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Functional Shift in English
The purpose of this study will be to make an investigation of the shifting of a word from one part of speech to another, to see whether this linguistic process existed in Old English, Middle English, and to note the prevalence of functional shift among present-day writers.
Dawn in the Empty House
The preface to this collection of poems, "Memory and The Myth of Lost Truth," explores the physical and metaphysical roles memory plays within poetry. It examines the melancholy frequently birthed from a particular kind poetic self-inquiry, or, more specifically, the feelings associated with recognizing the self's inability to re-inhabit the emotional experience of past events, and how poetry can redeem, via engaging our symbolic intuition, the faultiness of remembered history. Dawn in the Empty House is a collection of poems about the implications of human relationships, self-deception, and memory as a tool for self-discovery.
Tinder for the Bathhouses
In the preface to this collection, "Poetry and History: Finding 'What Will Suffice,'" I show how Czeslaw Milosz's "Dedication" and Jorie Graham's "Guantánamo" embody the virtues of philosophical meditation and the moral imagination to create a unique poetry of witness. These poems also provide American poets with an example of how they can regain the trust of an apathetic general reading audience. Tinder for the Bathhouses is a collection of poems in which I use the moral imagination to indirectly bear witness to events as far ranging as the Holocaust and the Iraq War. Using the family as a foundation, I show how historical narratives can provide a poet with the tools to think about larger metaphysical questions that poetry can raise, such as the nature of beauty and the purpose of art.
Where My Own Grave Is
The preface to this collection, "Against Expectation: The Lyric Narrative," highlights the ways James Wright, Stephen Dunn, and C.K. Williams use narrative to strengthen their poems. Where My Own Grave Is is a collection of poems that uses narrative to engage our historical fascination with death.
Orality-Literacy Theory and the Victorian Sermon
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.
Important Influences on Newman's Faith
This study is designed primarily to show the important influences which shaped John Henry Newman's religious beliefs and his ultimate conversion to the Roman Catholic Church.
Plain and Ugly Janes: the Rise of the Ugly Woman in Contemporary American Fiction
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.
The Ties that Bind : Breaking the Bonds of Victimization in the Novels of Barbara Pym, Fay Weldon and Margaret Atwood
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.
American Grotesque from Nineteenth Century to Modernism: the Latter's Acceptance of the Exceptional
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.
Overcoming the Regional Burden: History, Tradition, and Myth in the Novels of Cormac McCarthy
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.
Idea of Natural Law in Milton's Comus and Paradise Lost
This dissertation tries to locate Milton's optimistic view of man and nature as expressed in Comus, Doctrine and Discipline of Divorce, and Paradise Lost in the long tradition of natural law that goes back to Aristotle, Cicero, and Aquinas.
Deserts I Have Known
Deserts! Have Known contains a scholarly preface exploring why writers write, examining the characteristics offictionwriters, and addressing the importance of place, both emotional and geographical, in fiction. Four original short stories are included in this thesis. "Miracle at Mita" depicts an aging surfer trying to overcome his fear of commitment. "Coyote Man" explores a father's guilt and the isolation resulting from that guilt. "Time, and Time Again" traces a young woman's fear of marriage to her memory of her parents' relationship, and "Paraplegia" examines a young woman immobilized by her own lack of self-esteem. These stories are connected through their themes of isolation and reconnection.
East, West, Somewhere in the Middle
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.
American Literary Pragmatism : Lighting Out for the Territory
This thesis discusses pragmatist philosophy in the nineteenth century and its effect on American literature of the time.
A Reading of Shakespeare's Problem Plays into History: A New Historicist Interpretation of Social Crisis and Sexual Politics in Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure
This study is aimed to read Shakespeare's problem comedies, Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure into the historical and cultural context of dynamically-changing English Renaissance society at the turn of the sixteenth century. In the historical context of emerging capitalism, growing economic crisis, reformed theology, changing social hierarchy, and increasing sexual control, this study investigates the nature of complicated moral problems that the plays consistently present. The primary argument is that the serious and dark picture of human dilemma is attributed not to Shakespeare's private imagination, but to social, political, economic, and religious crises in early modern England.
Unearthing the Spiritual Message in Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire
Unearthing Edward Abbey's spiritual philosophy is not an easy task. One must sift through Abbey's humor, sort through Cactus Ed's flamboyant character, look under the veneer of this character, and beyond Abbey's overt objective of convincing readers to defy the destruction of wilderness, and only then does the spiritual philosophy of Abbey become visible. To understand his perception of spirituality, one must define what constitutes a mystic and determine what American theological philosophies mystics tend to adopt. Once these are defined, one can apply those principles to Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and determine that Abbey is a nature mystic who adheres to the ecocentric based immanence theology. This theology is contrary to the Judeo-Christian based emanation theology which supports anthropocentricism and resourcism.
