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.
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 ...
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.
AGenesis is a novel of "postmortal fiction" set entirely in an afterlife. Nessie, a recently dead woman, accidentally kills an already-dead man, and in the confusion that follows, sets out to discover how he could have died and what after-afterlife he might have gone to. During her travels, she is raped and then help captive by a city of tormented souls; she descends into madness until rescued by children, and she and her newborn but "undead" daughter set out again, this time to find the end of the afterlife. Nessie's daughter eventually seeks a way to enter a living world she's never known, while Nessie tries to end her suffering and find peace.
Written in the tradition of the classic spy novels of Ian Fleming and the detective novels of Raymond Chandler, The Agolmirth Conspiracy represents the return to the thriller of its traditional elements of romanticism, humanism, fast-moving action, and taut suspense, and a move away from its cynicism and dehumanization as currently practiced by authors such as John Le Carre' and Tom Clancy. Stanford Torrance, an ex-cop raised on "old-fashioned" notions of uncompromising good and naked evil and largely ignorant of computer systems and high-tech ordinance, finds himself lost in a "modern" world of shadowy operatives, hidden agendas, and numerous double-crosses. He is nevertheless able to triumph over that world when he puts his own honor, his own dignity, and his very life on the line, proving to himself and to his adversaries that such things can still make things easier to see amid today's swirling moral fog.
This study explores six utopias by female authors written at the turn of the twentieth century: Mary Bradley Lane's Mizora (1881), Alice Ilgenfritz Jones and Ella Merchant's Unveiling Parallel (1893), Eloise O. Richberg's Reinstern (1900), Lena J. Fry's Other Worlds (1905), Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Herland (1915), and Martha Bensley Bruère's Mildred Carver, USA (1919). While the right to vote had become the central, most important point of the movement, women were concerned with many other issues affecting their lives. Positioned within the context of the late nineteenth century women's rights movement, this study examines these "sideline" concerns of the movement such as home and gender-determined spheres, motherhood, work, marriage, independence, and self-sufficiency and relates them to the transforming character of female identity at the time. The study focuses primarily on analyzing the expression of female historical desire through utopian genre and on explicating the contradictory nature of utopian production.
America has adopted as its own the Eden myth, which has provided the mythology of the American dream. This New Garden of America, consequently, has been a masculine garden because of its dependence on the myth of the Fall. Implied in the American dream is the idea of a garden without Eve, or at least without Eve's sin, traditionally associated with sexuality. Our canonical literature has reflected these attitudes of devaluing feminine power or making it a negative force: The Scarlet Letter, Moby-Dick, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and The Sound and the Fury. To recreate the Garden myth, Americans have had to reimagine Eve as the idealized virgin, earth mother and life-giver, or as Adam's loyal helpmeet, the silent figurehead. But Eve resists her new roles: Hester Prynne embellishes her scarlet letter and does not leave Boston; the feminine forces in Moby-Dick defeat the monomaniacal masculinity of Ahab; Miss Watson, the Widow Douglas, and Aunt Sally's threat of civilization chase Huck off to the territory despite the beckoning of the feminine river; Daisy retreats unscathed into her "white palace" after Gatsby's death; and Caddy tours Europe on the arm of a Nazi officer long after Quentin's suicide, Benjy's betrayal, and Jason's condemnation. Each of these male writers--Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Fitzgerald, and Faulkner--deals with the American dream differently; however, in each case the dream fails because Eve will not go away, refusing to be the Other, the scapegoat, or the muse to man's dreams. These works all deal in some way with the notion of the masculine American dream of perfection in the Garden at the expense of a fully realized feminine presence. This failure of the American dream accounts for the decidedly tragic tone of these culturally significant American novels.
This dissertation explores a history of the grotesque and its meaning in art and literature along with those of its related term, the arabesque, since their co-existence, specifically in literature, is later treated by a well-known nineteenth-century American writer in Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque- Theories or views of the grotesque (used in literature), both in Europe and America, belong to twelve theorists of different eras, ranging from the sixteenth century to the present period, especially Modernism (approximately from 1910 to 1945)--Rabelais, Hegel, Scott, Wright, Hugo, Symonds, Ruskin, Santayana, Kayser, Bakhtin, (William Van) O'Connor, and Spiegel. My study examines the grotesque in American literature, as treated by both nineteenth-century writers--Irving, Poe, Hawthorne, and, significantly, by modernist writers--Anderson, West, and Steinbeck in Northern (or non-Southern) literature; Faulkner, McCullers, and (Flannery) O'Connor in Southern literature. I survey several novels and short stories of these American writers for their grotesqueries in characterization and episodes. The grotesque, as treated by these earlier American writers is often despised, feared, or mistrusted by other characters, but is the opposite in modernist fiction.
