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Lollardy and Eschatology: English Literature c. 1380-1430

Description: In this dissertation, I examine the various ways in which medieval authors used the term "lollard" to mean something other than "Wycliffite." In the case of William Langland's Piers Plowman, I trace the usage of the lollard-trope through the C-text and link it to Langland's dependence on the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares. Regarding Chaucer's Parson's Tale, I establish the orthodoxy of the tale's speaker by comparing his tale to contemporaneous texts of varying orthodoxy, and I link the Parson's being referred to as a "lollard" to the eschatological message of his tale. In the chapter on The Book of Margery Kempe, I examine that the overemphasis on Margery's potential Wycliffism causes everyone in The Book to overlook her heretical views on universal salvation. Finally, in comparing some of John Lydgate's minor poems with the macaronic sermons of Oxford, MS Bodley 649, I establish the orthodox character of late-medieval English anti-Wycliffism that these disparate works share. In all, this dissertation points up the eschatological character of the lollard-trope and looks at the various ends to which medieval authors deployed it.
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Date: December 2018
Creator: Regetz, Timothy

Rearranging an Infinite Universe: Literary Misprision and Manipulations of Space and Time, 1750-1850

Description: This project explores the intersection of literature and science from the mid-eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century in the context of this shift in conceptions of space and time. Confronted with the rapid and immense expansion of space and time, eighteenth and nineteenth-century philosophers and authors sought to locate humans' relative position in the vast void. Furthermore, their attempts to spatially and temporally map the universe led to changes in perceptions of the relationship between the exterior world and the interior self. In this dissertation I focus on a few important textual monuments that serve as landmarks on this journey. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the intersection of literary and scientific texts transformed perceptions of space and time. These transformations then led to further advancements in the way scientific knowledge was articulated. Imagination became central to scientific writing at the same time it came to dominate literary writing. My project explores these intersecting influences among literature, astronomy, cosmology, and geology, on the perceptions of expanding space and time.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Tatum, Brian Shane

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

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

"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

"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

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

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

"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

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

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

Ghost Machine

Description: This thesis consists of a collection of poems. By virtue of its content and arrangement, the collection ruminates on and attempts to work through the problem of corporeality and bodily experience: the anxieties surrounding illness, mortality, and the physicality of contemporary life. This collection explores the tension inherent in the mind/body duality and, rather than prescribing solutions, offers multiple avenues and perspectives through which to view bodily experience, as well as how that experience affects an individual’s identity, agency, and sense of self.
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Date: December 2015
Creator: Whitby, Bess

The Laureates’ Lens: Exposing the Development of Literary History and Literary Criticism From Beneath the Dunce Cap

Description: In this project, I examine the impact of early literary criticism, early literary history, and the history of knowledge on the perception of the laureateship as it was formulated at specific moments in the eighteenth century. Instead of accepting the assessments of Pope and Johnson, I reconstruct the contemporary impact of laureate writings and the writing that fashioned the view of the laureates we have inherited. I use an array of primary documents (from letters and journal entries to poems and non-fiction prose) to analyze the way the laureateship as a literary identity was constructed in several key moments: the debate over hack literature in the pamphlet wars surrounding Elkanah Settle’s The Empress of Morocco (1673), the defense of Colley Cibber and his subsequent attempt to use his expertise of theater in An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740), the consolidation of hack literature and state-sponsored poetry with the crowning of Colley Cibber as the King of the Dunces in Pope’s The Dunciad in Four Books (1742), the fashioning of Thomas Gray and William Mason as laureate rejecters in Mason’s Memoirs of the Life and Writings of William Whitehead (1788), Southey’s progressive work to abolish laureate task writing in his laureate odes 1813-1821, and, finally, in Wordsworth’s refusal to produce any laureate task writing during his tenure, 1843-1850. In each case, I explain how the construction of this office was central to the consolidation of literary history and to forging authorial identity in the same period. This differs from the conventional treatment of the laureates because I expose the history of the versions of literary history that have to date structured how scholars understand the laureate, and by doing so, reveal how the laureateship was used to create, legitimate and disseminate the model of literary history we still ...
Date: December 2015
Creator: Moore, Lindsay Emory

“No Paper Cowboys”: Stories

Description: Equilibrium is paramount in the crafting of a story, and for every writer this sense of balance is different. The writer must manage a balance of showing and telling, of denotation and connotation, and forever strive to find the perfect word in both the denotative and connotative sense, so that the reader and writer can meeting in a living story—both in the ink on the page and the remaining white space.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Agnew, Bryn

Prison Notes: an Introductory Study of Inmate Marginalia

Description: This thesis introduces the study of inmate marginalia as a method for understanding inmates’ uses of texts in prison libraries and for understanding the motivations for these uses. Marginalia are the notes, drawings, underlining, and other markings left by readers in the texts with which they interact. I use the examples of the Talmudic projects to set a precedent for the integration of marginal discourses into the central discourse of society. Next, I discuss the arguments surrounding the use of texts in prison libraries, including an outline for an ideal study of inmate marginalia. Finally, I discuss the findings of my on-site research at four prison libraries in Washington State. After scanning evidence of marginalia from forty-eight texts, a relatively small sample, I divided the marginalia by gender of facility, genre of text, address of the marginalia, and type of marginalia and found statistically significant correlations (p < 0.05) between gender and genre, gender and address, gender and type, and genre and type. However, while these correlations are statistically weak and require further investigation, the statistically significant correlations indicate the potential for integrating inmate marginalia studies into the scholarly discussions regarding inmates’ interactions with texts in prison.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Hunter, Cody

