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 Department: Department of English
Infinite Hallways: “Parabola Heretica” and Other Journeys
This creative thesis collects five fictional stories, as well as a critical preface entitled “Fractals and the Gestalt: the Hybridization of Genre.” The critical preface discusses genre as a literary element and explores techniques for effective genre hybridization. The stories range from psychological fiction to science fiction and fantasy fiction. Each story also employs elements from other genres as well. These stories collectively explore the concept of the other and themes of connection and ostracization. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407839/
Shakespeare and Modeling Political Subjectivity
This dissertation examines the role of aesthetic activity in the pursuit of political agency in readings of several of Shakespeare’s plays, including Hamlet (1600), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595), The Tempest (1610), the history plays of the second tetralogy (1595-9), Julius Caesar (1599), and Coriolanus (1605). I demonstrate how Shakespeare models political subjectivity—the capacity for individuals to participate meaningfully in the political realm—as necessitating active aesthetic agency. This aesthetic agency entails the fashioning of artistically conceived public personae that potential political subjects enact in the public sphere and the critical engagement of the aesthetic and political discourses of the subjects’ culture in a self-reflective and appropriative manner. Furthermore, these subjects should be wary auditors of the texts and personae they encounter within the public sphere in order to avoid internalizing constraining ideologies that reify their identities into forms less conducive to the pursuit of liberty and social mobility. Early modern audiences could discover several models for doing so in Shakespeare’s works. For example, Hamlet posits a model of Machiavellian theatricality that masks the Prince's interiority as he resists the biopolitical force and disciplinary discourses of Claudius's Denmark. Julius Caesar and Coriolanus advance a model of citizenship through the plays’ nameless plebeians in which rhetoric offers the means to participate in Rome’s political culture, and Shakespeare’s England for audiences, while authorities manipulate citizen opinion by molding the popularity of public figures. Public, artistic ability affords potential political subjects ways of not only framing their participation in their culture but also ways of conceiving of their identities and relationships to society that may defy normative notions of membership in the community. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407853/
To Be the Child of the Priest
This collection of creative non-fiction essays is written from the perspective of a Protestant Christian church leader’s daughter emerging into adulthood and independence. She labors to define her relationship with God, family, and friends and to determine the complicated, but pervasive role of faith in her life while coping with depression and anxiety; a brain aneurysm and malformation among other health problems; working in an all-male environment in the Houston Chronicle Sports department; the death of her grandparents; the death of a Muslim friend in a murder-suicide shooting; and her troubled relationship with an agnostic friend. Although she expresses her doubts in each scenario, she identifies purpose in the trials and accepts the challenges that accompany being the child of the priest. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc407765/
Alchemies
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283793/
The Girl Disappeared: the Prostitute of La Isla De Santa Flora
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The novella, The Girl Disappeared, focuses on the life of Emalia, a street kid from Mexico. She is taken from the streets of Veracruz and forced into a life of prostitution on the fictitious island of La Isla de Santa Flora. The primary conflict that drives the action of the story is her pending choice between escaping her life of slavery and saving another young woman who is on the verge of being forced into a life of prostitution as well. The novella, as a literary piece, dwells on the question of character agency and explores the multilayered nature of code switching. Language for these women becomes a tool in their struggle against their captives and a means of self-preservation, or sanctuary, as they use their growing bilingualism to foment a limited agency, to act in their own defense. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271917/
Homeward Bound: Short Stories
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271837/
Mr Secrets and Social Media: the Confession of Richard Rodriguez
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 throughout all my chapters upon a measure of irreconcilability between the private world of the Hispanic immigrant family and the public sphere that they are forced to inhabit because of his citizenship and education. This irreconcilability creates a drastic limiting of identity for the author that Rodriguez is forced to navigate which creates his desire for confession. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271788/
Specter
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 which represents what society has lost due to this death. This convention is contrasted against a common contemporary theme in which the speaker, in an attempt to evoke authenticity, portrays the deceased subject not as a romanticized symbol, but as a real human being. The final section discusses the definition of the traditional elegy as a reaction to the literal death of a loved one and contrasts this with the more fluid contemporary understanding of the elegy as a poem about loss—either a literal or metaphorical death—and a poem which need not display conventional aspects of mourning but rather a wide variety of responses to the problem of loss. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271896/
Warrior Women in Early Modern Literature