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.
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 ...
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 ...
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.
This dissertation approaches the work of South African/Botswanan novelist Bessie Head, especially the novel A Question of Power, as positioned within the critical framework of the postcolonial paradigm, the genius of which accommodates both African and African American literature without recourse to racial essentialism. A central problematic of postcolonial literary criticism is the ideological stance postcolonial authors adopt with respect to the ideology of the metropolis, whether on the one hand the stances they adopt are collusive, or on the other oppositional. A key contested concept is that of universality, which has been widely regarded as a witting or unwitting tool of the metropolis, having the effect of denigrating the colonial subject. It is my thesis that Bessie Head, neither entirely collusive nor oppositional, advocates an Africanist universality that paradoxically eliminates the bias implicit in metropolitan universality.
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 .
This comic romantic novel engages the question of how the Christianity of the southern, fundamentalist world of the Texas bible belt, finding its primary cultural assumptions about human existence challenged by the more confusing elements of a modern sensibility, a sensibility over-laden with strange-attractors, mechanistic psychologies, relativistic physics and ethics, evolutionary premises, newly proclaimed rights and freedoms, a deterioration in cultural political naivete, and the advent of an increasingly incomprehensible set of technologies, can survive. The "central" character is a young, slightly deformed man raised by his ostensibly "Christian" grandparents who, through a rather odd set of legal circumstances and physical events, not only become wealthy, but somewhat powerful in their immediate community. He finds himself involved with a young woman, raised in an equally "Christian" household, but, as is true of any romantic plot, the relationship between the two is destined, by virtue of circumstance and the meddling of other characters, to struggle and mishap. In the end, the text, in its own fashion, asserts that the Christian impulse can survive the modern era by virtue of one of its central tenets: faith, in the Christian world, is very much the same as life itself, a process of waiting and expecting. Its greatest threat, rather than something intrinsic to the modern period, is perhaps that of the dogmatism and misunderstanding of the characters who most loudly proclaim it to others.
A work of creative fiction in the form of a short novel, Asleep in the Arms of God is a limited-omniscient and omniscient narrative describing the experiences of a man named Wafer Roberts, born in Jack County, Texas, in 1900. The novel spans the years from 1900 to 1925, and moves from the Keechi Valley of North Texas, to Fort Worth and then France during World War One, and back again to the Keechi Valley. The dissertation opens with a preface, which examines the form of the novel, and regional and other aspects of this particular work, especially as they relate to the postmodern concern with fragmentation and conditional identity. Wafer confronts in the novel aspects of his own questionable history, which echo the larger concern with exploitative practices including racism, patriarchy, overplanting and overgrazing, and pollution, which contribute to and climax in the postmodern fragmentation. The novel attempts to make a critique of the exploitative rage of Western civilization.
Studies of William Blake's poetry have historically paid little attention to the Welsh literary context of his time, especially the bardic lore (barddas), in spite of the fact that he considered himselfto be a bard and created an epic cosmos in which the bardic had exalted status. Of particular importance is the Welsh concept of the awen, which can be thought of as "the muse," but which must not be limited to the Greek understanding of the term For the Welsh, the awen had to do with the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit, and beyond that, with the poet's connection with his inspiration, or genius, whether Christian of otherwise. This study explores the idea of inspiration as it evolves from the Greek idea of the Muse, as it was perceived in the Middle Ages by Welsh writers, and as it came to be understood and utilized by writers in the Age of Blake.
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.