The Use of Character Portrayal in the Short Poems of Edwin Arlington Robinson
This thesis is a study of Robinson's general mental and philosophical development and the forces which contributed to it, the kinds and sources of Robinson's characters and the method and importance of their portrayal, Robinson's single portraits of men, Robinson's portrayal of women characters, Robinson's historical portraits, and the relationship of the short poems to Robinson's total work.
Walt Whitman's Influence Abroad
This paper is a study of Walt Whitman's influence in England, Northern European countries, Southern Europe, Latin America, and other countries.
The Motivation of Characters in Othello, King Lear and Macbeth
By examining the critical comment of some of the best known critics, who fall roughly into two groups, the philosophical or psychological on the one hand, and the realistic on the other, I have endeavored to gather the ideas they have advanced in regard to the motives of them main characters from three of Shakespeare's tragedies--Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth. It is evident that the discussion of motives has not been the main consideration of any one of them, though the problem has naturally arisen in the analyses of characters and explanations of plot and dramatic art. Consequently it will be my purpose to study these plays from the standpoint of the motivation of the characters, having in mind two objects: the determination of which motives Shakespeare took from the sources of the plays and which ones he himself attributed to the characters, and the determination of which group of critics, the psychological or the realistic, is more nearly correct in their contentions in regard to the motivation of characters in Shakespeare's plays.
Lowell's Opinion of His Contemporaries
This thesis examines the criticisms written by James Russell Lowell about his contemporaries. In addition, the author tries to record the reasons behind Lowell's opinions, when those reasons can be ascertained.
An Appraisal of some Moot Issues in English Grammar
This thesis discusses traditional and liberal views on certain English expressions by examining them as they are discussed in traditional school grammars, in descriptive grammars, and in current magazine articles and as they are used in the best writing of today.
Richard Wilbur and the Poetry of Apocalyptic Interstices
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.
"Positive" and "Negative" Characters in Joseph Conrad's Fiction
This thesis is an attempt to understand Joseph Conrad's own concept of the "moral law"; what is meant by the terms "positive" and "negative," often used to describe the forces so obviously influencing his characters; and the characters, the action, and the endings as proofs of Conrad's belief in such a law and such forces.
The Influence of the Frontier on Mark Twain
There are critics who believe that the real Mark Twain was born in the East, while others say that the frontier made him. I have considered evidence on both sides and have definitely concluded that Mark Twain was and is a product of the frontier.
Language and Identity in Post-1800 Irish Drama
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 ...
The Monstrance: A Collection of Poems
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.
(Broken) Promises
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.
Representation of the Social Class Structure in the Fiction of Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway has given us pictures of individual members of society in the United States, in Africa and in Europe from the nineteen-twenties to the present time. In order to present Hemingway's characters as a study in social structure, the following classes will be considered: primitives, peasants, middle class, upper class, aristocrats.
Walt Whitman and the Theatre
This study attempts to establish the fact that Whitman was a frequent attendant at the legitimate theatre and that throughout his life he had a vital concern for it. The nature and scope of Whitman's interest in the legitimate theatre has been examined in detail to show by specific reference to his works the probable effect of his theatrical interest.
Satire on American Life as Portrayed in the Novels of Sinclair Lewis
Since 1920, Lewis has written only novels in which he has ridiculed the leading phases of American life. He has given an exact picture; he has left no faults uncovered. He loves America and he hates to see her in a state of degeneration. He has tried to appeal to the human side of his public in order to open the eyes of America to her own defects. He has been cynical, satirical, and humorous in his attempt to picture America as she really is. I have chosen the novels that Lewis has written since the year 1920 to show that he has satirized America in her various phases of life. I have not explored the fields of poetry and drama nor the earlier novels; for beginning with Main Street in 1920 and ending with the Prodigal Parents in 1938, Lewis has depicted the faults of a nation struggling for peace and security in a world of materialistic ideals.
The Gothic Elements in Shelley's Writings
The purpose of this thesis is to give a basic understanding of Percy Shelley's introduction to Gothicism and to explore the Gothic elements found within his writings.
The Choric Element in Shakespeare's Second History Tetralogy
This thesis is a study of the anticipatory remarks and choric comments in Richard II, Parts I and II of Henry IV, and Henry V.
Joan of Arc as Personal Ideal and Literary Symbol in the Life and Writings of Samuel L. Clemens
This thesis offers a different concept of Mark Twain, who worshiped Joan of Arc and considered her the ideal of womanhood.
The Path to Paradox: The Effects of the Falls in Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Conrad's "Lord Jim"
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.
The Morality and Wit of Congreve and Sheridan in the Comedy of Manners
Considering the comedies of the Restoration, and those of Congreve in particular, as the prototype of the comedy of manners and as the model for Sheridan later to revive and emulate, this thesis proposes to point out how the concepts of morality and wit have been a major obstacle to literary critics in analyzing the comedy of manners from its very beginnings, to discuss morality and wit as the basis of a proper evaluation of the comedy of manners both from the standpoint of seventeenth-century precepts and those of a century later, and, finally, to show how, during the early periods in which the comedy of manners flourished,--that of Congreve, 1693-1700; and of Sheridan, 1775-1779--morality and wit were modified and used to suit the divergent sociological and psychological conditions of each period.
