UNT Theses and Dissertations - 57 Matching Results

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The Aesthetics of Sin: Beauty and Depravity in Early Modern English Literature

Description: This dissertation argues that early modern writers such as William Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, George Herbert, John Milton, and Andrew Marvell played a critical role in the transition from the Neoplatonic philosophy of beauty to Enlightenment aesthetics. I demonstrate how the Protestant Reformation, with its special emphasis on the depravity of human nature, prompted writers to critique models of aesthetic judgment and experience that depended on high faith in human goodness and rationality. These writers in turn used their literary works to popularize skepticism about the human mind's ability to perceive and appreciate beauty accurately. In doing so, early modern writers helped create an intellectual culture in which aesthetics would emerge as a distinct branch of philosophy.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Jeffrey, Anthony Cole
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition

Description: The dissertation argues that the development of the British abolition movement was based on the abolitionists' perception that their actions were kairotic; they attempted to shape their own kairos by taking temporal events and reinterpreting them to construct a kairotic process that led to a perceived fulfillment: abolition. Thus, the dissertation examines the rhetorical strategies used by white abolitionists to construct an abolitionist kairos that was designed to produce salvation for white Britons more than it was to help free blacks. The dissertation especially examines the three major texts produced by black persons living in England during the late eighteenth centuryIgnatius Sancho's Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho (1782), Ottobauh Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery (1787), and Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789)to illustrate how black rhetoric was appropriated by whites to fulfill their own kairotic desires. By examining the rhetorical strategies employed in both white and black rhetorics, the dissertation illustrates how the abolitionists thought the movement was shaped by, and how they were shaping the movement through, kairotic time. While the dissertation contends that the abolition movement was rhetorically designed to provide redemption, and thus salvation, it illustrates that the abolitionist's intent was not merely to save the slave, but to redeem blacks first in the eyes of white Christians by opening blacks to an understanding and acceptance of God. Perhaps more importantly, abolitionists would use black salvation to buy back their own souls and the soul of their nation in the eyes of God in order to regain their own salvation lost in the slave trade. But ironically, they had to appear to be saving others to save themselves. So white abolitionists used the black narratives to persuade their overwhelmingly white audience ...
Date: December 1999
Creator: Evans, Dennis F.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Animals-as-Trope in the Selected Fiction of Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison

Description: In this dissertation, I show how 20th century African-American women writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison utilize animals-as-trope in order to illustrate the writers' humanity and literary vision. In the texts that I have selected, I have found that animals-as-trope functions in two important ways: the first function of animal as trope is a pragmatic one, which serves to express the humanity of African Americans; and the second function of animal tropes in African-American women's fiction is relational and expresses these writers' "ethic of caring" that stems from their folk and womanist world view. Found primarily in slave narratives and in domestic fiction of the 19th and early 20th centuries, pragmatic animal metaphors and/or similes provide direct analogies between the treatment of African-Americans and animals. Here, these writers often engage in rhetoric that challenges pro-slavery apologists, who attempted to disprove the humanity of African-Americans by portraying them as animals fit to be enslaved. Animals, therefore, become the metaphor of both the abolitionist and the slavery apologist for all that is not human. The second function of animals-as-trope in the fiction of African-American women writers goes beyond the pragmatic goal of proving African-Americans's common humanity, even though one could argue that this goal is still present in contemporary African-American fiction. Animals-as-trope also functions to express the African-American woman writer's understanding that 1) all oppressions stem from the same source; 2) that the division between nature/culture is a false onethat a universal connection exists between all living creatures; and 3) that an ethic of caring, or relational epistemology, can be extended to include non-human animals. Twentieth-century African-American writers such as Hurston, Walker, and Morrison participate in what anthropologists term, "neototemism," which is the contemporary view that humankind is part of nature, or a vision that Morrison would ...
Date: August 1999
Creator: Erickson, Stacy M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Anne Brontë's New Women: Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall as Precursors of New Woman Fiction