Very little of the huge corpus of Beowulf criticism has been directed at discovering the function and meaning of myth in the poem. Scholars have noted many mythological elements, but there has never been a satisfactory explanation of the poet's use of this material. A close analysis of Beowulf reveals that myth does, in fact, inform its structure, plot, characters and even imagery. More significant than the poet's use of myth, however, is the way he interlaces the historical and Christian elements with the mythological story to reflect his understanding of the cyclic nature of human existence. The examination in Chapter II of the religious component in eighth-century Anglo-Saxon culture demonstrates that the traditional Germanic religion or mythology was still very much alive. Thus the Beowulf poet was certainly aware of pre-Christian beliefs. Furthermore, he seems to have perceived basic similarities between the old and new religions, and this understanding is reflected in the poem. Chapter III discusses the way in which the characterization of the monsters is enriched by their mythological connotations. Chapter IV demonstrates that the poet also imbued the hero Beowulf with mythological significance. The discussion in Chapter V of themes and type-scenes reveals the origins of these formulaic elements in Indo-European myth, particularly in the myth of the dying god. Chapter VI argues that both historical and mythological layers of meaning reflect traditional man's view of history as cyclic, a temporal period with a beginning and an end. At the juncture between end and beginning is conflict, which is necessary for regeneration. The interlacing of Christian, historical and mythic elements suggests the impossibility of extricating the individual and collective historical manifestations from the cosmic imperative of this cycle. The Beowulf poet perhaps saw in the ancient myths which permeated his cultural traditions the basis of meaning ...
This dissertation explores the porous boundaries between Salman Rushdie's fiction and the various manifestations of the filmic vision, especially in Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses, and other selected Rushdie texts. My focus includes a chapter on Midnight's Children, in which I analyze the cinematic qualities of the novel's form, content, and structure. In this chapter I formulate a theory of the post-colonial novel which notes the hybridization of Rushdie's fiction, which process reflects a fragmentation and hybridization in Indian culture. I show how Rushdie's book is unique in its use of the novelization of film. I also argue that Rushdie is a narrative trickster. In my second chapter I analyze the controversial The Satanic Verses. My focus is the vast web of allusions to the film and television industries in the novel. I examine the way Rushdie tropes the "spiritual vision" in cinematic terms, thus shedding new light on the controversy involving the religious aspects of the novel which placed Rushdie on the most renowned hit-list of modern times. I also explore the phenomenon of the dream as a kind of interior cinematic experience. My last chapter explores several other instances in Rushdie's works that are influenced by a filmic vision, with specific examples from Haroun and the Sea of Stories, "The Firebird's Nest," and numerous other articles, interviews, and essays involving Rushdie. In my conclusion I discuss some of the emerging similarities between film and the novel, born out of the relatively recent technology of video cassette recorders and players, and I examine the democratizing effects of this relatively new way of seeing.
The contemporary classroom currently faces an evolving world of computer based training, online courses, instructor-led learning and several blended approaches in-between. With the increased presence of computers and communication in every facet of students' lives, students have changed to adapt to the continuous presence of technology in their daily lives. These recent rapid developments have changed the relationship between technology and communication. Indeed, communication and technology have become linked to such a degree that it is difficult to differentiate one from the other, thereby altering our rhetorical situation as instructors. Instructors can no longer deny the presence of technology in the contemporary classroom, much less in the contemporary composition classroom. This case study serves as a post-modern analysis of the technology based blended classroom. A gap exists between what online learning is (being) today and what it is (becoming) tomorrow. This dissertation explores the gap by examining two rich data sources: online visitor navigational patterns and instructor interviews. The fundamental ideas that this text explores are the following: - Web server logs and PHP logs can be analyzed to yield relevant information that assists in the design, architecture, and administration of online and blended learning courses. - Technology in the writing classroom does not necessarily solve traditional problems associated with the composition classroom. Technology is a tool, not a solution. - Technology has changed the rhetorical situation of the composition classroom. As a result, instructors must adapt to the changed rhetorical environment. Via this study, readers will hopefully gain a better understanding of the relatively unexplored margins between instruction, composition and technology paradigms. Instructors, trainers, technical writers, pedagogues, industry and academia alike must step forward to research technology-assisted pedagogy so that they can de-privilege the paradigms that position technology itself as a solution, and move forward toward realistic and real-world ...