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Fantasies about warrior women circulated in many forms of writing in early modern England: travel narratives such as Sir Walter Ralegh's The Discoverie of Guiana (1595) portray Amazon encounters in the New World; poems like Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene (1596) depict women's skill with a spear; and the plays of Shakespeare, John Fletcher, and others stage the adventurous feats of women on the battlefield. In this dissertation, I analyze the social anxieties that emerge when warrior women threaten gender hierarchies in the patriarchal society of early modern England. The battlefield has traditionally been a site for men to prove their masculinity against other men, so when male characters find themselves submitting to a sword-wielding woman, they are forced to reimagine their own masculine identities as they become the objects acted upon by women. In their experience of subjectivity, these literary warrior women often allude to the historical Queen Elizabeth I, whose reign destabilized ideas about gender and power in the period. Negative evaluations of warrior women often indicate anxiety about Elizabeth as an Amazon-like queen. Thus, portrayals of warrior women often end with a celebration of patriarchal dominance once the male characters have successfully contained the threat of the warrior woman through marriage or death. I argue that these depictions of containment indicate a common desire to maintain patriarchal superiority during and after Elizabeth's reign. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271872/
Bodies and Other Firewood
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 vision and expressivity. In this collection of poetry poems are experiences chopped into consumable units that show and tell the constant negotiation between what is actually happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what is happening. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177180/
The Fifth Humor: Ink, Texts, and the Early Modern Body
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 in early modern poetry and drama requires consideration of the murky liquid from which these texts were composed. For early moderns, writing began with the precise, anatomical slicing of a goose feather, with the crushing of oak galls into wine or rainwater, with the application of heat and ferrous sulfate. These raw materials underwent a violent transformation to fill early modern inkwells. As a result of that mystical concoction, the fluid inside these vessels became humoral. The ink on a page represented one person's passions potentially invading the body of another. Therefore, ink serves as more than a metaphor for any particular humor. Pen and paper work as extensions of the body, and serve at turns as a mechanism of balance or imbalance. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177241/
The Invisible Dragon
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177182/
Antigravity
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149563/
Challenge the Silence
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This collection of personal essays about incest, abuse, and depression explores the lasting effects of an invisible childhood. The essays follow the protagonist from the age of five to her early twenties. Her brother, at a young age, becomes sexually abusive of her and her sisters, and her parents fail to protect their daughters. The family is divided as the older girls strive to defend their little sisters, while their parents attempt to excuse their son. When her brother is finally sent away, the protagonist is left to salvage what remains of her relationships with her parents. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283840/
The Hostess
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. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149674/
Irony, Humor, and Ontological Relationality in Literature
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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 (1598-99), Othello (1603-4), and The Winter's Tale (1609-11) so as to show how artistic positioning creatively constructs a relational system of dynamic interactions to circulate social ideals and values. In so doing, this dissertation is aimed at revealing the aesthetic values of literature and the objective scope of literary discourse rather than providing yet another analytical paradigm dependent primarily on a single literary subject. Thus, the ontological study is proposed as an alternative, yet primary, dimension of literary criticism and theoretical practice. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149621/
Practical Astronomy
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This dissertation is a collection of poems preceded by a critical preface. The preface considers Anthony’s Hecht’s long poem, “The Venetian Vespers,” and the ways in which the temporally unsettled situation of the poem’s speaker parallels a problem facing narrative-meditative poets. The preface is divided into two main sections that explore divisions of this larger conflict. The first discusses the origins and effects of the speaker’s uprootedness in time, and the ways in which he tries to both combat and embrace this dislocation by temporarily losing himself in the immediacy of observing visual art. In this section I connect the dilemma of the speaker, who wishes to escape his memory by focusing outwards, to the dilemma of a representational poet who, despite his position towards the past, must necessarily confront or recollect memories and emotions in order to create authentic descriptions or characters. The second section focuses on the production and appreciation of artistic works (both visual and literary) and how the meaning, production and appreciation of beauty are inseparable from its existence within the physical limits of time. Here I discuss the significance of Hecht’s character who is surrounded with beauty yet describes himself as a person who only observes and does not create anything. Through this character, I argue that Hecht reveals a fundamental conflict that exists between artistic creation and chronological time, and that his poem embodies a particular and paradoxical view of beauty that resonates deeply with the motivations and struggles of writing poems. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149687/
Set for Life: a Novel
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This collection of six chapters is an excerpt from a novel based on the book of Job, as told through the viewpoint of a contemporary woman from Texas. A preface exploring the act of starting over, fictionally and creatively, precedes the chapters. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149574/
