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Robert Penn Warren's Archetypal Triptych: A Study of the Myths of the Garden, the Journey, and Rebirth in The Cave, Wilderness, and Flood

Description: Robert Penn Warren, historian, short story writer, teacher, critic, poet, and novelist, has received favorable attention from literary critics as well as the general reading public. This attention is merited, in part, by Warren's narrative skill and by his use of imagery. A study of his novels reveals that his narrative technique and his imagery are closely related to his interest in myth.
Date: December 1971
Creator: Phillips, Billie Ray Sudberry, 1937-

Absalom, Absalom! A Study of Structure

Description: 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.
Date: August 1973
Creator: Major, Sylvia Beth Bigby

A Study of "The Rhyming Poem": Text, Interpretation, and Christian Context

Description: The purpose of the research presented here is to discover the central concept of "The Rhyming Poem," an Old English Christian work known only from a 10th-century manuscript, and to establish the poem's natural place in the body of Old English poetry. Existing critical literature shows little agreement about the poem's origin, vocabulary, plot, or first-person narrator, and no single translation has satisfactorily captured a sense of the poem's unity or of the purposeful vision behind it. The examination of text and context here shows that the Old English poet has created a unified vision in which religious teachings are artistically related through imagery and form. He worked in response to a particular set of conditions in early Church history, employing both pagan and Christian details to convey a message of the superiority of Christianity to idol-worship and, as well, of the validity of the Augustinian position on Original Sin over that of the heretical Pelagians.
Date: May 1986
Creator: Turner, Kandy M. (Kandy Morrow)

The Path to Paradox: The Effects of the Falls in Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Conrad's "Lord Jim"

Description: This study arranges symptoms of polarity into a causal sequence# beginning with the origin of contrarieties and ending with the ultimate effect. The origin is considered as the fall of man, denoting both a mythic concept and a specific act of betrayal. This study argues that a sense of separateness precedes the fall or act of separation; the act of separation produces various kinds of fragmentation; and the fragments are reunited through paradox. Therefore, a causal relationship exists between the "fall" motif and the concept of paradox.
Date: May 1987
Creator: Mathews, Alice (Alice McWhirter)

Language and Identity in Post-1800 Irish Drama

Description: Using a sociolinguistic and post-colonial approach, I analyze Irish dramas that speak about language and its connection to national identity. In order to provide a systematic and wide-ranging study, I have selected plays written at approximately fifty-year intervals and performed before Irish audiences contemporary to their writing. The writers selected represent various aspects of Irish society--religiously, economically, and geographically--and arguably may be considered the outstanding theatrical Irish voices of their respective generations. Examining works by Alicia LeFanu, Dion Boucicault, W.B. Yeats, and Brian Friel, I argue that the way each of these playwrights deals with language and identity demonstrates successful resistance to the destruction of Irish identity by the dominant language power. The work of J. A. Laponce and Ronald Wardhaugh informs my language dominance theory. Briefly, when one language pushes aside another language, the cultural identity begins to shift. The literature of a nation provides evidence of the shifting perception. Drama, because of its performance qualities, provides the most complex and complete literary evidence. The effect of the performed text upon the audience validates a cultural reception beyond what would be possible with isolated readers. Following a theoretical introduction, I analyze the plays in chronological order. Alicia LeFanu's The Sons of Erin; or, Modern Sentiment (1812) gently pleads for equal treatment in a united Britain. Dion Boucicault's three Irish plays, especially The Colleen Bawn (1860) but also Arrah-na-Pogue (1864) and The Shaughraun (1875), satirically conceal rebellious nationalist tendencies under the cloak of melodrama. W. B. Yeats's The Countess Cathleen (1899) reveals his romantic hope for healing the national identity through the powers of language. However, The Only Jealousy of Emer (1919) and The Death of Cuchulain (1939) reveal an increasing distrust of language to mythically heal Ireland. Brian Friel's Translations (1980), supported by The Communication Cord (1982) and Making ...
Date: May 1994
Creator: Duncan, Dawn E. (Dawn Elaine)

The Monstrance: A Collection of Poems

Description: These poems deconstruct Mary Shelley's monster from a spiritually Chthonian, critically post-structuralist creative stance. But the process here is not simple disruption of the original discourse; this poetry cycle transforms the monster's traditional body, using what pieces are left from reception/vivisection to reconstruct, through gradual accretion, new authority for each new form, each new appendage.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Dietrich, Bryan D. (Bryan David)

American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional

Description: 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.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Kisawadkorn, Kriengsak

(Broken) Promises

Description: 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.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Champion, Laurie, 1959-

Plain and Ugly Janes: the Rise of the Ugly Woman in Contemporary American Fiction

