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Road Debris

Description: 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.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Dewoody, Dale W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Sensory Tour of Cape Cod: Thoreau's Transcendental Journey to Spiritual Renewal

Description: Predominantly darker than his other works, Cape Cod depicts Henry David Thoreau's interpretation of life as a struggle for survival and a search for salvation in a stark New England setting. Representing Thoreau's greatest test of the goodness of God and nature, the book illustrates the centrality of the subject of death to Thoreau's philosophy of life. Contending that Thoreau's journey to the Cape originated from an intensely personal transcendental impulse connected with his brother's death, this study provides the first in-depth examination of Thoreau's use of the five senses in Cape Cod to reveal both the eccentricities inherent in his relationship with nature and his method of resolving his fears of mortality. Some of the sense impressions in Cape Cod--particularly those that center around human death and those that involve tactile sensations--suggest that Thoreau sometimes tried to master his fears by subconsciously altering painful historical facts or by avoiding the type of sensual contact that aggravated the repressed guilt he suffered from his brother's death. Despite his personal idiosyncrasies, however, Thoreau persisted in his search for truth, and the written record of his journey in Cape Cod documents how his dedication to the transcendental process enabled him to surmount his inner turmoil and reconfirm his intuitive faith. In following this process to spiritual renewal, Thoreau begins with subjective impressions of nature and advances to knowledge of objective realities before ultimately reaching symbolic and universal truth. By analyzing nature's lessons as they evolve from Thoreau's use of his senses, this dissertation shows that Cape Cod, rather than invalidating Thoreau's faith, actually expands his transcendental perspective and so rightfully stands beside Walden as one of the fundamental cornerstones of his canon. In addition, the study proffers new support for previous psychoanalytical interpretations of Thoreau and his writings, reveals heretofore unrecognized historical ...
Date: December 1999
Creator: Talley, Sharon
Partner: UNT Libraries

Set for Life: a Novel

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Coleman, Britta
Partner: UNT Libraries

(Some More) American Literature

Description: This short story collection consists of twenty short fictions and a novella. A preface precedes the collection addressing issues of craft, pedagogy, and the post Program Era literary landscape, with particular attention paid to the need for empathy as an active guiding principle in the writing of fiction.
Date: May 2015
Creator: VandeZande, Zach
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sorry Guard

Description: Sorry Guard is a collection of poems with a critical introduction on poetic form. Form in poetry can be revealed vocally (how the poem sounds), temporally (how the poem makes use of time), and spatially (how the poem is visualized, both physically on the page due to typography and imagistically due to the shape and movement of its subject matter). In this preface, I will address these three aspects of form in relation to three distinct twentieth century poets: Robert Hass, W.S. Merwin, and W.H. Auden. I am most interested in how particular formal decisions shape meaning and value in poetry. My aesthetic approach here primarily dwells on what Helen Vendler calls, "the music of what happens." The urgency of Robert Hass's spoken word is important to me because I wish to make poems that should be spoken aloud and remembered. While W.S. Merwin's rejection of punctuation is not my own aesthetic outlook, I strive to achieve through close attention to temporal form the mythic voice of his poemsthe immediacy of his lines and images, especially in his second four books. And Auden's deft use of spatial form is only a small aspect of his remarkable verse. All three poets are concerned with the inadequacy and failure of language in its modern use, yet they write with a certain hopeas if potential power lies hidden in the words. Most of the poems in the dissertation concern failure. Speakers in the poems fail to prevent death or pain, and they fail to achieve an equally requited love. They fail to protect and to achieve oneness with their loved ones, and often they are left only with the consolation of imagination.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Poch, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Spinning Place

Description: "The Spinning Place" finds its impetus in the intersection of the spiritual and material, and while often dwelling in a domestic milieu, the poems move outward both figuratively and literally. For instance, one poem re-narrates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, several poems are about divination by various means (frogs, animal behavior), and another performs an erasure of the last supper so that it instead tells a woman's experience in a delivery room. I borrow the title of the collection from a stanza of Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill," and the excerpt (which will become an epigraph to the book) reads: "So it must have been after the birth of the simple light / In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm / Out of the whinnying green stable / On to the fields of praise." Thomas refers to the newly created earth as the "spinning place," imagining the fleeting idyll and harmony of that scene. In a similar way, my new poems specifically explore moments of creation, birth, and discovery, drawing from a variety of inspirations, including recognizable narratives and myths, as well as personal experience.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Wagenaar, Chelsea
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Stealing Dreams" and Other Stories