Searching for a Savior

Description: This collection of essays includes a preference that investigates the role and importance of setting and character in a nonfiction narrative. The preface assesses the writings of four great authors, examining how each author use setting and characterization to further the purpose of their story. This collection focuses on four different issues that the author has wrestled with for two decades. While “Desperado” is an investigation into the problems within her own family, “Being Black Me” highlights the authors struggle against the racial inequality her hometown. “Voices In The Dark”, the author analyze how the abuse she suffered as a child has influenced her life and contributed to a drinking problem that is explored in a later essay “Alors On Danse”.
Date: December 2015
Creator: Batch, Julia

“The Angular Degrees of Freedom” and Other Stories

Description: The preface, " Performing Brain Surgery: The Problematic Nature of Endings in Short Fiction," deals with the many and varied difficulties short story writers encounter when attempting to craft endings. Beginning with Raymond Carver and Flannery O’Connor and moving to my own work, I discuss some of the obscure criteria used to designate a successful ending, as well as the more concrete idea of the ending as a unifying element. Five short stories make up the remainder of this thesis: "In-between Girls," "Crocodile Man," "Surprising Things, Sometimes Amusing," "Good Jewelry," and "The Angular Degrees of Freedom."
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Date: December 2014
Creator: Feagin, Aprell McQueeney

"Stealing Dreams" and Other Stories

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

Shakespeare and Modeling Political Subjectivity

Description: This dissertation examines the role of aesthetic activity in the pursuit of political agency in readings of several of Shakespeare’s plays, including Hamlet (1600), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1595), The Tempest (1610), the history plays of the second tetralogy (1595-9), Julius Caesar (1599), and Coriolanus (1605). I demonstrate how Shakespeare models political subjectivity—the capacity for individuals to participate meaningfully in the political realm—as necessitating active aesthetic agency. This aesthetic agency entails the fashioning of artistically conceived public personae that potential political subjects enact in the public sphere and the critical engagement of the aesthetic and political discourses of the subjects’ culture in a self-reflective and appropriative manner. Furthermore, these subjects should be wary auditors of the texts and personae they encounter within the public sphere in order to avoid internalizing constraining ideologies that reify their identities into forms less conducive to the pursuit of liberty and social mobility. Early modern audiences could discover several models for doing so in Shakespeare’s works. For example, Hamlet posits a model of Machiavellian theatricality that masks the Prince's interiority as he resists the biopolitical force and disciplinary discourses of Claudius's Denmark. Julius Caesar and Coriolanus advance a model of citizenship through the plays’ nameless plebeians in which rhetoric offers the means to participate in Rome’s political culture, and Shakespeare’s England for audiences, while authorities manipulate citizen opinion by molding the popularity of public figures. Public, artistic ability affords potential political subjects ways of not only framing their participation in their culture but also ways of conceiving of their identities and relationships to society that may defy normative notions of membership in the community.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Worlow, Christian D.

To Be the Child of the Priest

Description: This collection of creative non-fiction essays is written from the perspective of a Protestant Christian church leader’s daughter emerging into adulthood and independence. She labors to define her relationship with God, family, and friends and to determine the complicated, but pervasive role of faith in her life while coping with depression and anxiety; a brain aneurysm and malformation among other health problems; working in an all-male environment in the Houston Chronicle Sports department; the death of her grandparents; the death of a Muslim friend in a murder-suicide shooting; and her troubled relationship with an agnostic friend. Although she expresses her doubts in each scenario, she identifies purpose in the trials and accepts the challenges that accompany being the child of the priest.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Newman, Kathryn G.

Bodies and Other Firewood

Description: The chakra system consists of seven energetic vortexes ascending up the spine that connect to every aspect of human existence. These vortexes become blocked and unblocked through the course of a life, these openings and closings have physiological and mental repercussions. Knowledge of these physical and mental manifestations, indicate where the chakra practitioner is in need, the practitioner can then manipulate their mind and body to create a desired outcome. These manipulations are based upon physical exercises and associative meditations for the purpose of expanding the human experience. As a poem can be thought of as the articulation of the human experience, and the chakra system can be thought of as a means to understand and enhance that experience, it is interesting and worthwhile leap to explore the how the chakras can develop and refresh the way we read and write poetry. This critical preface closely reads seven poems, one through each chakra, finding what the chakras unveil. Here, each chakra is considered for its dynamic creative capabilities and for its beneficial potentiality in the reading and writing process, finding each chakra provides tools: idea generators with the potential to free the poet from usual patterns of creativity while broadening vision and expressivity. In this collection of poetry poems are experiences chopped into consumable units that show and tell the constant negotiation between what is actually happening and the stories we tell ourselves about what is happening.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Blomgren, Aubree Sky