The Useful Arts
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This creative nonfiction dissertation is a series of braided narratives that chronicle the author's career as a trombonist in the John Smith Ensemble. As an amateur trombonist, the author is shocked to be hired as a professional musician for an orchestra that plays on PBS and at Carnegie Hall. She quickly realizes, however, that the job requires her to play the trombone quietly in front of an unplugged microphone while a CD recording of another, more talented trombonist is blasted out toward an unknowing audience. The job also requires the author to tour around America. The scenes of from this tour are braided with scenes wherein she reflects on her life as a professional fake musician and her past failed attempts at getting a job. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc283812/
After the Planes
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, struggling to understand the rifts in her family and how they have shaped her own identity. She reads a book sent to her by her father, which turns out to be his story of growing up in the years following World War II. The book was intercepted and emended by her grandfather, who inserts his own commentary throughout, complicating her father’s hopes of reconciliation. The novel moves between two main narratives, one set primarily in 1951 and the other in the days and weeks immediately prior to September 11, 2001. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115051/
“Almost Astronauts”: Short Stories
In this collection of short stories, I abduct experiences from my own life and take them on an imaginative journey. I experiment with elements of structure and point of view, often incorporating the magical or surreal to amplify the narrator’s internal landscape. As demonstrated in the title story, “Almost Astronauts,” these stories all deal with a sudden and sometimes destructive shift in the narrator’s perspective. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115120/
Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Naturalist Playwright
This study explores Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s use of the dramatic form to challenge Herbert Spencer’s social Darwinism by offering feminist adaptations of Darwin’s theories of natural and sexual selection. As she does in her career-defining manifesto, Women & Economics (1898), Gilman in her lesser-known plays deploys her own brand of reform Darwinism to serve the feminist cause. Despite her absence in histories of modern drama, Gilman actively participated in the establishment and development of this literary, historical, and cultural movement. After situating Gilman in the context of nineteenth-century naturalist theater, this thesis examines two short dramatic dialogues she published in 1890, “The Quarrel,” and “Dame Nature Interviewed,” as well as two full-length plays, Interrupted (1909) and the Balsam Fir (1910). These plays demonstrate Gilman’s efforts to use the dramatic form in her early plays to “rehearse” for Women & Economics, and in her later drama, to “stage” the theories she presents in that book. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115172/
A New Literary Realism: Artistic Renderings of Ethnicity, Identity, and Sexuality in the Narratives of Philip Roth
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This dissertation explores Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories (1959), the Ghost Writer (1979), the Counterlife (1986), the Facts (1988), Operation Shylock (1993), Sabbath's Theater (1995),and the Human Stain (2000), arguing that Roth relishes the telling of the story and the search for self within that telling. with attention to narrative technique and its relation to issues surrounding reality and identity, Roth's narratives stress unreliability, causing Roth to create characters searching for a more complex interpretation of self. Chapter I examines Roth’s negotiation of dual identities as Neil Klugman in Goodbye, Columbus feels alienated and displaced from Christianized America. the search for identity and the merging of American Christianity and Judaism remain a focus in Chapter II, which explores the implications of how, in the Ghost Writer, a young Nathan Zuckerman visits his mentor E.I. Lonoff to find him living in what he believes to be a non-Jewish environment—the American wilderness. Chapter II also examines the difficulties of cultural assimilation in "Eli, the Fanatic," in which Eli must shed outward appearances of Judaism to fit into the mostly Protestant community of Woodenton. Relative to the negotiation of multiple identities, Chapter III considers Sabbath’s attempt, in Sabbath’s Theater, to reconcile his spiritual and physical self when seeking to avoid his inevitable death. Exploring a further dimension of the search for self, Chapter IV traces the legacy of stereotyped notions of identity, considering ways in which Roth subverts stereotypes in the Human Stain. the search for identity and its particular truths remains a focus of Chapter V, which explores Roth's creation of an unstable reality through the Counterlife, the Facts, Operation Shylock, and the Human Stain, suggesting that the literary imagination matters more than truth in fiction. in its attention to Roth's focus on identity, race, and narrative technique, this dissertation contributes to the evolution of criticism addressing the social significance of the major works of Philip Roth. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115092/
Road Debris
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This dissertation comprises two parts: Part I, which discusses the growing trend in project books in contemporary poetry, and Part II, a collection of poems titled, Road Debris. There is an increasing trend in the number of project books, which are collections of poetry unified in both thematic and formal ways. the individual poems in a project book share overt connections which allow the book to work on many different levels, blending elements of fiction and non-fiction or sharing a specific theme or speaker. While these books have the advantage of being easily memorable, which might gain poets an edge in book contests, there are also many risks involved. the main issue surrounding project books is if the individual poems can justify the book, or do they seem too repetitive or forced. As more poets, especially newer ones, try to use the project book as a shortcut to publication, it can result in poorly written poems forced to fit into a particular concept. By examining three successful cotemporary project books—The Quick of It, by Eamon Grennan; Incident Light, by H. L. Hix; and Romey’s Order by Astory Riley—this essay discusses how these books work in order to understand the potential of the project book. All of these books work in distinctly different ways, yet they all fall into the category of project book. While project books will inevitably result in poor imitations, it allows books of poetry to expand and explore in different directions. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115068/