Description: Women characters in American literature of the nineteenth century form an overwhelmingly lovely group, but a search through some of the overlooked works reveals a thin but discernible thread of plain, even homely, heroines. Most of these fall into the stereotypical "old maid" category, and, like their real-life counterparts, these "undesirable" women are considered failures, even if they have money or satisfying careers, because they do not have boyfriends, husbands, or children. During the twentieth century, the old maid figure develops into someone not just homely, but downright ugly; in addition, the number of these characters increases, especially in the latter half of the century. In many works written since the 1960s, the woman's ugliness is such an intrinsic part of the story that it could not take place if she were beautiful. In subtle ways, these "ugly woman" stories begin to question the overwhelming value placed on beauty, to question the narrow definition of beauty in American society as a whole, and to suggest that the price for such a "blessing" might indeed be too high. Rather than settling for being a mere "heroine"—which still carries feminine connotations of passive behavior and second-class status—the ugly woman's increase in power over her own life and the lives of others, allows her to achieve a status more in keeping with the more "masculine" and active role of hero.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Wright, Charlotte M.

Richard Wilbur and the Poetry of Apocalyptic Interstices

Description: In my dissertation I assert that Wilbur's poetry is not so much an attempt to balance spiritual and physical realities as an attempt to mine the richness that exists in the boundary between the two worlds. I also examine and comment on his poetry that exists in the space created by other apocalyptic interstices as well.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Compton, Randall D. (Randall Dean), 1964-

The Ties that Bind : Breaking the Bonds of Victimization in the Novels of Barbara Pym, Fay Weldon and Margaret Atwood

Description: In this study of several novels each by Barbara Pym, Fay Weldon, and Margaret Atwood, I focus on two areas: the ways in which female protagonists break out of their victimization by individuals, by institutions, and by cultural tradition, and the ways in which each author uses a structural pattern in her novels to propel her characters to solve their dilemmas to the best of their abilities and according to each woman's personality and strengths.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Rathburn, Fran M. (Frances Margaret), 1948-

Orality-Literacy Theory and the Victorian Sermon

Description: In this study, I expand the scope of the scholarship that Walter Ong and others have done in orality-literacy relations to examine the often uneasy juxtaposition of the oral and written traditions in the literature of the Victorian pulpit. I begin by examining the intersections of the oral and written traditions found in both the theory and the practice of Victorian preaching. I discuss the prominent place of the sermon within both the print and oral cultures of Victorian Britain; argue that the sermon's status as both oration and essay places it in the genre of "oral literature"; and analyze the debate over the extent to which writing should be employed in the preparation and delivery of sermons.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Ellison, Robert H. (Robert Howard)

Interactions Between Texts, Illustrations, and Readers: The Empiricist, Imperialist Narratives and Polemics of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Description: While literary critics heretofore have subordinated Conan Doyle to more "canonical" writers, the author argues that his writings enrich our understanding of the ways in which Victorians and Edwardians constructed their identity as imperialists and that we therefore cannot afford to overlook Conan Doyle's work.
Date: December 1995
Creator: Favor, Lesli J.

Morality in Six Novels of Martin Amis

Description: Six novels of Martin Amis--The Rachel Papers, Dead Babies, Success, Money: A Suicide Note, London Fields, and The Information--are analyzed to determine to what extent they uphold moral standards traditional in Western society, particularly the categories of virtue that have descended from Aristotle and Aquinas. Thus the novels are analyzed in relation to what they show about the three theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, the cardinal virtues of prudence, temperance, courage, and justice, and the intellectual virtues of knowledge, art, skill, and understanding. Nearly all of these virtues turn out to be important in varying degrees. Faith and hope are mocked, and courage is given incidental attention. The other virtues, however, are strongly upheld, including prudence and temperance, and particularly love, justice, and the intellectual virtues. In the earlier novels, the protagonists understand love between adults egoistically, only as romance or sexual passion, with emphasis not on the welfare of the other but on getting what one wants. The need for parental love is upheld, however, with a clear understanding that its lack produces danger for the children and for society. The protagonists pity the weak, but have little understanding of love as self-sacrifice. Ego-based justice predominates as the primary motive—obtaining what the self thinks is deserved. The intellectual virtues then become servants of this self-centered justice rather than servants of others-centered love. Though the extreme results of this situation are decried, especially in Dead Babies, generally the protagonists do not realize the extent of their egoism and lack of love. In London Fields and The Information, self-sacrifice, particularly for the sake of children, emerges, and what little hope there is is invested in family love. Love between adults is still largely justice-based, but there is some evidence that all the virtues, including justice and intellect, are subordinated ...
Date: May 1996
Creator: Snyder, Cara L. (Cara Lynn), 1947-

"Mislike Me not for My Complexion": Shakespearean Intertextuality in the Works of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women

