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"Notes for the Manual Assembly"

Description: A collection of poems that seeks the balance between imagination and reality that Wallace Stevens calls for in art, with a preface exploring Elaine Scarry's On Beauty and Being Just through the work of two contemporary poets.
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Murray, Jessica

"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 ...
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Date: May 2018
Creator: Peters, Clinton Crockett

"Failure to Yield": Essays

Description: Failure to Yield is a collection of creative nonfiction that explores themes of presence and emotional connection and expression. The seven essays, which include three flash essays, explore the themes by reflecting on such topics as marriage, parent-child relationships and addiction. The collection is woven together by the author's relationships with her parents and children and by her experiences growing up in a small town in Iowa.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Siegfried, Cary Ann

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, ...
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Ponce, Timothy Matthew

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 ...
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Cephus, Heidi Nicole

Xenotopia: Death and Displacement in the Landscape of Nineteenth-Century American Authorship

Description: This dissertation is an examination of the interiority of American authorship from 1815–1866, an era of political, social, and economic instability in the United States. Without a well-defined historical narrative or an established literary lineage, writers drew upon death and the American landscape as tropes of unity and identification in an effort to define the nation and its literary future. Instead of representing nationalism or collectivism, however, the authors in this study drew on landscapes and death to mediate the crises of authorial displacement through what I term "xenotopia," strange places wherein a venerated American landscape has been disrupted or defamiliarized and inscribed with death or mourning. As opposed to the idealized settings of utopia or the environmental degradation of dystopia, which reflect the positive or negative social currents of a writer's milieu, xenotopia record the contingencies and potential problems that have not yet played out in a nation in the process of self-definition. Beyond this, however, xenotopia register as an assertion of agency and literary definition, a way to record each writer's individual and psychological experience of authorship while answering the call for a new definition of American literature in an indeterminate and undefined space.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Lewis, Darcy Hudelson

"A Kind of Ghost"

Description: A mosaic of past and present, mother and daughter, body and spirit: A Kind of Ghost inhabits memory and imagined spaces, haunting and begging to be remembered.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Pilcher, Lauren

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.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Jeffrey, Anthony Cole

"Second Life, Second Chance"

Description: This is a collection of two stories, one fiction and one non-fiction, in communication with one another. Both stories explore how trauma can transform a life. In "Tabula Rasa," Mena is unable to recall her past after being beaten and left for dead. She must choose whether to uncover her past or forget it and move forward with her life. Set in a town run by witches, Mena learns that both choices are dangerous. In "Eternal Second," the narrator recounts the aftermath of her husband's suicide. She explores how trauma invades all aspects of her life. In both stories, women must navigate a new life created by the destruction of the old one.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Beattie, Jessica Kathrine

"Momentarium"

Description: "Momentarium" is a collection of poems that examines the instability of moments. By engaging with photography, the poems examine the strengths and flaws in representation. Qualified accuracy, in other words representations that exact no absolute authenticity, are paradoxically, most accurate. The original poems attempt to express both empathy an end to empathy, "I mean to give you what you cannot keep: a blue twice as true" and "I mean to give you what I cannot." The competing forces animate a contingent moment, before it becomes the past.
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Date: August 2017
Creator: Zuehlke, Karl

"Spectral Evidence"

Description: Spectral Evidence is a collection of poems that instigates a variety of omens, signs, divinations, and folktales to explore the concept of wish fulfillment. They arise in obedience to the compulsion to repeat past dramas brought on by failed love, the nostalgia of childhood, the damning legacy of language, the restriction of gender roles, death, etc. In order to quell these anxieties, the speaker looks beyond the self to both history and mythology, often invented mythologies as an attempt to control or recast the story-to give shape to the obscurities of life by creating a system of belief in order to forge meaning or confuse oneself into believing. In many ways this collection is all about belief or in wanting to believe. Through language, God is written into existence. God is the name of the blanket we put over the mystery to give it shape. Here, in this collection, God is an ant's egg. a cherry pit, a colony of white moths, a severed hand, the color red, a little bird. This collection explores these vehicles of meaning, the words that provide the shell of meaning, and the power of invention in hopes to gain control over what is deemed uncontrollable. While the speaker may be casting omens as "pre-ordained" entities outside of her power, it is her convictions in these signs that her own psychological and associative link between their meaning and their appearance that she conjures and creates because the existing systems of language, religion, and belief do not serve her. This creation is what is powerful. It is healing. It is birth. It is not involuntary wish fulfillment. It is the deliberative satisfaction of desire-on of the most insurrectionary acts a woman can execute.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Edwards, Trista Marie

Misrecognized and Misplaced: Race Performed in African American Literature, 1900-2015

Description: In my dissertation, I explore the ways in which racial identity is made complex through various onlookers' misrecognition of race. This issue is particularly important considering the current state of race relations in the United States, as my project offers a literary perspective and account of the way black authors have discussed racial identity formation from the turn of the century through the start of the twenty-first century. I highlight many variations of misrecognition and racial performance as a response to America's obsession with race.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Taylor Juko, Tana

"That Every Christian May Be Suited": Isaac Watts's Hymns in the Writings of Early Mohegan Writers, Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson

Description: This thesis considers how Samson Occom and Joseph Johnson, Mohegan writers in Early America, used the hymns of English hymnodist, Isaac Watts. Each chapter traces how either Samson Occom or Joseph Johnson's adapted Isaac Watts's hymns for Native communities and how these texts are sites of affective sovereignty.
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Date: May 2017
Creator: Ridley, Sarah Elizabeth

