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 Department: Department of English
Alchemies

Alchemies

Date: August 2013
Creator: Heffner, Christopher Daniel
Description: This thesis consists of a collection of poems and a critical preface. The preface is a discussion of Elizabeth Bishop's descriptive mode, as demonstrated by three of her poems: "Sandpiper," "The Monument," and "Santarém." I argue for Bishop's descriptions as creative acts, and examine the gestures that help her make the reader aware of the shaping power she exercises.
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Homeward Bound: Short Stories

Homeward Bound: Short Stories

Date: May 2013
Creator: Kadura, Karen
Description: This collection contains a preface that discusses the role of landscape and place as they are used in fiction, particularly when they are colored by the writer's own memories of home. The preface is followed by four original short stories, three of which relate to a fictional small town in Texas. "Under the Surface" involves two young boys who begin to relate thoughts of the dead body they find to their own absentee mother. "Tommy" explores a young man's memories of his recently deceased friend, as well as the gossip of a small town. "Stubborn" depicts a man's struggle after his wife has delivered an ultimatum. "Out of the Valley" is about a father and daughter questioning what it means to be normal.
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Mr Secrets and Social Media:  the Confession of Richard Rodriguez

Mr Secrets and Social Media: the Confession of Richard Rodriguez

Date: May 2013
Creator: Burns, Amanda Jill
Description: Richard Rodriguez's works create troubling situations for many scholars. Though numerous critics see him as the penultimate Chicano writer, many others see his writing as only pandering to the elite. However, all politics and controversies aside, he is a writer whose ideas upon language and public confession have been revolutionary. Throughout the thesis, I argue that Rodriguez's ideas upon language and identity are applicable to the social media landscape that we reside in currently, especially the public confession. Also, I use deconstructionism, along with postmodern criticism, to illustrate the changing arc of Rodriguez's confession from his first autobiography to his final one. In his first memoir, Rodriguez remains in the closet upon his sexuality, and the reader only catches glimpses of the 'real' character inside his work. In the second memoir, the reader sees a better glimpse because of his coming out; yet, even in this regard, he does not do so wholly and still leaves his confession unfinished. By the third, he applies themes and problems seen in his first and second works to discuss our browning nature, and how we are all sinners and that we desire to confess our sins. In my assessment of Rodriguez, I argue ...
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Specter

Specter

Date: May 2013
Creator: Sharpe, Mary Victoria
Description: This dissertation is a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers the major changes within the elegy from the traditional English elegy—the touchstone poems for this genre being Milton's "Lycidas," Shelley's "Adonais," and Tennyson's "In Memoriam"—to the contemporary elegy and argues that many of these changes showcase contemporary elegists' active refusal and reversal of the time-honored traditions of the form. The preface is divided into an introduction and three sections, each of which recognizes and explores one significant alteration—or reversal—to the conventions of the form as established by early English elegists. The first discusses the traditional elegiac tradition of consolation in which the speaker, after displaying a series of emotions in reaction to the death of a loved one, ultimately finds comfort in the knowledge that the deceased lives eternally in heaven. This convention is contrasted with a common contemporary rhetorical movement in which the speaker not only lacks comfort by the end of the poem, but often refuses any kind of consolation, preferring instead to continue his grief. The second recognizes and explores the traditional elegiac tradition in which the speaker, listing the virtues of the beloved, replaces the real, historical person with a symbol ...
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Bodies and Other Firewood

Bodies and Other Firewood

Date: December 2012
Creator: Blomgren, Aubree Sky
Description: The chakra system consists of seven energetic vortexes ascending up the spine that connect to every aspect of human existence. These vortexes become blocked and unblocked through the course of a life, these openings and closings have physiological and mental repercussions. Knowledge of these physical and mental manifestations, indicate where the chakra practitioner is in need, the practitioner can then manipulate their mind and body to create a desired outcome. These manipulations are based upon physical exercises and associative meditations for the purpose of expanding the human experience. As a poem can be thought of as the articulation of the human experience, and the chakra system can be thought of as a means to understand and enhance that experience, it is interesting and worthwhile leap to explore the how the chakras can develop and refresh the way we read and write poetry. This critical preface closely reads seven poems, one through each chakra, finding what the chakras unveil. Here, each chakra is considered for its dynamic creative capabilities and for its beneficial potentiality in the reading and writing process, finding each chakra provides tools: idea generators with the potential to free the poet from usual patterns of creativity while broadening ...
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The Fifth Humor: Ink, Texts, and the Early Modern Body

