carefully in chronological order, the idea being to discover growth and development. Poe's literary career was relatively brief (1832-1849), and there are no dramatic or definite breaks or periods. Though his production shows growth in sophistication and artistry, it has been deemed more instructive to group Poets first-person narrators according to the part they play in the story, that is, (1) main actor or protagonist, (2) minor character, (3) observers and (4) combinations of the foregoing three. An attempt will be made to note both variation and pattern, and hence artistic skill, in Poe Is handling of each particular type of narrator.
The Fugitive Kind in the Major Plays of Tennessee Williams
What basic similarities are found in all the fugitives? First of all, they are fugitives in the sense that they are wanderers. While not necessarily running to or from some specific thing, the fugitives nonetheless are men who travel; they are men who only face their conflicts directly when they attempt to stop traveling either by changing themselves so that they will fit in (Val in Orpheus Descending and Chance), by changing their environment so that it will accept them (Val in Battle of Angels and Shannon), or by searching for something that is permanently lost (Kilroy).
Modern Trends in the Interpretation of Falstaff
The different interpretations of the character of Sir John Falstaff have been so controversial that at no time since the presentation of the Henry IV plays have critics been able to agree as to his precise qualities. He has been called the greatest humorous character in all literature by even those critics who have spoken adversely of his other traits. George Bernard Shaw called him "a besotted and disgusting old wretch," an opinion added to those of others who have seen him as a coward, liar, cheat, thief, glutton, and rogue. There is no denying that he is one of the most captivating and controversial of all characters in English literature.
Criticism of Swift's "Voyage to the Houyhnhnms," 1958-1965
Bitterness and humor, dogmatism and tolerance, unprofessional negligence and scholarly care characterize recent criticism of Swift's "Voyage to the Houyhnhnms." Many scholars have based their conclusions on the findings of earlier commentators rather than on Swift's work itself. Others have imposed a system of their own upon the fourth voyage, sometimes without regard for incontrovertible evidence against their views. Consequently, these scholars often reveal more about themselves than about Swift and his work. Although only a few really new ideas have been presented since 1958 which help to explain the Dean's motivation and intentions, a number of new interpretations of the fourth voyage of Gulliver's Travels clarify some of Swift's purposes. Generally, recent critics can be divided into three groups: those who believe that the Houyhnhnms are Swift's moral ideal for mankind; those who contend that the Houyhnhnms are not Swift's moral ideal; and those who suggest that Swift's moral ideal for man lay somewhere between the Houyhnhnm and the Yahoo.
The Effect of Journalism on Modern American Writing
This paper is an analysis of the relationship between journalism and formal literary usage in America. It is the purpose of this study to define and illustrate characteristics of modern journalese and to make a comparison of standards of correct usage advocated by recent textbooks in English composition and journalism. Particular attention will be given to diction, structure and length of sentences, capitalization, abbreviation, and punctuation. The conclusion will be a brief evaluation of modern journalism, a succinct resume of its impact on modern language and literature, and a simple prediction of future tendencies in journalistic and literary language. And to give a better perspective to the analysis of journalism and American English, the paper begins with a description of the American linguistic heritage.