Gary Snyder has offered, in poems and essays, ways to acknowledge the interrelationships of humans with the more-than-human. He questions common notions of selfness as well as understandings of what it is to be human in relationship to other species and ecosystems, and he offers new paradigms for the relationship between cultures and the ecosystems in which these cultures reside. These new paradigms are rooted in a reevaluation of our attitudes toward our physical bodies which impacts our relationship to the earth and raises new possibilities for an ecological spirituality or philosophy. The sum of Snyder's endeavors is a foundation for an understanding of ecopoetics. Snyder's poem "The Trail is Not a Trail" is an interesting place to begin examining how human perceptions of the self are central to the kinds of relationships that humans believe are possible between our species and everything else. In this poem there is a curious fusion of the speaker and the trail. In fact, with each successive line they become increasingly difficult to separate. The physical self is central to Snyder's poetry because his is a poetry of the self physically rooted in ever-shifting relationship with the biosphere. The relationship of the self to the biosphere in Snyder's poetry also points toward a spiritual experience that can be called ecomysticism, by which I mean the space where new ecological paradigms and mystical understandings of the world overlap. Ecomysticism goes beyond mysticisms that describe a spiritual being longing for supernatural experience while being "unfortunately" trapped in a physical body. Ecomysticism emphasizes the spiritual and physical interrelatedness or interconnectedness of all matter, the human and the more-than-human. The integration of the spiritual and physical aspects of the self is only possible through an awareness of the interrelatedness of the self and the non-human. New paradigms for ...
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.
The dissertation begins with an introductory chapter that examines the short story cycle as a specific genre, outlines tendencies found in minimalist fiction, and discusses proposed definitions of the short story genre. The introduction examines the problems that short story theorists encounter when they try to.define the short story genre in general. Part of the problem results from the lack of a definition of the short story in the Aristotelian sense of a definition. A looser, less traditional definition of literary genres helps solve some of the problem. Minimalist fiction and the short story cycle are discussed as particular forms of the short story. Sixteen short stories follow the introduction.
The purpose of this study is to suggest the influence of certain characters in eighteen works by English Renaissance authors upon the Byronic Hero, that composite figure which emerges from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, the Oriental Tales, the dramas, and some of the shorter poems.
Calling Up the Dead is a collection of seven short stories which all take place over the final hours of December 31, 1999 and the first few hours of January 1, 2000. The themes of time, history, and the reactions toward the new millennium (positive, negative, indifferent) of a variety of cultures are addressed. Each of the six major continents has a story, along with its cultural perspective, delivered by narrators both young and old, three female, three male and one balcony.
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.
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 promoting gender equality in marriage at a time when they considered marriage risky but socially and economically necessary.
Though much has been made of Chaucer's saintly characters, relatively little has been made of Chaucer's approach to hagiography. While strictly speaking Chaucer produced only one true saint's life (the Second Nun's Tale), he was repeatedly intrigued and challenged by exemplary literature. The few studies of Chaucer's use of hagiography have tended to claim either his complete orthodoxy as hagiographer, or his outright parody of the genre. My study mediates the orthodoxy/parody split by viewing Chaucer as a serious, but self-conscious, hagiographer, one who experimented with the possibilities of exemplary narrative and explored the rhetorical tensions intrinsic to the genre, namely the tensions between transcendence and imminence, reverence and identification, and epideictic deliberative discourse.
This dissertation examines the evolution of the early English travel narrative as it relates to the development and application of mercantilist economic practices, theories of aesthetic representation, and discourses of gender and narrative authority. I attempt to redress an imbalance in critical work on pre-colonialism and colonialism, which has tended to focus either on the Renaissance, as exemplified by the works of critics such as Stephen Greenblatt and John Gillies, or on the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as in the work of scholars such as Srinivas Aravamudan and Edward Said. This critical gap has left early travel narratives by Sir Francis Moore, Jonathan Harris, Penelope Aubin, and others largely neglected. These early writers, I argue, adapted the conventions of the travel narrative while relying on the authority of contemporary commercial practices. The early English travelers modified contemporary conventions of aesthetic representation by formulating their descriptions of non-European cultures in terms of the economic and political conventions and rivalries of the early eighteenth century. Early English travel literature, I demonstrate, functioned as a politically motivated medium that served both as a marker of authenticity, justifying the colonial and imperial ventures that would flourish in the nineteenth century, and as a forum for experimentation with English notions of gender and narrative authority.
