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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Department: Department of English
 Degree Level: Doctoral
The Rhetoric of Posthumanism in Four Twentieth-Century International Novels

The Rhetoric of Posthumanism in Four Twentieth-Century International Novels

Date: August 1998
Creator: Lin, Lidan
Description: The dissertation traces the trope of the incomplete character in four twentieth-century cosmopolitan novels that reflect European colonialism in a global context. I argue that, by creating characters sharply aware of the insufficiency of the Self and thus constantly seeking the constitutive participation of the Other, the four authors E. M. Forster, Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, and Congwen Shen all dramatize the incomplete character as an agent of postcolonial resistance to Western humanism that, tending to enforce the divide between the Self and the Other, provided the epistemological basis for the emergence of European colonialism. For example, Fielding's good-willed aspiration to forge cross-cultural friendship in A Passage to India; Murphy's dogged search for recognition of his Irish identity in Murphy; Susan's unfailing compassion to restore Friday's lost speech in Foe; and Changshun Teng, the Chinese orange-grower's warm-hearted generosity toward his customers in Long River--all these textual occasions dramatize the incomplete character's anxiety over the Other's rejection that will impair the fullness of his or her being, rendering it solitary and empty. I relate this anxiety to the theory of "posthumanism" advanced by such thinkers as Marx, Bakhtin, Sartre, and Lacan; in their texts the humanist view of the individual ...
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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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Warrior Women in Early Modern Literature

Warrior Women in Early Modern Literature

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Date: May 2013
Creator: Oxendine, Jessica Grace
Description: 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 ...
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Working Whiteness: Performing And Transgressing Cultural Identity Through Work

Working Whiteness: Performing And Transgressing Cultural Identity Through Work

Date: May 2002
Creator: Polizzi, Allessandria
Description: Early in Richard Wright's Native Son, we see Bigger and his friend Gus “playing white.” Taking on the role of “J. P. Morgan,” the two young black men give orders and act powerful, thus performing their perceived role of whiteness. This scene is more than an ironic comment on the characters' distance from the lifestyle of the J. P. Morgans of the world; their acts of whiteness are a representation of how whiteness is constructed. Such an analysis is similar to my own focus in this dissertation. I argue that whiteness is a culturally constructed identity and that work serves as a performative space for defining and transgressing whiteness. To this end, I examine work and its influence on the performance of middle class and working class whiteness, as well as how those outside the definitions of whiteness attempt to “play white,” as Bigger does. Work enables me to explore the codes of whiteness and how they are performed, understood, and transgressed by providing a locus of cultural performance. Furthermore, by looking at novels written in the early twentieth century, I am able to analyze characters at a historical moment in which work was of great import. With the labor ...
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Metaphors, Myths, and Archetypes: Equal Paradigmatic Functions in Human Cognition?

Metaphors, Myths, and Archetypes: Equal Paradigmatic Functions in Human Cognition?

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Date: December 2002
Creator: Kalpakidis, Charalabos
Description: The overview of contributions to metaphor theory in Chapters 1 and 2, examined in reference to recent scholarship, suggests that the current theory of metaphor derives from long-standing traditions that regard metaphor as a crucial process of cognition. This overview calls to attention the necessity of a closer inspection of previous theories of metaphor. Chapter 3 takes initial steps in synthesizing views of domains of inquiry into cognitive processes of the human mind. It draws from cognitive models developed in linguistics and anthropology, taking into account hypotheses put forth by psychologists like Jung. It sets the stage for an analysis that intends to further understanding of how the East-West dichotomy guides, influences, and expresses cognitive processes. Although linguist George Lakoff denies the existence of a connection between metaphors, myths, and archetypes, Chapter 3 illustrates the possibility of a relationship among these phenomena. By synthesizing theoretical approaches, Chapter 3 initiates the development of a model suitable for the analysis of the East-West dichotomy as exercised in Chapter 4. As purely emergent from bodily experience, however, neither the concept of the East nor the concept of the West can be understood completely. There exist cultural experiences that may, depending on historical and ...
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Robert Penn Warren's Archetypal Triptych: A Study of the Myths of the Garden, the Journey, and Rebirth in The Cave, Wilderness, and Flood

Robert Penn Warren's Archetypal Triptych: A Study of the Myths of the Garden, the Journey, and Rebirth in The Cave, Wilderness, and Flood