Running a Family
This thesis contains two parts. the preface theorizes memory and examines the author’s own experience writing her identity. Part II is a memoir framed with the process of training for a marathon. the marathon acts as a narrative thread that pulls together scenes of memory from the author’s childhood which features the author running away from home on several occasions. Running a marathon and running away from home intertwine to allow the writer to draw conclusions about her life and her family. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115149/
Superior Mirth: National Humor and the Victorian Ego
This project traces the wide and varied uses of patriotic (and, at times, jingoistic and xenophobic) humor within the Victorian novel. a culture’s humor, perhaps more than any other cultural markers (food, dress, etc.), provides invaluable insight into that nation’s values and perceptions—not only how they view others, but also how they view themselves. in fact, humor provides such a unique cultural thumbprint as to make most jokes notoriously untranslatable. Victorian humor is certainly not a new topic of critical discussion; neither is English ethno-cultural identity during this era lacking scholarly attention. However, the intersection of these concerns has been seemingly ignored; thus, my research investigates the enmeshed relationship between these two areas of study. Not only do patriotic sentiment and humor frequently overlap, they often form a causational relationship wherein a writer’s rhetorical invocation of shared cultural experiences creates humorous self-awareness while “inside” jokes which reference unique Anglo-specific behaviors or collective memories promote a positive identity with the culture in question. Drawing on and extending the work of James Kincaid’s Dickens and the Rhetoric of Laughter, Harold Nicolson’s “The English Sense of Humor,” and Bergson’s and Freud’s theories of humor as a social construct, I question how this reciprocated relationship of English ethnic identity and humor functions within Victorian novels by examining the various ways in which nineteenth-century authors used humor to encourage affirmative patriotic sentiment within their readers. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115168/
“Valentine’s Day” and Other Works
The following collection includes three short stories and two essays compiled with a critical preface. “Valentine’s Day” explores the limits of friendship and love in various situations including, two road trips (one fictional and one factual), pet ownership, and the impersonations of Frank Sinatra. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115171/
“The Way It Goes”: Stories
This collection of short stories attempts to examine the role of a changing and often indifferent world has in the way various characters achieve maturity. Though the past is not always obvious in each story, each protagonist is characterized as holding onto some aspect of his or her past life in a way that is detrimental to their growing as human beings. the stories attempt to portray the indifference of the world as it moves forward to the plight of these characters, and to portray the manner in which they each come to terms with such a world and with their own lives. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115183/
My Whine, Your Wine
Grapes hold the flavors of the lands where they grow, and when you make wine from them, those flavors of the land come through. Tasting wine from a place you've been can bring you back to that place with aromas and notes indicative of that place. A bottle of wine changes every day, and how it will taste depends on the moment you choose to release it from the glass walls. I have a vested interest in wine, because it is a living thing. I am compelled to make wine because its characteristics are like personality traits. Although some of those characteristics are harsh at times, I appreciate them all. Each trait plays an important role in the balance, the overall personality. Like my own personality flaws, wine's harsh tones can smooth over time. My relationship with wine is constantly evolving, with every new varietal, vintage, batch and blend. Believe me, after some of the jobs I had before my first day at Su Vino, I cherish every moment of my winemaking career. My Whine, Your Wine is the story of how it all started. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115041/
Noctilucent
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This dissertation is composed of two parts. Part I discusses the evolution of meditative poetry as a genre, with a particular emphasis on the influence of women poets and feminist critical theory. Part II is a collection of poems. Although several popular and critically-acclaimed poets working today write meditative poems, meditative poetry as a genre has not been systematically examined since M.H. Abrams’s essay on the meditative mode in Romantic poetry, “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric.” Because one of the driving forces of meditative poetry is a longing for, or recognition of, a state of perception that lies between individual being and some form of universal ordering principle, meditative poetry might seem to be antithetical to a postmodern world that is fragmentary, contingent, and performative; indeed, earlier definitions of meditative poetry, tied to historical and cultural understandings of the individual and the Universal, no longer reflect “how we know” but only “how we knew.” However, this essay argues that there is a contemporary meditative structure that allows for a continued relationship between the individual and the Universal without resorting to the essentialism implicit in the genre as traditionally described. This new structure owes much to feminist theory, in particular écriture féminine, which models a method for recovery of self in language that would seek to efface it. In order to expose the boundaries of the contemporary meditative mode, and to outline its relationship to écriture féminine, this essay analyzes meditative poems from four contemporary poets: Kay Ryan, Jorie Graham, Linda Gregerson, and Linda Bierds, and contrasts contemporary variations on the genre with earlier traditions, identifying an evolved form that better reflects a postmodern rhetoric. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103295/