Description: Anne Brontë's Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall were published more than forty years before the appearance of the feminist type that the Victorians called the “New Woman;” yet, both novels contain characteristics of New Woman fiction. By considering how Brontë's novels foreshadow New Woman fiction, the reader of these novels can re-enact the “gentlest” Brontë as an influential feminist whose ideology informed the construction of the radical New Woman. Brontë, like the New Woman writers, incorporated autobiographical dilemmas into her fiction. By using her own experiences as a governess, Brontë constructs Agnes Grey's incongruent social status and a morally corrupt gentry and aristocracy through her depiction of not only Agnes's second employers, the Murrays, but also the morally debauched world that Helen enters upon her marriage to Arthur Huntingdon in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Moreover, Brontë incorporates her observations of Branwell's alcoholism and her own religious beliefs into The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Although Brontë's novels contain autobiographical material, her heroines are fictional constructions that she uses to engage her readers with the woman question. Brontë accomplishes this engagement through her heroines' narrative re-enactments of fictional autobiographical dilemmas. Helen's diary and Agnes's diary-based narrative produce the pattern of development of the Bildungsroman and foreshadow the New Woman novelists' Kunstlerromans. Brontë's heroines anticipate the female artist as the protagonist of the New Woman Kunstlerromans. Agnes and Helen both invade the masculine domain of economic motive and are feminists who profess gender definitions that conflict with dominant Victorian ideology. Agnes questions her own femininity by internalizing the governess's status incongruence, and Helen's femininity is questioned by those around her. The paradoxical position of both heroines anticipates the debate about the nature and function of art in which the New Woman writers engaged. Through her reconciliation of the aesthetic ...
Date: August 2001
Creator: Phillips, Jennifer K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bass Reeves: a History • a Novel • a Crusade, Volume 1: the Rise

Description: This literary/historical novel details the life of African-American Deputy US Marshal Bass Reeves between the years 1838-1862 and 1883-1884. One plotline depicts Reeves’s youth as a slave, including his service as a body servant to a Confederate cavalry officer during the Civil War. Another plotline depicts him years later, after Emancipation, at the height of his deputy career, when he has become the most feared, most successful lawman in Indian Territory, the largest federal jurisdiction in American history and the most dangerous part of the Old West. A preface explores the uniqueness of this project’s historical relevance and literary positioning as a neo-slave narrative, and addresses a few liberties that I take with the historical record.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Thompson, Sidney, 1965-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Between the Waves: Truth-Telling, Feminism, and Silence in the Modernist Era Poetics of Laura Riding Jackson and Muriel Rukeyser

Description: This paper presents the lives and early feminist works of two modernist era poets, Laura Riding Jackson and Muriel Rukeyser. Despite differences of style, the two poets shared a common theme of essentialist feminism before its popularization by 1950s and 60s second wave feminists. The two poets also endured periods of poetic silence or self censorship which can be attributed to modernism, McCarthyism, and rising conservatism. Analysis of their poems helps to remedy their exclusion from the common canon.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Cain, Christina
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Concept of Dignity in the Early Science Fiction Novels of Kurt Vonnegut.

Description: Kurt Vonnegut's early science fiction novels depict societies and characters that, as in the real world, have become callous and downtrodden. These works use supercomputers, aliens, and space travel, often in a comical manner, to demonstrate that the future, unless people change their concepts of humanity, will not be the paradise of advanced technology and human harmony that some may expect. In fact, Vonnegut suggests that the human condition may gradually worsen if people continue to look further and further into the universe for happiness and purpose. To Vonnegut, the key to happiness is dignity, and this key is to be found within ourselves, not without.
Date: May 2003
Creator: Dye, Scott Allen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Constructing Taiwan: Taiwanese Literature and National Identity