Date: December 1971
Creator: Phillips, Billie Ray Sudberry, 1937-
Description: Robert Penn Warren, historian, short story writer, teacher, critic, poet, and novelist, has received favorable attention from literary critics as well as the general reading public. This attention is merited, in part, by Warren's narrative skill and by his use of imagery. A study of his novels reveals that his narrative technique and his imagery are closely related to his interest in myth.
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The Evolution of Yeats's Dance Imagery: The Body, Gender, and Nationalism

The Evolution of Yeats's Dance Imagery: The Body, Gender, and Nationalism

Date: August 2003
Creator: Lee, Deng-Huei
Description: Tracing the development of his dance imagery, this dissertation argues that Yeats's collaborations with various early modern dancers influenced his conceptions of the body, gender, and Irish nationalism. The critical tendency to read Yeats's dance emblems in light of symbolist-decadent portrayals of Salome has led to exaggerated charges of misogyny, and to neglect of these emblems' relationship to the poet's nationalism. Drawing on body criticism, dance theory, and postcolonialism, this project rereads the politics that underpin Yeats's idea of the dance, calling attention to its evolution and to the heterogeneity of its manifestations in both written texts and dramatic performances. While the dancer of Yeats's texts follow the dictates of male-authored scripts, those in actual performances of his works acquired more agency by shaping choreography. In addition to working directly with Michio Ito and Ninette de Valois, Yeats indirectly collaborated with such trailblazers of early modern dance as Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, and Ruth St. Denis. These collaborations shed important light on the germination of early modern dance and on current trends in the performative arts. Registering anti-imperialist and anti-industrialist agendas, the early Yeats's dancing Sidhe personify a romantic nationalism that seeks to inspire resistance to the cultural ...
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The Lexicographer's Daughter: A Memoir

The Lexicographer's Daughter: A Memoir

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Date: May 2011
Creator: Lovell, Bonnie Alice
Description: 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.
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Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

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

Jinxed

Date: August 2003
Creator: Davis, Richard
Description: My dissertation, Jinxed, developed out of my interest in the movement between the comic and the tragic by tracing the evolution of a romantic relationship. While employing biblical, classical, literary, and pop-cultural traditions, my manuscript has its most clear affinities with Renaissance poetry that navigates between the erotic and the spiritual. The sequence of poems recreates the character of Petrarch's Laura in the Little Redhead Girl, Charlie Brown's first love. My Laura, however, is a feisty secular Irish woman who simultaneously frustrates and attracts a religious narrator. To explore the multifaceted nature of their love, I employ a variety of poetic techniques, such as the repetition inherent in the villanelle to express the powerlessness of the narrator as he begins to fall in love. In "To a Young Philosopher," a sestina, one of the repeated words ("ephemeral") triggers a philosophical discussion that is a proposal of marriage. The manuscript also uses other forms such as the sonnet, Spenserian stanza, terza rima, couplets, and blank verse. Narratively, it ends with Charlie Brown after he has missed kicking Lucy's football, falling to earth literally and symbolically. Poems in the manuscript have appeared in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, Talking River ...
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Change of Condition: Women's Rhetorical Strategies on Marriage, 1710-1756

Change of Condition: Women's Rhetorical Strategies on Marriage, 1710-1756

Date: December 2005
Creator: Wood, Laura Thomason
Description: This dissertation examines ways in which women constructed and criticized matrimony both before and after their own marriages. Social historians have argued for the rise of companionacy in the eighteenth century without paying attention to women's accounts of the fears and uncertainties surrounding the prospect of marriage. I argue that having more latitude to choose a husband did not diminish the enormous impact that the choice would have on the rest of a woman's life; if anything, choice might increase that impact. Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Hester Mulso Chapone, Mary Delany, and Eliza Haywood recorded their anxieties about and their criticisms of marriage in public and private writings from the early years of the century into the 1750s. They often elide their own complex backgrounds in favor of generalized policy statements on what constitutes a good marriage. These women promote an ideal of marriage based on respect and similarity of character, suggesting that friendship is more honest, and durable than romantic love. This definition of ideal marriage enables these women to argue for more egalitarian marital relationships without overtly calling for a change in the wife's traditional role. The advancement of this ideal of companionacy gave women a means of ...
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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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Radius

Radius

Date: May 2003
Creator: Roelke, Jean Marie
Description: This paper includes a 62-page book of original poems, 19 pages of which are visual poetry, and a 29-page preface which discusses visual poetry.
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What Do You Do? A Memoir in Essays

