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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)

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.

An Investigation of the Semantics of Active and Inverse Systems

Description: This study surveys pronominal reference marking in active and inverse languages. Active and inverse languages have in common that they distinguish two sets of reference marking, which are referred to as Actor and Undergoer. The choice of one series of marking over another is shown to be semantically and pragmatically determined.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Yang, Lixin

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-

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

Mark Twain, Nevada Frontier Journalism, and the "Territorial Enterprise" : Crisis in Credibility

Description: This dissertation is an attempt to give a picture of the Nevada frontier journalist Samuel L. Clemens and the surroundings in which he worked. It is also an assessment of the extent to which Clemens (and his alter ego Twain) can be considered a serious journalist and the extent to which he violated the very principles he championed.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Wienandt, Christopher

The Fictional World of Rolando Hinojosa

Description: Rolando Hinojosa's Klail Citv Death Trip Series purports to give a picture of life in the Texas Rio Grande Valley from roughly the 1930s to the present. Much of Hinojosa's attention is directed toward the tensions that characterize relations between the mexicano and Anglo cultures. Hinojosa's novel sequence in large part documents the ever-increasing acculturation and assimilation of the mexicano into Anglo society.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Lee, Joyce Glover

Edmund Spenser as Protestant Thinker and Poet : A Study of Protestantism and Culture in The Faerie Queene

Description: The study inquires into the dynamic relationship between Protestantism and culture in The Faerie Oueene. The American Protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr makes penetrating analyses of the relationship between man's cultural potentials and the insights of Protestant Christianity which greatly illuminate how Spenser searches for a comprehensive religious, ethical, political, and social vision for the Christian community of Protestant England. But Spenser maintains the tension between culture and Christianity to the end, refusing to offer a merely coherent system of principles based on the doctrine of Christianity.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Kim, Hoyoung

The Scholarly Trickster in Jacobean Drama: Characterology and Culture

Description: Whereas scholarly malcontents and naifs in late Renaissance drama represent the actual notion of university graduates during the time period, scholarly tricksters have an obscure social origin. Moreover, their lack of motive in participating in the plays' events, their ambivalent value structures, and their conflicting dramatic roles as tricksters, reformers, justices, and heroes pose a serious diffculty to literary critics who attempt to define them. By examining the Western dramatic tradition, this study first proposes that the scholarly tricksters have their origins in both the Vice in early Tudor plays and the witty slave in classical comedy. By incorporating historical, cultural, anthropological, and psychological studies, this essay also demonstrates that the scholarly tricksters are each a Jacobean version of the archetypal trickster, who is usually associated with solitary habits, motiveless intrusion, and a double function as selfish buffoon and cultural hero. Finally, this study shows that their ambivalent value structures reflect the nature of rhetorical training in Renaissance schools.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Oh, Seiwoong

The Disfigured Muse : Supreme Readers in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

Description: In "Discourse in the Novel," Mikhail Bakhtin tells us that "Every discourse presupposes a special conception of the listener, of his apperceptive background and the degree of his responsiveness." My study of Wallace Stevens's poetry examines Stevens's "conception of the listener"—in the form of his intratextual readers, their responsiveness, and the shapes that responsiveness takes—and attempts to formulate out of that examination Stevens's theory of reading embodied in his canon of poems.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Hobbs, Michael B. (Michael Boyd)

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

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

Description: 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.
Date: December 1998
Creator: Jin, Kwang Hyun

Tennyson's Lyricism: The Aesthetic of Sorrow

Description: The primary purpose of this study is to show that anticipations of the "art for art's sake" theory can be found in Tennyson's poetry which is in line with the tenets of aestheticism and symbolism, and to show that Tennyson's lyricism is a "Palace of Art" in which his tragic emotions-- sadness, sorrow, despair, and melancholic sensibility--were built into beauty.
Date: May 1993
Creator: Kang, Sang Deok

The Evolution of Survival as Theme in Contemporary Native American Literature: from Alienation to Laughter