Description: The critical preface, "Learning to Break the Rules" discusses workshop rules as guidelines, as well as how and why I learned to break them. The creative portion of this thesis is made up of eight short stories: "The Many Incarnations of Blazer Chief," "Anna's Monsters," "The Pecan Tree's Daughter," "When the Seas Emptied," "The Umbrella Thief," "How to Forget," "Fracture," and "Stealing Dreams."
Date: December 2014
Creator: Matthews, Elise
Partner: UNT Libraries

Stretched Out on Her Grave: Pathological Attitudes Toward Death in British Fiction 1788-1909

Description: Nineteenth-century British fiction is often dismissed as necrophillic or obsessed with death. While the label of necrophilia is an apt description of the fetishistic representations of dead women prevalent at the end of the century, it is too narrow to fit literature produced earlier in the century. This is not to say that abnormal attitudes toward death are only a feature of the late nineteenth century. In fact, pathological attitudes toward death abound in the literature, but the relationship between the deceased and the survivor is not always sexual in nature. Rather, there is a clear shift in attitudes, from the chaste death fantasy, or attraction to the idea of death, prevalent in Gothic works, to the destructive, stagnant mourning visible in mid-century texts, and culminating in the perverse sexualization of dead women at the turn of the century. This literary shift is most likely attributable to the concurrent changes in attitudes toward sex and death. As sex became more acceptable, more public, via the channels of scientific discourse, death became a less acceptable idea. This “denial of death” is a direct reaction to the religious uncertainties brought about by industrialization. As scientists and industrialists uncovered increasing evidence against a literal interpretation of the Bible, more people began to doubt the nature of God and the existence of an afterlife. If there was no God, then there was no heaven, which raised questions about what happened to the soul after death. With the certainty of an afterlife gone, death became mysterious, something to fear, and the passing of loved ones was doubly-mourned as their fate was now uncertain.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Angel-Cann, Lauryn
Partner: UNT Libraries

Stretched Out On Her Grave: The Evolution of a Perversion

Description: The word "necrophilia" brings a particular definition readily to mind – that of an act of sexual intercourse with a corpse, probably a female corpse at that. But the definition of the word did not always have this connotation; quite literally the word means "love of the dead," or "a morbid attraction to death." An examination of nineteenth-century literature reveals a gradual change in relationships between the living and the dead, culminating in the sexualized representation of corpses at the close of the century. The works examined for necrophilic content are: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Mary, A Fiction, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula and The Jewel of Seven Stars.
Date: August 2000
Creator: Angel-Cann, Lauryn
Partner: UNT Libraries

The things I left behind

Description: This thesis consists of a preface and twenty-one original short stories. The preface examines the differences between creative nonfiction, autobiography, and memoir. The twenty-one interrelated stories included are autobiographical in nature, in some ways memoirs and in some ways creative nonfiction. The over-all theme of the collection explores one character's journey of self-discovery and transformation.
Date: August 2002
Creator: Keyes, Laura
Partner: UNT Libraries

"This Fundamental Lack": Stories

Description: This short story collection includes five original works of fiction, three of which make up a trilogy titled "The World Drops Beneath You," which follows the life of James McClellan from 1969 in Texas until roughly 2009, when he is struggling to care for his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. One of the two remaining stories, "She Loved Him When He Looked Like Elvis," prominently features James McClellan's parents and is set approximately eight years before the start of the trilogy. Each of the stories is concerned with blue-collar families trying to make their way in postindustrial America and the forces that buffet them, including some brought on by the choices they make.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Bohanan, Ronal L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