Relativity In Transylvania And Patusan: Finding The Roots Of Einstein’s Theories Of Relativity In Dracula And Lord Jim
This thesis investigates the similarities in the study of time and space in literature and science during the modern period. Specifically, it focuses on the portrayal of time and space within Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897) and Joseph Conrad’s Lord Jim (1899-1900), and compares the ideas presented with those later scientifically formulated by Albert Einstein in his special and general theories of relativity (1905-1915). Although both novels precede Einstein’s theories, they reveal advanced complex ideas of time and space very similar to those later argued by the iconic physicist. These ideas follow a linear progression including a sense of temporal dissonance, the search for a communal sense of the present, the awareness and expansion of the individual’s sense of the present, and the effect of mass on surrounding space. This approach enhances readings of Dracula and Lord Jim, illuminating the fascination with highly refined notions of time and space within modern European culture. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103399/
A Boy in a Canoe
The dissertation consists of a collection of personal essays about hunting and fishing. Because the essays are narratives and contain dialogue, characterization, description, themes, etc., they fall under the genre of creative nonfiction. The dissertation has two parts. Part I consists of an essay that discusses the author’s struggle to combine creative nonfiction with outdoor writing and also describes the author’s dilemma of writing about hunting, a topic that is often controversial at the university, while a graduate student. Part II of the dissertation consists of narratives that recount the author’s hunting and fishing experiences that occurred in North Texas and in the mountains of New Mexico. The essays discuss fishing for trout and hunting for deer, wild boars, quail, and duck. Three major themes are developed throughout the dissertation. The first theme describes the close relationship that exists between the author and his father. This closeness is partly due to the time that they have shared during decades of hunting and fishing together. The second theme discusses the ethics of hunting and especially focuses on which methods of hunting are ethical and which methods are not. The third theme explores the complex and sometimes unpleasant interactions that occur between sportsmen when they encounter each other while hunting and fishing. This theme explores the give and take attitude that must exist in order for sportsmen to get along. This attitude is necessary because no two outdoorsmen view the outdoors and hunting and fishing in quite the same way. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84264/
“Civilizations without Boats”: Stories
This collection consists of a critical preface and nine short stories. Extrapolating from the work and legacy of Michel Foucault, the preface theorizes a genre of “heterotopian fiction” as constitutive of a fundamentally ethical approach to narrative creativity, distinguishing its functional and methodological characteristics from works that privilege aesthetic, thematic, or technical artistry. The stories explore spaces of madness, alterity, incomprehensibility, and liminal experience. Collection includes the stories “Mexico,” “Civilizations without Boats,” The Widow’s Mother,” “Guys Like Us,” “Everything You’d Hoped It Would Be,” “A Concerned Friend,” “Crisis Hotline,” “Coast to Coast,” and “The Ghosts of Rich Men.” digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84222/
Re-Envisioning an Eighteenth-Century Artifact: A Postmodern Reading of Tristram Shandy
The interjection of a new and dynamically different reading of Lawrence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy is imperative, if scholars want to clearly see many of the hidden facets of the novel that have gone unexamined because of out-dated scholarship. Ian Watt’s assumption that Sterne “would probably have been the supreme figure among eighteenth-century novelists” (291) if he had not tried to be so odd, and the conclusion that he draws, that “Tristram Shandy is not so much a novel as a parody of a novel” (291), is incorrect. Throughout the thesis, I argue that Sterne was not burlesquing other novelists, but instead, was engaging with themes that are now being examined by postmodern theories of Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Jean François Lyotard: themes like the impenetrability of identity (“Don’t puzzle me” (TS 7.33.633)), the insufficiency of language (“Well might Locke write a chapter upon the imperfections of words” (5.6.429)), and the unavailability of permanence (“Time wastes too fast” (9.8.754)). I actively engage with their theories to deconstruct unexamined themes inside Tristram Shandy, and illuminate postmodern elements inside the novel. However, I do not argue that Tristram Shandy is postmodern. Instead, I argue that if the reader examines the novel outside of its usual context inside the eighteenth-century novel, there are themes that are apparent in the narrative which have gone unexamined because of the way it has been classified inside academia, and that postmodernist theory allows for these themes to be re-examined in the postmodern culture in which we now reside. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84181/
Reconsidering Regionalism: The Environmental Ethics of Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather
This study identifies environmentalist themes in the fiction and nonfiction of Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, and Willa Cather and argues that these ideals are interdependent upon the authors’ humanistic objectives. Focusing on these three authors’ overlapping interest in topics such as women’s rights, environmental health, and Native American history, this dissertation calls attention to the presence of a frequently unexplored but distinct, traceable feminist environmental ethic in American women’s regional writing. This set of beliefs involves a critique of the threats posed by a patriarchal society to both the environment and its human inhabitants, particularly the women, and thus can be classified as proto-ecofeminist. Moreover, the authors’ shared emphasis on the benefits of local environmental knowledge and stewardship demonstrates vital characteristics of the bioregionalist perspective, a modern form of environmental activism that promotes sustainability at a local level and mutually beneficial relationships among human and nonhuman inhabitants of a naturally defined region. Thus, the study ultimately defines a particular form of women’s literary activism that emerged in the last decades of the nineteenth century and argues for these authors’ continued theoretical relevance to a twenty-first-century audience increasingly invested in understanding and resolving a global environmental predicament. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84189/
Teleport
This collection consists of a critical preface exploring the similarities between serialized comic books, realist fiction and the author’s own writing. The principle discussion concerns continuity, the connecting tissue between ancillary works of fiction, chronology, the function of time in the narrative of related stories, and the function of characters beyond the stories they inhabit. The stories within the collection revolve around an eccentric ensemble of suburban youth whose demoralized and violent actions are heavily influenced by defining moments of their past. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84176/
Backflow: A Collection
This collection consists of a critical preface and nine essays. The preface analyzes, first, how the imagination influences the personal journey of a writer, and second, the techniques authors use, mainly form, time, and space, to enact the imagination and propel the reader into an imagined narrative. The essays explore themes of loss, mental illness, the rift between the “real” and the “imagined” life, and the intangibility of memory itself. Collection includes the essays “Into the Snow,” “No Longer a Part,” “Borderland,” “Still Wounds,” “What Stays in Las Vegas,” “Remnants,” “The Root,” “Your Father,” and “The Land Lord.” digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103346/
Dead Fox Run: A Collection of Stories
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This collection consists of a critical preface and five linked short stories. The preface analyzes the usage of violence in literate and other forms of media, and specifically the ways in which literature can address violence without aggrandizing or stylizing it. The stories explore this idea through the lens of the lives of two young men, following them from boyhood marked by violence to adulthood crushed by the trauma of the American Civil War. Collection includes the stories "Dead Foxes," "Cow Pen," "Fatherless," "Woodsmoke," and "Brotherhood." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68046/
Generosity and Gentillesse: Economic Exchange in Medieval English Romance
This study explores how three English romances of the late fourteenth century-Geoffrey Chaucer's Franklin's Tale, Thomas Chestre's Sir Launfal, and the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight-employ economic exchange as a tool to illustrate community ideals. Although gift-giving and commerce are common motifs in medieval romance, these three romances depict acts of generosity and exchange that demonstrate fundamental principles of proper behavior by uniting characters in the poems in spite of social divisions such as gender or social class. Economic imagery in fourteenth-century romances merits particular consideration because of Richard II's prolific expenditure, which created such turbulence that the peasants revolted in 1381. The court's openhanded spending led to social unrest, but in romances a character's largesse strengthens community bonds by showing that all members of a group participate in an idealized gift economy. Positioned within the context of economic tensions, exchange in romances can lead readers to reexamine notions of group identity. Chestre's Sir Launfal unites its community under secular principles of economic exchange and evaluation. Using similar motifs of exchange, the Gawain-poet makes Christian and chivalric ideals apparent through Gawain's service and generosity to all those who follow the Christian faith. Further, Chaucer's Franklin's Tale portrays hospitality as a tool to create pleasure, the ultimate goal of service. Although they present different types of group identity, these romances specify that generosity and commerce can illustrate the ideals of a poem's community and demonstrate to the audience model forms of behavior. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68047/
The Lexicographer's Daughter: A Memoir
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This creative nonfiction dissertation is a memoir of the author's search for the somewhat mysterious hidden past of her father, the lexicographer Charles J. Lovell, who died in 1960, when the author was nine. Her father's early death left the author with many unanswered questions about his past and his family and so she undertakes a search to answer, if possible, some of those questions. Her search takes her to Portland, Maine; New Bedford, Massachusetts; and Pasadena, California, where she tries to discover the facts and uncover the forces that shaped her father's life. Along the way, she realizes how profoundly his death affected and shaped her own life, contributing to the theme of loss that pervades the memoir. In addition, she begins to realize how much her mother, Dixie Hefley Lovell, whose significance she previously overlooked, shaped her life. Ultimately, she comes to understand and accept that some of her questions are unanswerable. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68004/
The Mind's Eye and Other Stories