Contemporary Women Poets of Texas
As a teacher of American literature in high school, I have become conscious of the importance of teaching students of that age level the lore and poetry of their native state. Poems of nature or local color in their own country will hold their interest when material from more distant points seems dull and uninteresting. Through my teaching I have become interested in the poetry of the Southwest and have enjoyed reading the poetry and knowing the poets through personal interview or correspondence.
Repetitions in the Most Popular Works of Mark Twain
This paper is a study of the repetitions in the works of Mark Twain.The author has chosen repetitions which are most nearly alike and most representative of Mark Twain. The study was limited to repetitions of his own experiences repeated in his works, to repetitions of descriptions of the beautiful and the horrible, and to repetitions which are a result of his humor and a desire to save man from himself.
Persons and Places in Mark Twain's Fiction
This paper focuses on Mark Twain's writing style and characterization in his fiction. The settings and characters of his fiction are in particular focus, specifically how Mark Twain draws on personal experiences and memories to make his characters and settings more relatable and realistic. A brief biography of Twain's life is given before the author goes into the specifics of characterization and settings.
Structural and Thematic Development in the Novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald
In dealing with the individual works, I have attempted to analyze the structural element first, and then to deduce the novel's meaning, or theme, making use, wherever it is possible, of the results of the analysis of structure. In addition, I have attempted to reveal the development of certain themes from one novel to another, and certain developments in characterization and general design. I have attempted to reveal the relationship of the structure and thematic aspects of the individual works to Fizgerald's work as a whole. Finally, I have attempted to demonstrate Fitzgerald's relationship with certain of this peers and forebears in the American novel.
Plots from Greek Tragedy in Twentieth Century Drama
In so far as I have been able to determine, nothing by way of general criticism or comment has previously been written on the subject of Greek plots in twentieth century tragedy, although individual writers have themselves admitted a certain indebtedness to their sources, and comments regarding the specific plays which I have cited, of course, mention a Greek origin. As regards the whole field of contemporary drama, however, I believe that no treaties earlier than this one has discussed the prevalence of Greek plots among twentieth century dramas.
Jane Austen and Her Critics, 1940-1954
The purpose of this thesis is to survey Jane Austen biography and criticism published since 1940 in order to show the present state of Jane Austen study while providing a bibliographical guide to recent material.
Hawthorne's Use of Symbolism in Four Romances
This thesis is a study of the four long romances, The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, The Blithedale Romance, and The Marble Faun, with emphasis upon Hawthorne's use of symbolism as a means of presenting the basic moral and spiritual truths of human life. The first chapter explains the nature of symbolism and the reasons why Hawthorne used it so extensively. In each of the last four chapters, the symbolism in a single romance is considered for the purpose of discovering the manner and effectiveness of its use in exemplifying the central theme of that particular story. Although Hawthorne's short stories are extremely rich in symbolism, it was not possible to include them in the present study.
Plot Structure in the Novels of Mark Twain
Mark Twain was not only a wit but a literary man. He could paint a scene and he could make a character live, but could he plot a novel? It is the purpose of this study to analyze his methods and his products, with emphasis upon the building of plots.
The Treatment of Human Cruelty in the Novels of Mark Twain
The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate Mark Twain's awareness of and sensitive reaction to the cruelty which surrounded him throughout his lifetime, and to evaluate his literary use of cruelty for both comic and satiric effects.
Recent Interpretations of Iago
A study of the character of Iago from Shakespeare's Othello. Traces the trends of interpretations, schools of thought, and major influences in interpretations of Iago as manifested in a survey of the writings of Shakespearean critics of the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries. The emphasis of the study shall be on twentieth-century criticism, with possible established patterns of interpretation and their relation to or deviation from the patterns of the two previous centuries.
The Faithful Wife Motif in Elizabethan Drama
The major purpose of this thesis is to present a discussion of the motif of the faithful wife as it appears in the domestic drama of the Elizabethan Age; in addition, an account of the literary history of the theme will be given, in order that the use made of the story in Elizabethan drama may be correctly evaluated.
English Pastoral Drama, 1580-1642
It will be the purpose of the remaining chapters of this thesis to trace the characteristics and conventions of the pastoral as they can be observed in specific bucolic works from various writers of various nationalities and ultimately examine specific examples of English pastoral drama in light of these conventions and characteristics.
The Afro-British Slave Narrative: The Rhetoric of Freedom in the Kairos of Abolition
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 ...
Chaucer and the Rhetorical Limits of Exemplary Literature
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.
Eugene O'Neill's Theory and Practice of Tragedy
This thesis discusses six plays by the playwright Eugene O'Neill considered as tragedies.