Walker Percy differs from other American novelists in that he started writing fiction relatively late in life, after being trained as a physician and after considerable reading and writing in philosophy. Although critics have appreciated Percy's skills as a writer, they have seen Percy above all as a novelist of ideas, and, accordingly, the majority of critical articles and books about Percy has dealt with his themes, especially his philosophical themes, as well as with his philosophical sources. This study explores, therefore, the critical response to philosophical ideas in Percy's five novels to date, as evidenced first by reviews, then by the later articles and books. The critical response developed gradually as critics became aware of Percy's aims and pointed out his use of Christian existentialism and his attacks upon Cartesianism, Stoicism, and modern secular gnosticism. These critical evaluations of Percy's philosophical concerns have sometimes overshadowed interest in his more purely artistic concerns. However, the more a reader understands the underlying philosophical concepts that inform Percy's novels, the more he may understand what Percy is trying to say and the more he may appreciate Percy's accomplishment in expressing his philosophical ideas so skillfully in fictional form. Critics and readers may enjoy Percy's novels without knowing much about his philosophical ideas, but they cannot fully understand them. Thus this study concludes that the critical response to philosophical ideas in Percy's novels has done both Percy and Percy's readers a service.
My dissertation is a memoir based on my childhood experiences growing up with a mentally ill mother. She exhibited violence both passive and aggressive, and the memoir explores my relationship with her and my relationship with the world through her. "Damned Good Daughter" developed with my interest in creative nonfiction as a genre. I came to it after studying poetry, discovering that creative nonfiction offers a form that accommodates both the lyric impulse in poetry and the shaping impulse of story in fiction. In addition, the genre makes a place for the first person I in relation to the order and meaning of a life story. Using reverse chronology, my story begins with the present and regresses toward childhood, revealing the way life experiences with a mentally ill parent build on one another.
Poe's "The Fall of the House of Usher," as early as 1839, reveals an uneasiness about the space of the house. Most literary scholars accept that this anxiety exists and causes some tension, since it seems antithetical to another dominant motif, that of the power of place and the home as sanctuary. My critical persona, like Poe's narrator in "The House of Usher," looks into a dark, silent tarn and shudders to see in it not only the reflection of the House of Usher, but perhaps the whole of what is "Southern" in Southern Literature. Many characters who inhabit the worlds of Southern stories also inhabit houses that, like the House of Usher, are built on the faulty foundation of an ideological system that divides the world into inside(r)/outside(r) and along numerous other binary lines. The task of constructing the self in spaces that house such ideologies poses a challenge to the characters in the works under consideration in this study, and their success in doing so is dependant on their ability to speak authentically in the language of silence and to dwell instead of to just inhabit interior spaces. In my reading of Faulkner and Warren, this ideology of division is clearly to be at fault in the collapse of houses, just as it is seen to be in the House of Usher. This emphasis is especially conspicuous in several works, beginning with Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! and its (pre)text, "Evangeline." Warren carries the motif forward in his late novels, Flood and Meet Me in the Green Glen. I examine these works relative to spatial analysis and an aesthetic of absence, including an interpretation of silence as a mode of authentic saying. I then discuss these motifs as they are operating in Toni Morrison's Beloved, and finally take Song of ...
Jane Austen sprinkles deaths throughout her novels as plot devices and character indicators, but she does not tackle death directly. Yet death pervades her novels, in a subtle yet brutal way, in the lives of her female characters. Austen reveals that death was the definition and the destiny of women; it was the driving force behind the social and economic constructs that ruled the eighteenth-century woman's life, manifested in language, literature, religion, art, and even in a woman's doubts about herself. In Northanger Abbey Catherine Morland discovers that women, like female characters in gothic texts, are written and rewritten by the men whose language dominates them. Catherine herself becomes an example of real gothic when she is silenced and her spirit murdered by Henry Tilney. Marianne Dashwood barely escapes the powerful male constructs of language and literature in Sense and Sensibility. Marianne finds that the literal, maternal, wordless language of women counts for nothing in the social world, where patriarchal,figurative language rules, and in her attempt to channel her literal language into the social language of sensibility, she is placed in a position of more deadly nothingness, cast by society as a scorned woman and expected to die. Fanny Price in Mansfield Park is sacrificed as Eve, but in her death-like existence and in her rise to success she echoes Christ, who is ultimately a maternal figure that encapsulates the knowledge of the goddess, the knowledge that from death will come life. Emma Woodhouse in Emma discovers that her perfection, sanctioned by artistic standards, is really a means by which society eases its fears about death by projecting death onto women as a beautiful ideal. In Persuasion, Anne Elliotfindsthat women endure death while men struggle against it, and this endurance requires more courage than most men possess or understand. Austen's ...