What Do You Do? A Memoir in Essays

Date: August 2008
Creator: Keckler, Kristen A.
Description: These personal essays present a twenty-something's evolving attitudes toward her occupations. Each essay explores a different job-from birthday party clown, to seitan-maker, to psychiatric den mother-while circling around sub-themes of addiction, disability, sex, love, nature, and nourishment (both food and otherwise). Through landscape, extended metaphor and symbol, and recurring characters, the collection addresses how a person's work often defines how she sees the world. Each of the narrator's jobs thrusts her into networks of people and places that both helps and impedes the process of self-discovery. As a whole, the essay collection functions as a memoir, tracking an often-universal journey, one that many undertake in order to discover a meaningful life, and sometimes, eventually, a career.
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Absalom, Absalom! A Study of Structure

Absalom, Absalom! A Study of Structure

Date: August 1973
Creator: Major, Sylvia Beth Bigby
Description: The conclusion drawn from this study is that the arrangement of material in Absalom, Absalom! is unified and purposeful. The structure evokes that despair that is the common denominator of mankind. It reveals both the bond between men and the separation of men; and though some of the most dramatic episodes in the novel picture the union of men in brotherly love, most of the material and certainly the arrangement of the material emphasize the estrangement of men. In addition, by juxtaposing chapters, each separated from the others by its own structural and thematic qualities, Faulkner places a burden of interpretation on the reader suggestive of the burden of despair that overwhelms the protagonists of the novel.
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Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell

Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell

Date: May 2008
Creator: Smith, Victoria
Description: Libertines Real and Fictional in Rochester, Shadwell, Wycherley, and Boswell examines the Restoration and eighteenth-century libertine figure as it appears in John Wilmot, Second Earl of Rochester's Satyr against Mankind, "The Maim'd Debauchee," and "Upon His Drinking a Bowl," Thomas Shadwell's The Libertine, William Wycherley's The Country Wife, and James Boswell's London Journal, 1762-1763. I argue that the limitations and self-contradictions of standard definitions of libertinism and the ways in which libertine protagonists and libertinism in general function as critiques of libertinism. Moreover, libertine protagonists and poetic personae reinterpret libertinism to accommodate their personal agendas and in doing so, satirize the idea of libertinism itself and identify the problematization of "libertinism" as a category of gender and social identity. That is, these libertines misinterpret-often deliberately-Hobbes to justify their opposition and refusal to obey social institutions-e.g., eventually marrying and engaging in a monogamous relationship with one's wife-as well as their endorsement of obedience to nature or sense, which can include embracing a libertine lifestyle in which one engages in sexual encounters with multiple partners, refuses marriage, and questions the existence of God or at least distrusts any sort of organized religion. Since any attempts to define the word "libertinism"-or at least ...
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Anything Like Us

Anything Like Us

Date: August 2002
Creator: Roth, Matthew
Description: Anything Like Us is a collection of poems with a critical introduction. In this introduction, I explore modern alternatives to Romantic and Neo-Romantic lyric expression. I conclude that a contemporary lyric that desires to be, in some fashion, about itself, must exhibit an acceptance of the mediating influences of time and language, while cultivating an inter-subjective point-of-view that does not insist too much on the authority of a single, coherent voice. The poems in Anything Like Us reflect, in both form and content, many of the conclusions advanced in the introduction. Nearly all the poems concern the desire for, and failure to find, meaningful connections in an uncertain world .
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The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne

The Opened Letter: Rereading Hawthorne

Date: December 1998
Creator: Smith, Grace Elizabeth
Description: The recent publication of the bulk of Hawthorne's letters has precipitated this study, which deals with Hawthorne's creative and subversive narration and his synchronic appeal to a variety of readers possessing different tastes. The author initially investigates Hawthorne's religion and demonstrate how he disguised his personal religious convictions, ambiguously using the intellectual categories of Calvinism, Unitarianism, and spiritualism to promote his own humanistic "religion." Hawthorne's appropriation of the jeremiad further illustrates his emphasis on religion and narration. Although his religion remained humanistic, he readily used the old Puritan political sermon to describe and defend his own financial hardships. That jeremiad outlook has significant implications for his art.
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The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

Date: August 1998
Creator: Kim, Bong-Gwang
Description: This study addresses the ideological properties of the two main modal strains in fictional representation of romance and realism in order to provide an antidote to the currently extremely negative view of the representational function of fiction. In the course of the discussion, three received positions in traditional literary criticism are challenged. Firstly, the view of literary form as ideology-free is undermined by demonstrating the ideological properties of the two modes. Secondly, the realism/romance binary opposition regarding the mode of fictional representation is critiqued by both uncovering the misconception of the former's competence for transparent representation and evincing the two modes' ideologically interactive relation. Lastly, the categorization of Henry James as an aesthete is problematized by historicizing and socializing his three texts.
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The Gender of Time in the Eighteenth-century English Novel