"How Can We Know the Dancer from the Dance?": Cognitive Poetics and the Poetry of William Butler Yeats

Description: Cognitive poetics, the recently developed field of literary theory which utilizes principles from cognitive science and cognitive linguistics to examine literature, is applied in this study to an exploration of the poetry of William Butler Yeats. The theoretical foundation for this approach is embodiment theory, the concept from cognitive linguistics that language is an embodied phenomenon and that meaning and meaning construction are bodily processes grounded in our sensorimotor experiences. A systematic analysis including conceptual metaphors, image schemas, cognitive mappings, mental spaces, and cognitive grammar is applied here to selected poems of Yeats to discover how these models can inform our readings of these poems. Special attention is devoted to Yeats's interest in the mind's eye, his crafting of syntax in stanzaic development, his atemporalization through grammar, and the antinomies which converge in selected symbols from his poems.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Pagel, Amber Noelle

Clocks and Mirrors

Description: The essays featured in this collection highlight the gaps, as well as parallels, between mental illness and the human condition. In "Appearances," the narrator struggles with her own visual identity especially after reflecting on her Mom's own lengthy history with the mirror. In "Migrations," the lyrical voice of the narrator carries the reader through the typical day of a clinically depressed female character. Lastly, "Attempting the Fall," addresses the issues society has with mental illness by following the narrator from her suicide attempt to the mental ward.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Thies, Jaclyn Michele

Wake

Description: Preface: A consideration of the New Sincerity movement in contemporary American poetics in the work of Tao Lin, Matt Hart, and Dorothea Lasky. Creative work: A three section book of poetry exploring elegy, form, and the intersection of strangeness and domesticity.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Beard, Christopher Aaron

Unclean Slates: Stories

Description: Unclean Slates: Stories is a collection of seven short stories that comments on the nature of family ties, and how such ties help form a sense of identity. Each story focuses on a separate protagonist, all of whom strive for a new beginning or an escape from some aspect of their current lives. The short story cycle of this collection is held together not by place or characters, but ultimately by the theme of wishing for a new beginning: they share a desire to fix some dissatisfying element of their lives. Mostly from the point of view of blue-collar characters leading mundane middle-class lives, these stories provide commentary on what it means to run from the conditions that make up one's sense of identity. Most of the revelations formed throughout these stories lead to a sense of acceptance of these conditions, and an understanding that family and history make up part of human consciousness. While the specific locations presented in these stories are not necessarily the same, each story seeks to focus on a location that proves to be fundamental to the makeup of the protagonist. The cities and geographic locations themselves are not as important as the specifics: the schools, diners, lakes, and so forth where these characters find themselves contemplating their disillusionment about where their lives have brought them. Facing everything from postpartum depression to simply missing out on a career opportunity, these characters all experience a sense of loss that brings them together in a way that is recognizable to the reader as the collection progresses.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Gollahon, Catherine

"Refugees" and Others

Description: Refugees, a novel in progress, begins in the collective first-person with a group of people who live on the same residential street of middle-class homes in an east coast American city and are experiencing the most exquisitely vivid aurora borealis to appear in recorded history. But they quickly learn that this gorgeous wonder is a harbinger of civilization's demise and possibly the end of all life on the planet, because the solar storms causing the sky's fantastic nightly coloring is also slowly stripping away the atmosphere and leeching oxygen into space. This "we" narrative switches to third person, moving between two characters—Julie and Amira—as the narrative moves forward. The first chapter covers the first few months of this apocalyptic crisis, and Julie and Amira are central as they are forced decide if they still have the strength and the will to even attempt survival in these new and brutal circumstances. The second chapter, also told in third person, picks up seventeen years in the future with Aya, Amira's daughter who was six during the initial atmospheric disaster. A small group survived in an underwater refuge, recently discovered the atmosphere above had healed over time, and sent an excursion group, including Aya, to evaluate the changing environment. This chapter reveals the history and particular struggles of these characters living in this complex society, both residual and nascent. The third chapter returns to the group of neighbors—including Julie and Amira—seventeen years prior, immediately following the catastrophic event as their story continues to unfold. This chapter opens, like the first chapter, in the "we" voice, tracing the movement of the group south in a search for help and a desperate, though orderly, effort toward survival. This next phase of their journey introduces fresh conflicts and new characters and points to approaching challenges and ...
Date: December 2016
Creator: Campbell, Erin

"Counting Out The Harvest"

Description: "Counting Out The Harvest" is a collection of poems exploring intimate encounters. The poems reflect on encounters with memories, family, and the natural and cosmic worlds. In one of the poems, "Red-Throated Anole," the speaker works desperately to save a small dying lizard. In "Ice Storm, Post-Divorce," the speaker attempts to decipher a cluster of ladybugs taking refuge in her room. In the title poem, a couple wonders patiently if their crop will eventually grow. In each of these poems there is a present longing for the construction of a meaningful identity by means of the encounter, but the intersection between speaker and world falls short of satisfaction, whether the faultiness lies in the body's inability to find full sustenance, or in the ever-changing fluidity of memory to find stability. But the poems progress from pressing against this difficulty toward finding a contented resignation to the world's cyclical order. The final line of the manuscript, "disrobe a layer to begin again," indicates an arrival at satisfaction, which is found ultimately in continuation.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Lischau, Carol

"Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining"

Description: A collection of poems that are history- and place-infused lyrical songs that that sounds the landscapes and distances of the South, with a critical preface that explores erotic encounters with the divine.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Wagenaar, Mark

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.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Wagenaar, Chelsea