Description: Caliban, the ultimate figure of linguistic and racial indeterminacy in The Tempest, became for African-American writers a symbol of colonial fears of rebellion against oppression and southern fears of black male sexual aggression. My dissertation thus explores what I call the "Calibanic Quadrangle" in essays and novels by Anna Julia Cooper, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins. The figure of Caliban allows these authors to inflect the sentimental structure of the novel, to elevate Calibanic utterance to what Cooper calls "crude grandeur and exalted poesy," and to reveal the undercurrent of anxiety in nineteenth-century American attempts to draw rigid racial boundaries. The Calibanic Quadrangle enables this thorough critique because it allows the black woman writer to depict the oppression of the "Other," southern fears of black sexuality, the division between early black and white women's issues, and the enduring innocence of the progressive, educated, black female hero ~ all within the legitimized boundaries of the Shakespearean text, which provides literary authority to the minority writer. I call the resulting Shakespearean intertextuality a Quadrangle because in each of these African-American works a Caliban figure, a black man or "tragic mulatto" who was once "petted" and educated, struggles within a hostile environment of slavery and racism ruled by the Prospero figure, the wielder of "white magic," who controls reproduction, fears miscegenation, and enforces racial hierarchy. The Miranda figure, associated with the womb and threatened by the specter of miscegenation, advocates slavery and perpetuates the hostile structure. The Ariel figure, graceful and ephemeral, usually the "tragic mulatta" and a slave, desires her freedom and complements the Caliban figure. Each novel signals the presence of the paradigm by naming at least one character from The Tempest (Caliban in Cooper's A Voice from the South; "Mirandy" in Harper's Iola Leroy; Prospero in Hopkins's ...
Date: August 1996
Creator: Birge, Amy Anastasia

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Quest for the Father

Description: 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.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Yegenoglu, Dilara

The Monomythic Journey of the Feminie Hero in the Novels of Anita Brookner

Description: Joseph Campbell, in The Hero with a Thousand Faces, establishes a pattern for the hero to answer the call to adventure, ask the question of the goddess and receive her boon, and return to his homeland. Campbell does not, however, make any suggestions about a myth whose protagonist is female. Erich Neumann, in The Origins and History of Consciousness, hints that the woman may, indeed, be her own goddess, that she must give herself the boon she already carries. The novels of Anita Brookner illustrate the dual nature of the feminine protagonist: the seeker and the boon giver. The feminine hero (even when Brookner's protagonist is masculine, he exhibits feminine qualities) hears the call to adventure, receives the teachings of the goddess and/or her representative, receives help fromother beings (in myth these would be supernatural beings), realizes that she carries the answer to the cosmic question of selfhood within her, and, following an apotheosis, makes a return to society. Much of the present work is spent delving into both the monomythic and feminist structures of Brookner's novels. Although Brookner characterizes herself as a "reluctant feminist," examination of her novels reveals a subtle adherence to feminist principles which can be ascertained by viewing each novel in terms of the monomyth schema.
Date: December 1996
Creator: Rutledge, Mary E. (Mary Elizabeth)

Pre-Feminist Indicators in Margaret Oliphant's Early Responses to the Woman Question

Description: Margaret Oliphant's fiction has generated some interest in recent years, but her prose essays have been ignored. Critics contend her essays are unimportant and dismiss Oliphant as a hack writer who had little sympathy with her sex. These charges are untrue, however, because many influences complicated Oliphant's writings on the Woman Question. She suffered recurring financial difficulties and gender discrimination, she lacked formal education, and most of her work was published by Blackwood's, a conservative, male-oriented periodical edited by a close personal friend. Readers who are aware of these influences find Oliphant's earliest three essays about the Woman Question especially provocative because in them Oliphant explored the dichotomy between the perceived and the real lives of women. Oliphant refined her opinions each time she wrote on the Woman Question, and a more coherent, more clearly feminist, perspective emerges in each succeeding article. In "The Laws Concerning Women," despite Oliphant's apparent position, pre-feminist markers suggest that she is tentative about feminist ideas rather than negative towards them. "The Condition of Women" offers even more prefeminist markers, Oliphant's ostensible support of the patriarchal status quo notwithstanding. In "The Great Unrepresented," an article cited by some as proof that Oliphant was against women's suffrage, she argues not against enfranchising women, but against the method proposed for securing the vote. In this article, many pre-feminist markers have become decidedly feminist. Scholars may have overlooked Oliphant's feminism because her rhetorical strategies are more complicated than those of most other Victorian critics and invite her audience to read between the lines. Although her writing sometimes lacks unity and focus, and her prose is often turgid, convoluted, and digressive, she creates elaborate inverse arguments with claims supporting patriarchy but evidence that supports feminism. A rich feminist subtext lies beneath the surface text of Oliphant's essays, demonstrating that ...
Date: December 1996
Creator: Spencer, Sandra L.