Description: In this work, I trace and reconstruct Taiwan's nation-formation as it is reflected in literary texts produced primarily during the country's two periods of colonial rule, Japanese (1895-1945) and Kuomintang or Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) (1945-1987). One of my central arguments is that the idea of a Taiwanese nation has historically emerged from the interstices of several official and formal nationalisms: Japanese, Chinese, and later Taiwanese. In the following chapters, I argue that the concepts of Taiwan and Taiwanese have been formed and enriched over time in response to the pressures exerted by the state's, colonial or otherwise, pedagogical nation-building discourses. It is through an engagement with these various discourses that the idea of a Taiwanese nation has come to be gradually defined, negotiated, and reinvented by Taiwanese intellectuals of various ethnic backgrounds. I, therefore, focus on authors whose works actively respond to and engage with the state's official nationalism. Following Homi Bhabha's explication in his famous essay "DissemiNation," the basic premise of this dissertation is that the nation, as a narrated space, is not simply shaped by the homogenizing and historicist discourse of nationalism but is realized through people's diverse lived experience. Thus, in reading Taiwanese literature, it is my intention to locate the scraps, patches, and rags of daily life represented in a select number of texts that signal the repeating and reproductive energy of a national life and culture.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Lu, Tsung Che
Partner: UNT Libraries

Corporeal Judgment in Shakespeare's Plays

Description: In this dissertation, I examine the complex role that the body played in early modern constructions of judgment. Moving away from an overreliance on anti-theatrical texts as the authority on the body in Shakespeare's plays, my project intervenes in the field Shakespearean studies by widening the lens through which scholars view the body's role in the early modern theater. Through readings of four plays—Richard II, Hamlet, King Lear, and The Winter's Tale—I demonstrate that Shakespeare uses a wide range of ideas about the human body from religious, philosophical, medical, and cultural spheres of thought to challenge Puritan accusations that the public theater audience is incapable of rational judgment. The first chapter outlines the parameters of the project. In Chapter 2, I argue that Richard II draws parallels between the theatrical community and the community created through the sacramental experiences of baptism and communion to show that bodies play a crucial role in establishing common experience and providing an avenue for judgment. In Chapter 3, I argue that Shakespeare establishes correspondences between bodily and social collaboration to show how both are needed for the memory-making project of the theater. In the next chapter, I show how Shakespeare appropriates what early moderns perceived of as the natural vulnerability in English bodies to suggest the passionate responses associated with impressionability can actually be sources of productive judgment and self-edification. I argue the storm models this passionate judgment, providing a guide for audience behavior. In Chapter 5, I argue that the memories created by and within the women in The Winter's Tale evoke the tradition of housewifery and emphasize the female role in preservation. Female characters stand in for hidden female contributors to the theater and expose societal blindness to women's work. Through each of these chapters, I argue that Shakespeare's plays emphasize the ...
Date: December 2017
Creator: Cephus, Heidi Nicole
Partner: UNT Libraries

Derivation: Excerpts From a Novel

Description: The dissertation consists of a critical preface and excerpts from the novel Derivation. The preface details how the novel Derivation explores the tension between the artist and the academy in the university, as well as the role memory plays in the construction of fictional narratives. The preface also details how narrative voice is used to expand the scope of Derivation, and ends with a discussion of masculine tropes in the novel. Derivation traces the path of a woman trying to rebuild her life in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, returning first to her blue collar roots before pursuing a career as an academic.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Davis, Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries

"The Divine Coming of the Light"