The Fifth Humor: Ink, Texts, and the Early Modern Body

Date: December 2012
Creator: Polster, Kristen Kayem
Description: This dissertation tracks the intimate relationship between writing and the body to add new dimensions to humoral criticism and textual studies of Renaissance literature. Most humor theory focuses on the volatile, permeable nature of the body, and its vulnerability to environmental stimuli, neglecting the important role that written texts play in this economy of fluids. I apply the principles of humor theory to the study of handwritten and printed texts. This approach demonstrates that the textual economy of the period—reading, writing, publishing, exchanging letters, performing all of the above on stage—mirrors the economy of fluids that governed the humoral body. Early modern readers and writers could imagine textual activities not only as cerebral, abstract concepts, but also as sexual activities, as processes of ingestion and regurgitation. My study of ink combines humoral, historical materialist, and ecocritical modes of study. Materialist critics have examined the quill, paper, and printing press as metaphors for the body; however, the ink within them remains unexamined. This dissertation infuses the figurative body of the press with circulating passions, and brings to bear the natural, biochemical properties that ink lends to the texts it creates. Considering the influence of written and printed materials on the body ...
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The Invisible Dragon

The Invisible Dragon

Date: December 2012
Creator: Boutwell, Nathan
Description: This collection of memoir essays chronicles the author's 19 year struggle with chronic depression. "The Invisible Dragon" explores the onset of the disease and its cure. "The Silent Typewriter" looks at how it affected the author as a writer. "Roses for Trish" discusses how it affected his wife. "My Mother's Son" explores the possibility that he inherited depression from his mother. The final essay, "The Dragon Returns" probes the author's life in 2012 with the probability that he has a personality disorder. The preface examines several depression memoirs and explores the strategies used by William Styron, Elizabeth Wurtzel and Kay Redfield Jamison to prevent sliding into the pitfalls inherent in a linear structure. Among these are the use of alternative structures, language, characterization, focus and imagery.
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Antigravity

Antigravity

Date: August 2012
Creator: Bowen, Ashley Hamilton
Description: This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, which discusses the elegy of possessive intent, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, Antigravity, a collection of poems. English elegies have been closely rooted to a specific grief, making the poems closer to occasional poems. The poet—or at least the poet’s speaker—seeks some kind of public consolation for (often) a private loss. The Americanized form does stray from the traditional elegy yet retains some of its characteristics. Some American elegies memorialize failed romantic relationships rather than the dead. In their memorials, these speakers seek a completion for the lack the broken relationship has created in the speakers’ lives. What they can’t replace, they substitute with something personal. As the contemporary poem becomes further removed from tradition, it’s no surprise that the elegy has evolved as well. Discussions of elegies have never ventured into the type of elegy that concerns itself with the sort of unacknowledged loss found in some contemporary American poems of unrequited love. These poems all have speakers who willfully refuse to acknowledge the loss of their love-objects and strive to maintain control/ownership of their beloveds even in the face of rejection.
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The Hostess

The Hostess

Date: August 2012
Creator: Tomberlin, Jessica
Description: The following is a critical preface and portion of a novel-in-progress produced during my master's program in creative writing at the University of North Texas. The preface analyzes the way time and point of view work together to create or determine structure in fiction, as well as provide added meaning. In order to explore these topics I focus on two novels, Joan Didion’s Play It as It Lays and Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, and speak to how these elements have influenced my own writing style in The Hostess. The Hostess is a story about a group of twenty-something’s working together in a restaurant located in a Mid-West, college town, told from multiple character perspectives, as they struggle to choose between pursuing their passions and creating stability in their lives.
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After the Planes

After the Planes

Date: May 2012
Creator: Boswell, Timothy
Description: The dissertation consists of a critical preface and a novel. The preface analyzes what it terms “polyvocal” novels, or novels employing multiple points of view, as well as “layered storytelling,” or layers of textuality within novels, such as stories within stories. Specifically, the first part of the preface discusses polyvocality in twenty-first century American novels, while the second part explores layered storytelling in novels responding to World War II or the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The preface analyzes the advantages and difficulties connected to these techniques, as well as their aptitude for reflecting the fractured, disconnected, and subjective nature of the narratives we construct to interpret traumatic experiences. It also acknowledges the necessity—despite its inherent limitations—of using language to engage with this fragmentation and cope with its challenges. The preface uses numerous novels as examples and case studies, and it also explores these concepts and techniques in relation to the process of writing the novel After the Planes. After the Planes depicts multiple generations of a family who utilize storytelling as a means to work through grief, hurt, misunderstanding, and loss—whether from interpersonal conflicts or from war. Against her father’s wishes, a young woman moves in with her nearly-unknown grandfather, ...
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