Characterization of Women in the Fiction of Nathaniel Hawthorne
While his Transcendentalist contemporaries were expounding their optimistic philosophy of natural goodness, progress, and perfectibility, Hawthorne probed into the human heart, recording the darkest motives of his characters and writing bitter criticism of life. Around him men were declaring that scientific inventions, political organizations, and religious reforms were ushering in a new era; but Hawthorne viewed the new society as a probable continuation of old evils and a manufacturer of new ones. His fiction has been called "an elaborate study of the centrifugal, . . . a dramatization of all those social and psychological forces that lead to disunion, fragmentation, dispersion, incoherence. Critics generally comment on Hawthorne's obsession with guilt. His pessimistic analysis of the mind, his somber outlook on living, and his personal tendency to solitude are frequently credited to his Puritan ancestry; yet as Arvin points out, "He had no more Puritan blood than Emerson and hundreds of other New Englanders of his time: and who will say that they were obsessed with the spectral presence of guilty. One must go beyond Calvinist theology to comprehend the source of guilt that hovers over the pages of his fiction. His religious, moral, educational, and economic background was so typical of his time and locality that one can hardly believe that the nature of his writing or thinking could have been determined by these factors. Indeed, his imperviousness to contemporary influences causes one to look intensely at his personal life in searching for the explanation of the Hawthorne enigma. An important influence on his writing was his prolonged association with women. From his life in a feminine world and his reaction to that world, he devised the major part of his style, themes, and feminine character types. A review of the facts of his biography will establish the nature of the influence that dominated him as a man and as a writer. And an analysis of his fiction will indicate the extent of that influence on his writing. Although this study will necessarily begin with a review of his life, this thesis is not another biography; for Hawthorne already has a large number of biographers. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the literary influence of his mother, sisters, wife, daughters, and women acquaintances, with particular emphasis on their relation to his themes, style, and character types.
The Problem of Spelling Reform
Spelling is a tool by which one records his thoughts and ideas; therefore it is a vital part of life. To fulfill its task successfully, spelling must be accurate. Spelling is that tool by which the happenings of the past are revealed to the present and are preserved for the future. For any individual who attempts to transfer his thoughts and words by symbols onto paper, correct spelling is a prime essential. It follows, then, that to develop perfect habits of spelling in order that perfect transcriptions of thoughts might be made is the duty of the teacher. This duty has been attempted by teachers for many generations. But it is an established fact that the goal has not been reached, for there is a stupendous number of misspellings in the written work of students in high schools. Many methods have been advanced for correcting this incompetence in spelling; when these were tried, they have failed to secure the coveted goal. In some instances the cure has aggravated the disease. Successful abolishment of this handicap baffles the teaching profession. In a course in American pronunciation recently conducted at North Texas State College, the teacher presented the fact that there are factors in the English language which tend to become stumbling-blocks to the attainment of perfect spelling. For the first time it became evident to this writer that certain elements within the language might be the cause of the spelling problem. Therefore, the readings for this thesis were undertaken for the purpose of finding the logical causes for poor spelling habits and with the hope of discovering a workable remedy.
Jane Austen and Her Critics, 1940-1954
The purpose of this thesis is to survey Jane Austen biography and criticism published since 1940 in order to show the present state of Jane Austen study while providing a bibliographical guide to recent material.
Hawthorne's Use of Symbolism in Four Romances
This thesis is a study of the four long romances, The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun, with emphasis upon Hawthorne's use of symbolism as a means of presenting the basic moral and spiritual truths of human life. The first chapter explains the nature of symbolism and the reasons why Hawthorne used it so extensively. In each of the last four chapters, the symbolism in a single romance is considered for the purpose of discovering the manner and effectiveness of its use in exemplifying the central theme of that particular story. Although Hawthorne's short stories are extremely rich in symbolism, it was not possible to include them in the present study.
The Role of Female Stereotyping in Seven Elizabethan Tragedies
During the Elizabethan period, certain stereotypes existed concerning women. Seven tragedies were examined to discover the role played by those stereotypes in the dramas. These include "The Spanish Tragedy," "Edward II," "Bussy D'Ambois," "The Changeling," "A Woman Killed with Kindness," "Othello," and "The Duchess of Malfi." Female stereotyping was found to be used in three important ways: in characterization, in motivation, and as a substitute for motivation. Some of the plays rely on stereotyping as a substitute for motivation while others use stereotyping only for characterization or subtly blend the existence of stereotyping into the overall plot. A heavy reliance on stereotype for motivation seems to reflect a lack of skill rather than an attempt to perpetuate those stereotypes.