Description: The Divine Coming of the Light is a memoir-in-essays that covers an experience, from 2007 to 2010, when I lived in Kosuge Village (population 900), nestled in the mountains of central Japan. I was the only foreigner there. My memoir uses these three years as a frame to investigate how landscape affects identity. The book profiles who I was before Japan (an evangelical and then wilderness guide), why I became obsessed with mountains, and the fall-out from mountain obsession to a humanistic outlook. The path my narrator takes is one of a mountain hike. I was born in tabletop-flat West Texas to conservative, Christian parents in the second most Republican county by votes in America. At 19, I made my first backpacking trip to the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado and was awed by their outer-planetary-like massiveness. However, two friends and I became lost in the wilderness for three days without cell phones. During this time, an obsession possessed me as we found our way back through the peaks to safety, a realization that I could die out there, yes, but amid previously unknown splendor. I developed an addiction to mountains that weakened my religious faith. Like the Romantic poets before me, God transferred from the sky to the immense landscape. I jettisoned my beliefs and became an outdoor wilderness instructor. On every peak I traveled up, I hoped to recreate that first conversion experience when I was lost in the woods. After college, while teaching English in Kosuge Village, I learned about the mountain-worshipping religion Shugendo: a mixture of Buddhism, Shintoism, and Shamanism. I climbed dozens of peaks, spending several days backpacking. However, while in Japan, I was nearly fatally injured on a solo, month-long hike. I saw the accident as a warning and turned my attention to ...
Date: May 2018
Creator: Peters, Clinton Crockett
Partner: UNT Libraries

Elizabeth Bishop in Brasil: An Ongoing Acculturation

Description: Elizabeth Bishop (1911–1979), one of the foremost modern American poets, lived in Brasil during seventeen-odd years beginning in 1951. During this time she composed the poetry collection Questions of Travel, stand-alone poems, and fragments as well as prose pieces and translations. This study builds on the work of critics such as Brett Millier and Lorrie Goldensohn who have covered Bishop’s poetry during her Brasil years. However, most American critics have lacked expertise in both Brasilian culture and the Portuguese language that influenced Bishop’s poetry. Since 2000, in contrast, Brasilian critic Paulo Henriques Britto has explored issues of translating Bishop’s poetry into Portuguese, while Maria Lúcia Martins and Regina Przybycien have examined Bishop’s Brasil poems from a Brasilian perspective. However, American and Brasilian scholars have yet to recognize Bishop’s journey of acculturation as displayed through her poetry chronologically or the importance of her belated reception by Brasilian literary and popular culture. This study argues that Bishop’s Brasil poetry reveals her gradual transformation from a tourist outsider to a cultural insider through her encounters with Brasilian history, culture, language, and politics. It encompasses Bishop’s published and unpublished Brasil poetry, including drafts from the Elizabeth Bishop Papers at Vassar College. On a secondary level, this study examines a reverse acculturation in how Brasilian popular and literary communities have increasingly focused on Bishop since her death, culminating in the 2013 film, Flores Raras (Reaching for the Moon in English). Understanding this extremely rare and sustained intercultural junction of Bishop in Brasil, a junction that no American poet has made since, adds a crucial angle to twentieth-first century transnational literary perspectives.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Neely, Elizabeth
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ethics in Technical Communication: Historical Context for the Human Radiation Experiments

Description: To illustrate the intersection of ethical language and ethical frameworks within technical communication, this dissertation analyzes the history and documentation of the human radiation experiments of the 1940s through the 1970s. Research propositions included clarifying the link between medical documentation and technical communication by reviewing the literature that links the two disciplines from the ancient period to the present; establishing an appropriate historiography for the human radiation experiments by providing a context of the military, political, medical, and rhetorical milieu of the 1940s to the 1970s; closely examining and analyzing actual human radiation experiment documentation, including proposals, letters, memos, and consent forms, looking for established rhetorical constructions that indicate a document adheres to or diverts from specific ethical frameworks; and suggesting the importance of the human radiation documents for studying ethics in technical communication. Close rhetorical analysis of the documents included with this project reveals consistent patterns of metadiscourse, passive and nominal writing styles, and other rhetorical constructions, including negative language, redundancies, hedges, and intensifiers, that could lead a reader to misunderstand the writer's original ethical purpose. Ultimately this project finds that technical communicators cannot classify language itself as ethical or unethical; the language is simply the framework with which the experimenters construct their arguments and communicate their work. Technical communicators can, however, consider the ethical nature of behavior according to specific ethical frameworks and determine whether language contributes to the behavior.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Audrain, Susan Connor
Partner: UNT Libraries

