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Corporate Christians and Terrible Turks: Economics, Aesthetics, and the Representation of Empire in the Early British Travel Narrative, 1630 - 1780

Description: 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.
Date: December 2003
Creator: Abunasser, Rima Jamil

Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

Description: For Muscogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, poetry is a real world force that can empower the reader by utilizing mythic memory, recovery of history, and a spiral journey to regain communal identity. Her poetic career transforms from early lyric poems to a hybridized form of prosody, prose, and myth to accommodate and to reflect Harjo's concerns as they progress from personal, to tribal, and then to global. She often employs a witnessing strategy to combat the trauma caused by racism in order to create the possibility for renewal and healing. Furthermore, Harjo's poetry combats forces that seek to define Native American existence negatively. To date, Harjo's poetic works create a myth that will refocus humanity's attention on the way in which historical meaning is produced and the way difference is encountered. In an effort to revise the dominant stories told about Indians, Harjo privileges the idea that Native Americans are present and human, and it is this sense of humanity that pervades her poetry. Sequentially, Joy Harjo's volumes of poetry-She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)-create a regenerative cycle that combats the effects of oppressive history and racism. Through her poetry, violent and tragic events are transformed into moments of hope and renewal. Her collections are powerful testimonies of endurance and survival. They directly defy the stereotype of the "vanishing" or "stoic" Indian, but more importantly, they offer regeneration and grace to all peoples. The poems create a map to help navigate the multiple simultaneous realms of existence, to find a way to travel through the barriers that separate existence. In this dissertation, I employ various reading strategies to support my contentions. Blending a postcolonial standpoint with feminism, I believe Harjo uses a feminist ethnic bildungsroman to ...
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Rose-Vails, Shannon

Outer Reaches of the Palindrome

Description: This work is an exploration into the palindrome, both as a literary form and an expression of infinity. The first two chapters address the fascinating manner in which the mind contextualizes fragments of speech and ludicrous grammatical implications that are spawned by the poetic structure of the palindrome (third chapter). The thesis then departs from the literary aspect of the palindrome and focuses in the fourth chapter on structural likenesses in psychology and mythology. The fifth chapter argues the palindrome and parallel conceptual structures as examples of recursion, then presents examples of recursion in language/grammar, art, and computer science. The sixth chapter uses instances of the recursive equiangular spiral throughout nature to introduce recursion and therefore the palindrome as an archetypal expression of infinity. The thesis ends with a list of the author's palindromes.
Date: December 2003
Creator: McConnell, Michael Constantine