This study discusses the evolution of the English country-house poem from its inception by Ben Jonson in "To Penshurst" to the present. It shows that in addition to stylistic and thematic borrowings primarily from Horace and Martial, traditional English values associated with the great hall and comitatus ideal helped define features of the English country-house poem, to which Jonson added the metonymical use of architecture. In the Jonsonian country-house poem, the country estate, exemplified by Penshurst, is a microcosm of the ideal English social organization characterized by interdependence, simplicity, service, hospitality, and balance between the active and contemplative life. Those poems which depart from the Jonsonian ideal are characterized by disequilibrium between the active and contemplative life, resulting in the predominance of artifice, subordination of nature, and isolation of art from the community, as exemplified by Thomas Carew's "To Saxham" and Richard Lovelace's "Amyntor's Grove." Architectural features of the English country house are examined to explain the absence of the Jonsonian country-house poem in the eighteenth century. The building tradition praised by Jonson gradually gave way to aesthetic considerations fostered by the professional architect and Palladian architecture, architectural patronage by the middle class, and change in identity of the country house as center of an interdependent community. The country-house poem was revived by W. B. Yeats in his poems in praise of Coole Park. In them Yeats reaffirms Jonsonian values. In contrast to the poems of Yeats, the country-house poems of Sacheverell Sitwell and John Hollander convey a sense of irretrievable loss of the Jonsonian ideal and isolation of the poet. Changing social patterns, ethical values, and aesthetics threaten the survival of the country-house poem, although the ideal continues to reflect a basic longing of humanity for a pastoral retreat where life is simple and innocent.
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.
Detective fiction highlights those qualities of masculinity that are most valuable to a contemporary culture. In mysteries a cultural context is more thoroughly revealed than in any other genre of literature. Through the crimes, an audience can understand not only the fears of a particular society but also the level of calumny that society assigns to a crime. As each generation has needed a particular set of qualities in its defense, so the detective has provided them. Through the detective's response to particular crimes, the reader can learn the delineation of forgivable and unforgivable acts. These detectives illustrate positive masculinity, proving that fiction has more uses than mere entertainment. In this paper, I trace four detectives, each from a different era. Sherlock Holmes lives to solve problems. His primary function is to solve a riddle. Lord Peter Wimsey takes on the moral question of why anyone should detect at all. His stories involve the difficulty of justifying putting oneself in the morally superior position of judge. The Mike Hammer stories treat the difficulty of dealing with criminals who use the law to protect themselves. They have perverted the protections of society, and Hammer must find a way to bring them to justice outside of the law. The Kate Martinelli stories focus more on the victims of crime than on the criminals. Martinelli discovers the motivations that draw a criminal toward a specific victim and explains what it is about certain victims that makes villains want to harm them. All of these detectives display the traditional traits of the Western male. They are hunters; they protect society as a whole. Yet each detective fulfills a certain cultural role that speaks to the specific problems of his or her era, proving that masculinity is a more fluid role than many have previously ...
Most primitive mythologies recognize that suffering can provide an opportunity for growth, but Western man has developed a mythology in which suffering is considered evil. He conceives of some power in the universe which will oppose evil and abolish it for him; God, and more recently science an, technology, were the hoped-for saviors that would rescue him. Both have been disappointing as saviors, and Western culture seems paralyzed by its confrontation with a future which seems death-filled. The primitive conception of death as that through which one passes in initiatory suffering has been unavailable because the mythologies in which it was framed are outdated. However, some post-World-War-II novels are reflecting a new mythology which recognizes the threat of death as the terrifying face the universe shows during initiation. A few of these novels tap deep psychological sources from which mythical images traditionally come and reflect the necessity of the passage through the hell of initiation without hope of a savior. One of the best of these is Wright Morris's The Field of Vision, in which the Scanlon story is a central statement of the mythological ground ahead. This gripping tale uses the pioneer journey west to tell of the mysterious passage the unconscious can make through the ccntempoorary desert to win the bride of life. It serves as an illuminator and normative guide for evaluating how other novels avoid or confront the initiatory hell. By the Scanlon standard, some contemporary mythology is escapist. Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.'s Cat's Cradle express the youthful desire to arrive almost automatically at a new age, either with help from a new Christ or through practicing a simplistic morality. Other novels tell of the agony of modern Grail questers who sense that a viable myth is possible, but ...