Time in the Alexandria Quartet
Any study of The Alexandria Quartet would be incomplete without a discussion of Durrell's concept of time. His spacetime relativity proposition is central to the work and, therefore, must be fully understood if The Alexandria quartet is to be appreciated. This investigation proposes to examine Durrell's relativity proposition as it is presented in The Alexandria Quartet. The study will begin with a general discussion of time from both a scientific and philosophical point of view. This introduction will focus on the modern cyclic view of time, or mind-time, as opposed to the more traditional linear concept of time. After the introductory presentation, the study will deal with the view of time as presented by Durrell in The Alexandria Quartet and will concentrate on time and setting, on time and modern love, on time and reality as seen from the varying points of view of the many characters, and finally on time and the artist.
Molière in Stendhal: A Comparative Study of Three Character Types
This paper explores the appearance of three of Moliere's character types in Stendhal's novels The Red and the Black and The Charterhouse of Parma. Moliere had dealt in many types to which the titles of his plays provide a reasonably inclusive index--the Don Juan, the miser, the misanthrope, the hypochondriac. Those which have been singled out for comparison with Stendhal's characters in this work are the physician, the hypocrite, and the social climber, each of which is treated extensively by Stendhal, with the qualification that Moliere's physicians become Stendhal's priests. Chapter One identifies Julien Sorel of The Red and the Black and Fabrizio del Dongo of The Charterhouse of Parma with the physicians of Le Medecin Malgre Lui and Le Malade Imaginaire. Chapter Two identifies Julien with T artuffe. Chapter Three identifies him with Jourdain of Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.
Vision Imagery and Its Relationship to Structure in the Novels of Flannery O'Connor
An investigation of the prominence of vision imagery in the two novels of Flannery O'Connor, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, reveals the importance of vision to the themes and structures of the novels. Seeing truth in order to fulfill one's human vocation is a central concern in O'Connor's fiction. The realization or non-realization of truth by the characters is conveyed by vision imagery. O'Connor's Southern and Catholic heritage is the back-ground of her concern for vision as an integral part of her artistic theory. An analysis of vision imagery in each novel shows how the themes are developed and how the structures relate to such imagery. Each novel progresses according to the main character's clarity of sight. Contradictory patterns occur when the character's sight is not true.
Rudimentary Farsi Phonetics and Syntax for ESL Instructors
This study is a very basic handbook of Farsi phonetics and syntax for use by English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors who have had little or no contact with the structure of the Persian language. Emphasis is placed on presenting an inventory of selected phonological and syntactic items which are problems for native Farsi speakers who want to learn English.
Three Original Short Stories and a Critical Analysis
This thesis is composed of three original short stories and a critical analysis of them. "Tricentennial Seaweed Stories: is a comic tale of the future, set in twenty-first century America. "Cousins" is concerned with the conflicting religious views of three young adults. "A Vacation in Utah" examines the psychological and social pressures which bring the protagonist near to committing homicide. The first story is narrated in an omniscient voice, the second in an objective voice, and the last in first person. The critical analysis examines the fictional elements in the stories, including plot, character development, theme, and narrative point of view. This analysis expresses an opinion upon the degree of success achieved in each short story in terms of style and content.
Naturalism in the Work of Stephen Crane
A critical study of naturalism and its influence in the works of Stephen Crane.
Semantic Change in Biblical Translation
Tracing semantic change in various translations of The Bible.
"Mahala" by Chris Barnard, Translated from the Afrikaans
Afrikaans, the world's youngest language, is not known to many outside South Africa. Mahala, a novel in that language by a major writer, has been translated as an example of South African literary resources yet to be made accessible to English readers. Chapter One (the Foreword) contains historical notes on the Afrikaans language and on Barnard's biography, including his publications and literary awards. Chapter Two is a complete translation (currently the only one) of Chris Barnard' s Mahala. Analysis of and comment on Mahala are reserved for Chapter Three (the Afterword), wherein the structure of the novel is discussed, selected characteristics of the book compared with those of recognized English writers, and commentary upon translation supplied. The Bibliography contains reviews of Mahala, backgrounds of South African literature, the history of Afrikaans, aspects of translation, and dictionaries.