The Gender of Time in the Eighteenth-century English Novel

Date: December 1998
Creator: Leissner, Debra Holt
Description: This study takes a structuralist approach to the development of the novel, arguing that eighteenth-century writers build progressive narrative by rendering abstract, then conflating, literary theories of gendered time that originate in the Renaissance with seventeenth-century scientific theories of motion. I argue that writers from the Renaissance through the eighteenth century generate and regulate progress-as-product in their narratives through gendered constructions of time that corresponded to the generation and regulation of economic, political, and social progress brought about by developing capitalism.
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The Naturalist

The Naturalist

Date: August 2004
Creator: Harvell, Elizabeth A.
Description: The Naturalist is a collection of poems with a critical preface. In this preface, titled "'Death is the mother of beauty': The Contemporary Elegy and the Search for the Dead," I examine contemporary alterations and manifestations of the traditional genre of elegy. I explore the idea that the contemporary mourner is aware of the need to search for meaning despite living in a world without a centrally believed mythology. This search exposes the mourner's need to remain connected to the dead and, by proxy, to grace. I conclude that the contemporary elegy, through metaphorical figuration, personal memory, and traditional symbolism, simultaneously employs and denies the traditional elegiac conventions of apotheosis and resurrection by reconceiving them as methods not of achieving transcendence but of embracing desire with an acceptance of the inability to transcend. The poems of The Naturalist are a collection of elegies that reflect many of the ideas brought forth in the preface.
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"Distance" and Other Stories

"Distance" and Other Stories

Date: August 2004
Creator: Drummond-Mathews, Angela
Description: "Distance" and Other Stories is a collection of four short stories and a novella that explore the themes of isolation and personal revelation. The dissertation opens with a preface which describes my background as a writer and the forces that shape my work, including science fiction, technology and the internet, cultural marginalization, and Joseph Campbell's hero's motif.
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Wandering Women: Sexual and Social Stigma in the Mid-Victorian Novel

Wandering Women: Sexual and Social Stigma in the Mid-Victorian Novel

Date: August 2000
Creator: Jackson, Lisa Hartsell
Description: The changing role of women was arguably the most fundamental area of concern and crisis in the Victorian era. Recent scholarship has done much to illuminate the evolving role of women, particularly in regard to the development of the New Woman. I propose that there is an intermediary character type that exists between Coventry Patmore's "angel of the house" and the New Woman of the fin de siecle. I call this character the Wandering Woman. This new archetypal character adheres to the following list of characteristics: she is a literal or figurative orphan, is genteelly poor or of the working class, is pursued by a rogue who offers financial security in return for sexual favors; this sexual liaison, unsanctified by marriage, causes her to be stigmatized in the eyes of society; and her stigmatization results in expulsion from society and enforced wandering through a literal or figurative wilderness. There are three variations of this archetype: the child-woman as represented by the titular heroine of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre and Little Nell of Charles Dickens' The Old Curiosity Shop; the sexual deviant as represented by Miss Wade of Dickens' Little Dorrit; and the fallen woman as represented by the titular heroine ...
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Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains

Jezebel's Daughters: A Study of Wilkie Collins and His Female Villains

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Date: August 2000
Creator: Colvin, Trey Vincent
Description: The term "feminist," when applied to Wilkie Collins, implies he was concerned with rectifying the oppression of women in domestic life as well as with promoting equal rights between the sexes. This study explores Collins the "feminist" by analyzing his portrayals of women, particularly his most powerful feminine creations: his villainesses. Although this focus is somewhat limited, it allows for a detailed analysis of the development of Collins's attitudes towards powerful women from the beginning to the end of his career. It examines the relationship between Collins's developing moral attitudes and social beliefs, on the one hand, and the ideas of Victorian feminists such as Josephine Butler and feminist sympathizers such as John Stuart Mill, on the other. This interaction, while never overt, reveals the ambivalence and complexity of Collins's "feminist" attitudes. Of the five novels in this study, Antonina (1850), Basil (1852), Armadale (1866), Jezebel's Daughter (1880), and The Legacy of Cain (1889), only one was published at the zenith of Collins's career in the 1860s. Each of the villainesses in these novels, their ideas and experiences, are crucial to understanding Collins's "feminist" impulses. Looking at them as powerful women who detest domestic oppression, one becomes aware that Collins ...
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