The worlds of Dickens's novels and of Darwin's science reveal striking similarity in spite of their involvement in different areas. The similarity comes from the fact that they shared the ethos of Victorian society: laissez-faire capitalism. In The Origin of Species, which was published on 1859, Charles Darwin theorizes that nature has evolved through the rules of natural selection, survival of the fittest, and the struggle for existence. Although his conclusion comes from the scientific evidence that was acquired from his five-year voyage, it is clear that Dawinian nature is reflected in cruel Victorian capitalism. Three novels of Charles Dickens which were published around 1859, Bleak House, Hard Times, and Our Mutual Friend, share Darwinian aspects in their fictional worlds. In Bleak House, the central image, the Court of Chancery as the background of the novel, resembles Darwinian nature which is anti-Platonic in essence. The characters in Hard Times are divided into two groups: the winners and the losers in the arena of survival. The winners survive in Coketown, and the losers disappear from the city. The rules controlling the fates of Coketown people are the same as the rules of Darwinian nature. Our Mutual Friend can be interpreted as a matter of money. In the novel, everything is connected with money, and the relationship among people is predation to get money. Money is the central metaphor of the novel and around the money, the characters kill and are killed like the nature of Darwin in which animals kill each other. When a dominant ideology of a particular period permeates ingredients of the society, nobody can escape the controlling power of the ideology. Darwin and Dickens, although they worked in different areas, give evidence that their works are products of the ethos of Victorian England.
David Mamet is best known as a playwright, but he also has a thriving film career, both as screenwriter and as director. He has taken very seriously each of these roles, formulating theories that, he suggests, account for the creative choices he makes. Though Mamet sometimes contradicts himself, as when he suggests that viewers should have the satisfaction of constructing their own meaning of a work, but at the same time is devoted to montage, which works by juxtaposing images that lead to a single interpretation, he clearly sees the story as a critical avenue into the spectator's unconscious, where he hopes it will resonate with a truth that speaks directly to the individual. His films House of Games, Things Change, and Homicide clearly reflect his ideas on the best ways of conveying a story on film. In House of Games, Mamet draws on Bruno Bettelheim's theories to construct a fairy tale designed to act on adult viewers in the same way that fairy tales act on the child. In Things Change, he creates a fable that explores issues of friendship and honor within the milieu of the gangster genre. And in Homicide, Mamet uses the expectations viewers bring to the theatre in anticipation of a genre film to explore themes of loyalty and identity. In Oleanna, however, Mamet relies heavily on exposition and dialogue, rather than the visual elements that separate the film from drama, which renders the film the antithesis of his long-held philosophy of film narrative. Mamet's best film work, in House of Games and Homicide, has been innovative and thought-provoking, bringing depth to the new noir and redefining the cop film. His work in Oleanna, though it may prove to be an anomaly, may suggest a surrender of his principles of filmmaking or a reformulation of ...
In "Discourse in the Novel," Mikhail Bakhtin tells us that "Every discourse presupposes a special conception of the listener, of his apperceptive background and the degree of his responsiveness." My study of Wallace Stevens's poetry examines Stevens's "conception of the listener"—in the form of his intratextual readers, their responsiveness, and the shapes that responsiveness takes—and attempts to formulate out of that examination Stevens's theory of reading embodied in his canon of poems.
"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.