This collection contains a preface entitled "Of Other Worlds" and the following short stories: "The Mind's Eye," "Waking," "The Conquest of the World," "Persephone," and "Extradition." This creative thesis includes a blend of science fiction and literary realism short stories, which are collectively concerned with questions of time, narration, and the use of language. As well, the preface discusses science fiction theory, narrative strategies such as the use of the first person perspective, and the author's theory of composition. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67999/
Miscegenated Narration: The Effects of Interracialism in Women's Popular Sentimental Romances from the Civil War Years
Critical work on popular American women's fiction still has not reckoned adequately with the themes of interracialism present in these novels and with interracialism's bearing on the sentimental. This thesis considers an often overlooked body of women's popular sentimental fiction, published from 1860-1865, which is interested in themes of interracial romance or reproduction, in order to provide a fuller picture of the impact that the intersection of interracialism and sentimentalism has had on American identity. By examining the literary strategy of "miscegenated narration," or the heteroglossic cacophony of narrative voices and ideological viewpoints that interracialism produces in a narrative, I argue that the hegemonic ideologies of the sentimental romance are both "deterritorialized" and "reterritorialized," a conflicted impulse that characterizes both nineteenth-century sentimental, interracial romances and the broader project of critiquing the dominant national narrative that these novels undertake. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67958/
School Governance and Student Achievement: Revealing Factors Beyond the McCarty-Ramsey Model
The purpose of this study was to identify and investigate the specific superintendent leadership type and underlying factors that support significant student achievement gains in communities where misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model exists. Utilizing a mixedmethod research strategy, contributing school districts were identified through a survey developed by McCarty and Ramsey. This survey indicated that districts could show positive student achievement gains while exhibiting misalignment among these factors. While all four types of superintendent leadership style were revealed in the survey, a prevalent superintendent leadership types was associated with the misaligned districts showing significant academic growth. This study indicated the professional advisor or the professional advisor/decision maker superintendent had the greatest achievement results in misaligned districts. The second investigation phase involved school districts that met two criteria: misalignment with the McCarty-Ramsey model, and three years of significant student achievement gains, as measured by the California Academic Performance Indicator. Interviews were conducted with identified school board presidents and superintendents to reveal practices or initiatives promoting these results. The interview protocol consisted of a series of open-ended questions regarding effective leadership and programs. The second finding revealed the effective superintendent focuses efforts on five specific district leadership actions identified by researchers such as Waters and Marzano. More specifically, this study revealed two practices were present in top performing school districts. First, a narrow focus on non-negotiable instructional practices across the district, and frequent monitoring by the superintendent, site and district leadership teams including follow - up debriefings regarding implementation of district expectations. These findings have significance in districts dealing with challenges among the community power structures, board types or superintendent leadership. This research shows that regardless of the political challenges, budgetary issues, or relationship chaos that might exist in the district and community, the professional advisor superintendent who has established clear district wide instructional expectations and, who consistently ―inspects the instructional program has a significant, positive impact on student achievement. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67996/
Unmaking Progress: Individual and Social Teleology in Victorian Children's Fiction
This study contrasts four distinct discursive responses to (or even accidental remarks on) the Victorian concept of individual and/or social improvement, or progress, set forth by the preeminent social critics, writers, scientists, and historians of the nineteenth century, such as Thomas Carlyle, John Stuart Mill, Thomas Macaulay Matthew Arnold, Charles Darwin, and Herbert Spencer. This teleological ideal, perhaps the most prevalent ideology of the long nineteenth century, originates with the Protestant Christian ethic during and in the years following the Reformation, whereupon it combines with the Enlightenment notions of rational humanity's boundless potential and Romanticism's fierce individualism to create the Victorian doctrine of progress. My contention remains throughout that four nineteenth-century writers for children and adults subvert the doctrine of individual progress (which contributes to the progress of the race) by chipping away at its metaphysical and narratalogical roots. George MacDonald allows progress only on the condition of total selflessness, including the complete dissolution of one's free will, but defers the hallmarks of making progress indefinitely, due to his apocalyptic Christian vision. Lewis Carroll ridicules the notion of progress by playing with our conceptions of linear time and simple causality, implying as he writes that perhaps there is nothing to progress toward, no actual telos on which to fix our sights. Oscar Wilde characterizes moral development as nothing short of self-inflicted cruelty, consigning his most scrupulously moral-minded characters to social subversion or untimely death (the dark reflection of MacDonald's compulsory selflessness). And finally, Rudyard Kipling toys with historical substitutes for conventional progress, such as repetitive cycles, deviating from historical unidirectionality and linear development. He often realigns his characters with their intractable fates at the conclusions of his narratives, echoing Carroll's suggestion that perhaps our goals are delusional. I conclude that while each individual author fails to holistically undermine the doctrine of progress, taken collectively, these four fantasists represent a heretofore unexamined repudiation of the Victorian era's most enduring metaphysical conceits. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67995/