"For the Ruined Body"

Description: This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, "Self-Elegy as Self-Creation Myth," which discusses the self-elegy, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, For the Ruined Body, a collection of poems. Traditionally elegies are responses to death, but modern and contemporary self-elegies question the kinds of death, responding to metaphorical not literal deaths. One category of elegy is the self-elegy, which turns inward, focusing on loss rather than death, mourning aspects of the self that are left behind, forgotten, or aspects that never existed. Both prospective and retrospective, self-elegies allow the self to be reinvented in the face of loss; they mourn past versions of selves as transient representations of moments in time. Self-elegies pursue the knowledge that the selves we create are fleeting and flawed, like our bodies. However by acknowledging painful self-truths, speakers in self-elegies exert agency; they participate in their own creation myths, actively interpreting and incorporating experiences into their identity by performing dreamlike scenarios and sustaining an intimate, but self-critical, voice in order to: one, imagine an alternate self to create distance and investigate the evolution of self-identity, employing hindsight and self-criticism to offer advice; two, reinterpret the past and its role in creating and shaping identity, employing a tone of resignation towards the changing nature of the self. This self-awareness, not to be confused with self-acceptance, is often the only consolation found.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Dorris, Kara Delene
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gender and Desire in Thomas Lovell Beddoes' The Brides' Tragedy and Death's Jest-Book

Description: Thomas Lovell Beddoes' female dramatic characters are, for the most part, objectified and static, but these passive women perform a crucial narrative and thematic function in the plays. Alongside the destructive activity of the male characters, they dramatize masculine-feminine unions as idealized and contrived and, thus, unstable. Desire, power and influence, as well as the constrictive aspects of physicality, all become gendered concepts in Beddoes' plays, and socially normative relationships between men and women, including heterosexual courtship and marriage, are scrutinized and found wanting. In The Brides' Tragedy, Floribel and Olivia, the eponymous brides, represent archetypes of innocence, purity, and Romantic nature. Their bridegroom, Hesperus, embodies Romantic masculinity, desiring the feminine and aspiring to androgyny, but ultimately unable to relinquish masculine power. The consequences of Hesperus' attempts to unite with the feminine other are the destruction of that other and of himself, with no hope for the spiritual union in death that the Romantic Hesperus espouses as his ultimate desire. Death's Jest-Book expands upon the theme of male-female incompatibility, presenting heterosexual relationships in the context of triangulated desire. The erotic triangles created by Melveric, Sibylla, and Wolfram and Athulf, Amala, and Adalmar are inherently unstable, because they depend upon the rivalries between the males. Once those rivalries end, with the deaths of Wolfram and Athulf, respectively, Sibylla and Amala fade into nothing, their function as conduits for male homosocial relations at an end. In effect, these failed heterosexual triangles function as a backdrop for the idealized relationship between Melveric and Wolfram, whose desire for each other is mediated through their common pursuit of Sibylla, as well as through their blood-brotherhood. Once Wolfram's physical masculinity is deferred through death, the mixing of his ashes with those of Melveric's dead wife, and reanimation, Melveric and Wolfram descend into the tomb together, united ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: Rees, Shelley S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Godot in Earnest: Beckettian Readings of Wilde

Description: Critics and audiences alike have neglected the idea of Wilde as a precursor to Beckett. But I contend that a closer look at each writer's aesthetic and philosophic tendencies-for instance, their interest in the fluid nature of self, their understanding of identity as a performance, and their belief in language as both a way in and a way out of stagnancy -will connect them in surprising and highly significant ways. This thesis will focus on the ways in which Wilde prefigures Beckett as a dramatist. Indeed, many of the themes that Beckett, free from the constraints of a censor and from the societal restrictions of Victorian England, unabashedly details in his drama are to be found residing obscurely in Wilde. Understanding Beckett's major dramatic themes and motifs therefore yields new strategies for reading Wilde.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Tucker, Amanda
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Goodness and Mercy": Stories