Into the Woods: Wilderness Imagery as Representation of Spiritual and Emotional Transition in Medieval Literature

Description: Wilderness landscape, a setting common in Romantic literature and painting, is generally overlooked in the art of the Middle Ages. While the medieval garden and the city are well mapped, the medieval wilderness remains relatively trackless. Yet the use of setting to represent interior experience may be traced back to the Neo-Platonic use of space and movement to define spiritual development. Separating themselves as far as possible from the material world, such writers as Origen and Plotinus avoided use of representational detail in their spatial models; however, both the visual artists and the authors who adopted the Neo-Platonic paradigm, elaborated their emotional spaces with the details of the classical locus amoenus and of the exegetical desert, while retaining the philosophical concern with spiritual transition. Analysis of wilderness as an image for spiritual and emotional transition in medieval literature and art relates the texts to an iconographic tradition which, along with motifs of city and garden, provides a spatial representation of interior progress, as the medieval dialectic process provides a paradigm for intellectual resolution. Such an analysis relates the motif to the core of medieval intellectual experience, and further suggests significant connections between medieval and modern narratives in regard to the representation of interior experience. The Divine Comedy and related Continental texts employ both classical and exegetical sources in the representation of psychological transition and spiritual conversion. Similar techniques are also apparent in English texts such as Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon elegies, in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess, The House of Fame, and Troilus and Criseyde, and in the northern English The Pearl and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. These literary texts, further, include both ideas and techniques which are analogous to those of visual arts, where frescos and altarpieces show the wilderness as metaphor for transition, and ...
Date: August 1997
Creator: Sholty, Janet Poindexter

Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy

Description: In Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy, I contend that McCarthy's literary aesthetic develops and changes as he moves from Tennessee to Texas. McCarthy's conspicuous Southern and Southwestern regional affiliations have led critics to expect his works to recapitulate native history, traditions, and myths. Yet, McCarthy transcends provincial regionalism by challenging the creation of the regional and national myths we confuse with our actual histories and identities. McCarthy's fictions point away from accepted histories and point instead to figures marginalized by society and myth makers. These figures, according to McCarthy, are just as much a part of the creation of myth as those figures indelibly imprinted on our consciousness by literary and historical tradition. My dissertation, in many respects, focuses on McCarthy's debunking of both literary and historical tradition, and his concomitant revitalization of American identity.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Wegner, John M. (John Michael)

East, West, Somewhere in the Middle

Description: 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.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Behlen, Shawn Lee

The Politics of Romance: Henry James's Social (Un)Conscious

Description: This study addresses the ideological properties of the two main modal strains in fictional representation of romance and realism in order to provide an antidote to the currently extremely negative view of the representational function of fiction. In the course of the discussion, three received positions in traditional literary criticism are challenged. Firstly, the view of literary form as ideology-free is undermined by demonstrating the ideological properties of the two modes. Secondly, the realism/romance binary opposition regarding the mode of fictional representation is critiqued by both uncovering the misconception of the former's competence for transparent representation and evincing the two modes' ideologically interactive relation. Lastly, the categorization of Henry James as an aesthete is problematized by historicizing and socializing his three texts.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Kim, Bong-Gwang

The Rhetoric of Posthumanism in Four Twentieth-Century International Novels

Description: The dissertation traces the trope of the incomplete character in four twentieth-century cosmopolitan novels that reflect European colonialism in a global context. I argue that, by creating characters sharply aware of the insufficiency of the Self and thus constantly seeking the constitutive participation of the Other, the four authors E. M. Forster, Samuel Beckett, J. M. Coetzee, and Congwen Shen all dramatize the incomplete character as an agent of postcolonial resistance to Western humanism that, tending to enforce the divide between the Self and the Other, provided the epistemological basis for the emergence of European colonialism. For example, Fielding's good-willed aspiration to forge cross-cultural friendship in A Passage to India; Murphy's dogged search for recognition of his Irish identity in Murphy; Susan's unfailing compassion to restore Friday's lost speech in Foe; and Changshun Teng, the Chinese orange-grower's warm-hearted generosity toward his customers in Long River--all these textual occasions dramatize the incomplete character's anxiety over the Other's rejection that will impair the fullness of his or her being, rendering it solitary and empty. I relate this anxiety to the theory of "posthumanism" advanced by such thinkers as Marx, Bakhtin, Sartre, and Lacan; in their texts the humanist view of the individual as an autonomous constitution has undergone a transformation marked by the emphasis on locating selfhood not in the insular and static Self but in the mutable middle space connecting the Self and the Other.
Date: August 1998
Creator: Lin, Lidan