Fashioning the Domestic Ideology: Women and the Language of Fashion in the Works of Elizabeth Stoddard, Louisa May Alcott, and Elizabeth Keckley
Women authors in mid to late nineteenth century American society were unafraid to shed the old domestic ideology and set new examples for women outside of racial and gender spheres. This essay focuses on the ways in which Elizabeth Stoddard's The Morgesons, Louisa May Alcott's Behind a Mask, and Elizabeth Keckley's Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House represent the function of fashion and attire in literature. Each author encourages readers to examine dress in a way that defies the typical domestic ideology of nineteenth century America. I want my readers to understand the role of fashion in literature as I progress through each work and ultimately show how each female author and protagonist set a new example for womanhood through their fashion choices. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33208/
Henderson Street Bazaar and Other Stories
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The preface, "Against Buses: Charles Baxter and the Contemporary Epiphany" deals with the epiphany as a potential ending to short stories. Baxter holds that epiphanies are trite and without purpose in today's fiction. I argue that Baxter's view, while not without merit, is limiting. Beginning with James Joyce and Katherine Anne Porter and moving to my own work, I discuss how some epiphanies, particularly false ones, can enhance rather than detract from excellent fiction. Five short stories make up the remainder of this thesis: "Dedication," "Taking it with You," "Transition to Flowers," "Profile in Courage," and "Henderson Street Bazaar." digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33222/
A Chorus of Trees
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This two-part thesis includes a critical preface and a collection of my poems. Using three poems-Louise Glück's "Lullaby," Bob Hicok's "Poem for My Mother's Hysterectomy," and Nick Flynn's "Memento Mori"-the critical preface examines how, in poetry, the transformation of a body negotiates trauma and triggers a conceptual shift, the creation and revision of identity, and the release of the duende's inspirational force. The collection of poetry that follows seeks to transfigure the body as a way to explore the nuanced traumas of human experience. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30485/
Literature in the Age of Science: Technology and Scientists in the Mid-Twentieth Century Works of Isaac Asimov, John Barth, Arthur C. Clarke, Thomas Pynchon, and Kurt Vonnegut
This study explores the depictions of technology and scientists in the literature of five writers during the 1960s. Scientists and technology associated with nuclear, computer, and space science are examined, focusing on their respective treatments by the following writers: John Barth, Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynchon, Isaac Asimov, and Arthur C. Clarke. Despite the close connections between the abovementioned sciences, space science is largely spared from negative critiques during the sixties. Through an analysis of Barth's Giles Goat-boy, Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle, Pynchon's The Crying of Lot 49, Asimov's short stories "Key Item," "The Last Question," "The Machine That Won the War," "My Son, the Physicist," and Clarke's 2001: A Space Odyssey, it is argued that altruistic goals of space science during the 1960s protect it from the satirical treatments that surround the other sciences. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30511/
"Among Waitresses": Stories and Essays
The following collection represents the critical and creative work produced during my doctoral program in English. The dissertation consists of Part I, a critical preface, and Part II, a collection of seven short stories and two nonfiction essays. Part I, which contains the critical preface entitled "What to Say and How to Say It," examines the role of voice in discussions of contemporary literature. The critical preface presents a definition of voice and identifies examples of voice-driven writing in contemporary literature, particularly from the work of Mary Robison, Dorothy Allison, and Kathy Acker. In addition, the critical preface also discusses how the use of flavor, tone, and content contribute to voice, both in work of famous authors and in my own writing. In Part II of my dissertation, I present the creative portion of my work. Part II contains seven works of short fiction, titled "Among Waitresses," "The Lion Tamer," "Restoration Services," "Hospitality," "Blood Relation," "Managerial Timber," and "Velma A Cappella." Each work develops a voice-driven narrative through the use of flavor, tone, and content. Also, two nonfiction essays, titled "Fentanyl and Happy Meals" and "Tracks," close out the collection. "Fentanyl and Happy Meals" describes the impact of methamphetamine addiction on family relationships, while "Tracks" focuses on the degradation of the natural world by human waste and other forms of pollution. In total, this collection demonstrates my approach to both scholarly and creative writing, and I am grateful for the University of North Texas for the opportunity to develop academically and achieve my goals. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28429/
Can These Bones Live? A Collection of Stories
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The collection concerns itself with race, gender, masculinity, marginalization, the act of violence as a means of self expression, identity and the performance of identity, love, and loss. The collection also uses historical events-more specifically, events that are central to black culture in Northeast, Ohio- to situate the characters and witness their response to these historical events. I strive to illustrate blackness as both political and fragmented with the characters in my collection. My characters believe that what they are doing-exacting violence, abusing women, disrespecting each other- is somehow the normative; that somehow what it is that they have learned is how they should perform black identity. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28431/
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