Description: The stories in this collection represent an increasingly transcultural world by exploring the intersection of cultures and identities in border spaces, particularly the Mexican-American border. Characters, regardless of ethnicity, experience the effects of migration and deportation in schools, hometowns, relationships, and elsewhere. The collection as a whole focuses on the issues and themes found in Mexican-American literature, such as loss, separation, and the search for identity.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Craggett, Courtney L
Partner: UNT Libraries

"The Hoboken War Bride": A Novel

Description: The Hoboken War Bride is a work of historical fiction set in Hoboken, New Jersey during World War II. A young soldier named Daniel and an aspiring actress named Hildy marry days after meeting, though the marriage is doomed to fail. This young couple is not compatible. Daniel ships out to basic training the day after their hasty marriage, leaving Hildy behind with his family, the Anellos, who she quickly becomes attached to. Hildy is exposed to family in a way she had never lived with her own, embracing them even though she doubts she'll ever have a future with Daniel. When Daniel returns after the end of the war, the young couple try to make their marriage work, but it fails almost immediately. Both Hildy and Daniel struggle to pick themselves up after their divorce, finding themselves making choices they never thought they would when they were younger.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Riccardelli, Charlie Frank
Partner: UNT Libraries

How to Factor Loss

Description: How to Factor Loss is a collection of poems and translations prefaced by a critical paper over Robert Hass's “Meditation at Lagunitas.” The preface, “A Sensuous Theory, A Sensuous Poem,” explores how Hass merges the discourses of theory and poetry to create a poem that hangs suspended between a confidence and an anxiety about language. The poems in this thesis are primarily responses to finitude. The first section turns toward an “other” as a strategy of placating desire and of reaching both inward and outward. The second section explores the potential failures of art as a means of touching objects. The final section acknowledges that finitude is the condition of humankind, and it turns toward a more tender language, one that embraces limitations and is filled with something like faith. The collection is followed by an appendix which contains translations of several poems by René Guy Cadou and Georg Trakl.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Hall, Todd R.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Hybrid Hero in Early Modern English Literature: A Synthesis of Classical and Contemplative Heroism

Description: In his Book of the Courtier, Castiglione appeals to the Renaissance notion of self-fashioning, the idea that individuals could shape their identity rather than relying solely on the influence of external factors such as birth, social class, or fate. While other early modern authors explore the practice of self-fashioning—Niccolò Machiavelli, for example, surveys numerous princes identifying ways they have molded themselves—Castiglione emphasizes the necessity of modeling one's-self after a variety of sources, "[taking] various qualities now from one man and now from another." In this way, Castiglione advocates for a self-fashioning grounded in a discriminating kind of synthesis, the generation of a new ideal form through the selective combination of various source materials. While Castiglione focuses on the moves necessary for an individual to fashion himself through this act of discriminatory mimesis, his views can explain the ways authors of the period use source material in the process of textual production. As poets and playwrights fashioned their texts, they did so by consciously combining various source materials in order to create not individuals, as Castiglione suggests, but characters to represent new cultural ideals and values. Early moderns viewed the process of textual, as well as cultural production, as a kind of synthesis. Creation through textual fusion is particularly common in early modern accounts of the heroic, in which authors synthesize classical conceptions of the hero, which privilege the completion of martial feats, and Christian notions of the heroic, based on the contemplative nature of Christ. In this dissertation, I demonstrate how Thomas Kyd in The Spanish Tragedy (1585), Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene (1590), William Shakespeare in Titus Andronicus (1594), and John Milton in A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle (1632) syncretized classical and Christian notions of the heroic ideal in order to comment upon and shape political, social, ...
Date: December 2017
Creator: Ponce, Timothy Matthew
Partner: UNT Libraries

Iconoclast in the mirror.