This dissertation argues that the four writers named above use the grotesque to illustrate the increasingly peculiar consequences of the assault of modernity on traditional Southern culture. The basic conflict between the views of Bakhtin and Kayser provides the foundation for defining the grotesque herein, and Geoffrey Harpham's concept of "margins" helps to define interior and exterior areas for the discussion. Chapter 1 lays a foundation for why the South is different from other regions of America, emphasizing the influences of Anglo-Saxon culture and traditions brought to these shores by the English gentlemen who settled the earliest tidewater colonies as well as the later influx of Scots-Irish immigrants (the Celtic-Southern thesis) who settled the Piedmont and mountain regions. This chapter also notes that part of the South's peculiarity derives from the cultural conflicts inherent between these two groups. Chapters 2 through 5 analyze selected short fiction from each of these respective authors and offer readings that explain how the grotesque relates to the drastic social changes taking place over the half-century represented by these authors. Chapter 6 offers an evaluation of how and why such traditions might be preserved. The overall argument suggests that traditional Southern culture grows out of four foundations, i. e., devotion to one's community, devotion to one's family, devotion to God, and love of place. As increasing modernization and homogenization impact the South, these cultural foundations have been systematically replaced by unsatisfactory or confusing substitutes, thereby generating something arguably grotesque. Through this exchange, the grotesque has moved from the observably physical, as shown in the earlier works discussed, to something internalized that is ultimately depicted through a kind of intellectual if not physical stasis, as shown through the later works.
This study is an examination of the rhetorical concept of the dialectic as it is realized in selected works of North American dystopian literature. The dialectic is one of the main factors in curtailing enlightenment rationalism which, taken to an extreme, would deny man freedom while claiming to bestow freedom upon him. The focus of this dissertation is on an analysis of twentieth-century dystopias and the dialectic of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor parable which is a precursor to dystopian literature. The Grand Inquisitor parable of The Brothers Karamazov is a blueprint for dystopian states delineated in anti-utopian fiction. Also, Dostoevsky's parable constitutes a powerful dialectical struggle between polar opposites which are presented in the following twentieth-century dystopias: Zamiatin's Me, Bradbury's Farenheit 451, Vonnegut's Player Piano, and Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. The dialectic in the dystopian genre presents a give and take between the opposites of faith and doubt, liberty and slavery, and it often presents the individual of the anti-utopian state with a choice. When presented with the dialectic, then, the individual is presented with the capacity to make a real choice; therefore, he is presented with a hope for salvation in the totalitarian dystopias of modern twentieth-century literature.
A creative dissertation consisting of two parts: a novel and a critical preface. The critical preface, titled “Novel without Falsehood” deals directly with David Shields’s Reality Hunger, touching on issues of reality as it pertains to truth, writing, fiction, and contemporary culture. The novel is entitled Down and Out and follows the fortunes of a small town in Arkansas before, during, and after its sole source of employment ceases to exist.
A work of creative fiction in novella form, this dissertation follows the first-person travails of Mitch Zeller, a 26-year-old gay man who is faced with an unexpected choice. The dissertation opens with a preface which examines the form of the novella and the content of this particular work.
The study inquires into the dynamic relationship between Protestantism and culture in The Faerie Oueene. The American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr makes penetrating analyses of the relationship between man's cultural potentials and the insights of Protestant Christianity which greatly illuminate how Spenser searches for a comprehensive religious, ethical, political, and social vision for the Christian community of Protestant England. But Spenser maintains the tension between culture and Christianity to the end, refusing to offer a merely coherent system of principles based on the doctrine of Christianity.
This dissertation explores Elizabeth Barrett's dependency on the archetypal Victorian patriarch. Chapter I focuses on the psychological effects of this father-daughter relationship on Elizabeth Barrett. Chapter II addresses Barrett's acceptance of the conventional female role, which is suggested by the nature and the situation of the women she chooses to depict. These women are placed in situations where they can reveal their devotion to family, their capacity for passive endurance, and their wish to resist. Almost always, they choose death as an alternative to life where a powerful father figure is present. Chapter III concentrates on the highly sentimental images of women and children whom Barrett places in a divine order, where they exist untouched by the concerns of the social order of which they are a part. Chapter IV shows that the conventional ideologies of the time, society's commitment to the "angel in the house," and the small number of female role models before her increase her difficulty to find herself a place within this order. Chapter V discusses Aurora Leigh's mission to find herself an identity and to maintain the connection with her father or father substitute. Despite Elizabeth Barrett's desire to break away from her paternal ties and to establish herself as an independent woman and poet, her unconditional loyalty and love towards her father and her tremendous need for his affection, and the security he provides restrain her resistance and surface the child in her.
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.
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