True Selves: Narrative Distance in Stories of Fiction and Nonfiction

Description: True Selves: Narrative Distance in Stories of Fiction and Nonfiction consists of a scholarly preface and four creative works. The preface discusses narrative distance as used in both fiction and nonfiction, and as compares to other narrative agents such as point of view, especially in contemporary creative writing. The selection of stories examines relationships, especially familial, and themes of isolation, community, and memory. Collection includes two chapters of a novel-in-progress, Fences, short fiction story "Trees and Furniture," and creative nonfiction essays, "Floating" and "On the Sparrow."
Date: December 2009
Creator: Al-Qasem, Ruby
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Useful Arts

Description: 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.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Hindman, Jessica
Partner: UNT Libraries

Warrior Women in Early Modern Literature

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 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.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Oxendine, Jessica Grace
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wayward Women, Virtuous Violence: Feminine Violence in Restoration and Eighteenth-Century British Literature by Women

Description: This dissertation examines the role of "acceptable" feminine violence in Restoration and eighteenth-century drama and fiction. Scenes such as Lady Davers's physical assault on Pamela in Samuel Richardson's Pamela (1740) have understandably troubled recent scholars of gender and literature. But critics, for the most part, have been more inclined to discuss women as victims of violence than as agents of violence. I argue that women in the Restoration and eighteenth century often used violence in order to maintain social boundaries, particularly sexual and economic ones, and that writers of the period drew upon this tradition of acceptable feminine violence in order to create the figure of the violent woman as a necessary agent of social control. One such figure is Violenta, the heroine of Delarivier Manley's novella The Wife's Resentment (1720), who murders and dismembers her bigamous husband. At her trial, Violenta is condemned to death "notwithstanding the Pity of the People" and "the Intercession of the Ladies," who believe that although the "unexampled Cruelty [Violenta] committed afterwards on the dead Body" was excessive, the murder itself is not inexcusable given her husband's bigamy. My research draws upon diverse archival materials, such as conduct manuals, criminal biographies, and legal records, in order to provide a contextual grounding for the interpretation of literary works by women. Moving between contemporary accounts of feminine violence and discussions of pertinent literary works by Eliza Haywood, Susanna Centlivre, Delarivier Manley, Aphra Behn, Mary Pix, and Jane Wiseman, the dissertation examines issues of interpersonal violence and communal violence committed by women.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Collins, Margo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Welcome to the Rest of It

Description: This creative nonfiction dissertation is a book of essays that explore the author's life and relationship to Upstate New York. The project also connects this experience to gender and trauma. Though the topics range from local history to cosmetic surgical procedures, the essays are collected by how they illuminate cultural tensions and universal truths. These essays are preceded by a critical preface that examines the differences between essays collections, books of essays, and argues for the recognition of narrative nonfiction as an artistic choice.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Murphy, April Josephine
Partner: UNT Libraries

When shape becomes a sign: narrative design in creative nonfiction.

Description: This thesis consists of a preface and three original short stories. The preface explores the idea that narrative designthe shape or structureof a story may become a literary motif in its own right. The three stories included are creative nonfiction and each employs a distinct modular design. The themes of the stories revolve around personal identity and values; families and marriage; and creative empowerment.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Hale, Bonnie
Partner: UNT Libraries

With the Earth in Mind: Ecological Grief in the Contemporary American Novel

Description: "With the Earth in Mind" responds to some of the most cutting-edge research in the field of ecocriticism, which centers on ecological loss and the grief that ensues. Ecocritics argue that ecological objects of loss abound--for instance, species are disappearing and landscapes are becoming increasingly compromised--and yet, such loss is often deemed "ungrievable." While humans regularly grieve human losses, we understand very little about how to genuinely grieve the loss of nonhuman being, natural environments, and ecological processes. My dissertation calls attention to our society's tendency to participate in superficial nature-nostalgia, rather than active and engaged environmental mourning, and ultimately activism. Herein, I investigate how an array of postwar and contemporary American novels represent a complex relationship between environmental degradation and mental illness. Literature, I suggest, is crucial to investigations of this problem because it can reveal the human consequences of ecological loss in a way that is unavailable to political, philosophical, scientific, and even psychological discourse.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Reis, Ashley Elaine
Partner: UNT Libraries