Description: This work explores identity positions of speakers in modern and contemporary poetry with respect to themes of subjectivity, self-awareness, lyricism, heteroglossia, and social contextualization, from perspectives including Bakhtinian, queer, feminist and postructuralist theories, and Peircian semiotics. Tony Hoagland, W.H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, and the poetic prose of Hélène Cixous provide textual examples of an evolving aesthetic in which the poet's self and world comprise multiple dynamic, open relationships supplanting one in which simple correspondences between signifiers and signifieds define selves isolated from the world. Hypertext and polyamory serve as useful analogies to the semantic eros characteristic of such poetry, including the collection of original poems that the critical portion of this thesis introduces.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Alexander, Lydia L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Inter

Description: This dissertation is has two parts: a critical essay on the lyric subject, and a collection of poems. In the essay, I suggest that, contrary to various anti-subjectivists who continue to define the lyric subject in Romantic terms, a strain of Post-Romantic lyric subjectivity allows us to think more in terms of space, process, and dialogue and less in terms of identity, (mere self-) expression, and dialectic. The view I propose understands the contemporary lyric subject as a confluence or parallax of imagined and felt subjectivities in which the subject who writes the poem, the subject personified as speaker in the text itself, and the subject who receives the poem as a reader are each repeatedly drawn out of themselves, into others, and into an otherness that calls one beyond identity, mastery, and understanding. Rather than arguing for the lyric subject as autonomous, expressive (if fictive) "I,” I have suggested that the lyric subject is a dialogical matrix of multiple subjectivities—actual, imagined, anticipated, deferred—that at once posit and emerge from a space whose only grounded, actual place in the world is the text: not the court, not the market, and not a canon of legitimized authors, but in the relatively fugitive realm of text. In this way, there is no real contradiction between what Tucker terms the intersubjective and the intertextual. The lyric space I am arguing for is ultimately a diachronic process in which readers take up the poem and bring that space partially into their bodies, imaginations, and consciousness even as the poem brings them out, or to the edge, of each of these.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Haines, Robert M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Irony, Humor, and Ontological Relationality in Literature

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Kim, Soon Bae
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Is She Going to Die or Survive with Her Baby?": The Aftermath of Illegitimate Pregnancies in the Twentieth Century American Novels

Description: This dissertation is mainly based on the reading of three American novels to explore how female characters deal with their illegitimate pregnancies and how their solutions re-shape their futures and affect their inner growth. Chapter 1 discusses Dorinda Oakley's premarital pregnancy in Ellen Glasgow's Barren Ground and draws the circle of limits from Barbara Welter's "four cardinal virtues" (purity, submissiveness, domesticity, and piety) which connect to the analogous female roles (daughter, sister, wife, and mother). Dorinda's childless survival reconstructs a typical household from her domination and absence of maternity. Chapter 2 examines Ántonia Shimerda's struggles and endurance in My Ántonia by Willa Cather before and after Ántonia gives birth to a premarital daughter. Ántonia devotes herself to being a caring mother and to looking after a big family although her marriage is also friendship-centered. Chapter 3 adopts a different approach to analyze Charlotte Rittenmeyer's extramarital pregnancy in The Wild Palms by William Faulkner. As opposed to Dorinda and Ántonia who re-enter domesticity to survive, Charlotte runs out on her family and dies of a botched abortion. To help explain the aftermath of illicit pregnancies, I extend or shorten John Duvall's formula of female role mutations: "virgin>sexually active (called whore)>wife" to examine the riddles of female survival and demise. The overall argument suggests that one way or another, nature, society, and family are involved in illegitimately pregnant women's lives, and the more socially compliant a pregnant woman becomes after her transgression, the better chance she can survive with her baby.
Date: August 2006
Creator: Liu, Li-Hsion
Partner: UNT Libraries