Description: With the publication of his Pulitzer Prize winning novel, House Made of Dawn. N. Scott Momaday ended a three-decade hiatus in the production of works written by Native American writers, and contributed to the renaissance of a rich literature. The critical acclaim that the novel received helped to establish Native American literature as a legitimate addition to American literature at large and inspired other Native Americans to write. Contemporary Native American literature from 1969 to 1974 focuses on the themes of the alienated mixed-blood protagonist and his struggle to survive, and the progressive return to a forgotten or rejected Indian identity. For example, works such as Leslie Silko's Ceremony and James Welch's Winter in the Blood illustrate this dual focal point. As a result, scholarly attention on these works has focused on the theme of struggle to the extent that Native American literature can be perceived as necessarily presenting victimized characters. Yet, Native American literature is essentially a literature of survival and continuance, and not a literature of defeat. New writers such as Louise Erdrich, Hanay Geiogamah, and Simon Ortiz write to celebrate their Indian heritage and the survival of their people, even though they still use the themes of alienation and struggle. The difference lies in what they consider to be the key to survival: humor. These writers posit that in order to survive, Native Americans must learn to laugh at themselves and at their fate, as well as at those who have victimized them through centuries of oppression. Thus, humor becomes a coping mechanism that empowers Native Americans and brings them from survival to continuance.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Schein, Marie-Madeleine

Rewriting Woman Evil?: Antifeminism and its Hermeneutic Problems in Four Criseida Stories

Description: Since Benoit de Sainte-Maure's creation of the Briseida story, Criseida has evolved as one of the most infamous heroines in European literature, an inconstant femme fatale. This study analyzes four different receptions of the Criseida story with a special emphasis on the antifeminist tradition. An interesting pattern arises from the ways in which four British writers render Criseida: Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Crisevde is a response to the antifeminist tradition of the story (particularly to Giovanni Boccaccio's II Filostrato); Robert Henryson's Testament of Cresseid is a direct response to Chaucer's poem; William Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida aligns itself with the antifeminist tradition, but in a different way; and John Dryden's Troilus and Cressida or Truth Found Too Late is a straight rewriting of Shakespeare's play. These works themselves form an interesting canon within the whole tradition. All four writers are not only readers of the continually evolving story of Criseida but also critics, writers, and literary historians in the Jaussian sense. They critique their predecessors' works, write what they have conceived from the tradition of the story, and reinterpret the old works in that historical context.
Date: May 1995
Creator: Park, Yoon-hee

The Problematic British Romantic Hero(ine): the Giaour, Mathilda, and Evelina

Description: Romantic heroes are questers, according to Harold Bloom and Northrop Frye. Whether employing physical strength or relying on the power of the mind, the traditional Romantic hero invokes questing for some sense of self. Chapter 1 considers this hero-type, but is concerned with defining a non-questing British Romantic hero. The Romantic hero's identity is problematic and established through contrasting narrative versions of the hero. This paper's argument lies in the "inconclusiveness" of the Romantic experience perceived in writings throughout the Romantic period. Romantic inconclusiveness can be found not only in the structure and syntax of the works but in the person with whom the reader is meant to identify or sympathize, the hero(ine). Chapter 2 explores Byron's aesthetics of literature equivocation in The Giaour. This tale is a consciously imbricated text, and Byron's letters show a purposeful complication of the poet's authority concerning the origins of this Turkish Tale. The traditional "Byronic hero," a gloomy, guilt-ridden protagonist, is considered in Chapter 3. Byron's contemporary readers and reviewers were quick to pick up on this aspect of his verse tales, finding in the Giaour, Selim, Conrad, and Lara characteristics of Childe Harold. Yet, Byron's Turkish Tales also reveal a very different and more sentimental hero. Byron seems to play off the reader's expectations of the "Byronic hero" with an ambiguous hero whose character reflects the Romantic aesthetic of indeterminacy. Through the accretive structure of The Giaour, Byron creates a hero of competing component characteristics, a focus he also gives to his heroines. Chapters 4 and 5 address works that are traditionally considered eighteenth-century sentimental novels. Mathilda and Evelina, both epistolary works, present their heroines as worldly innocents who are beset by aggressive males. Yet their subtext suggests that these girls aggressively maneuver the men in their lives. Mathilda and Evelina create ...
Date: May 1995
Creator: Poston, Craig A. (Craig Alan)

Female Inheritors of Hawthorne's New England Literary Tradition

Description: Nineteenth-century women were a mainstay in the New England literary tradition, both as readers and authors. Indeed, women were a large part of a growing reading public, a public that distanced itself from Puritanism and developed an appetite for novels and magazine short stories. It was a culture that survived in spite of patriarchal domination of the female in social and literary status. This dissertation is a study of selected works from Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman that show their fiction as a protest against a patriarchal society. The premise of this study is based on analyzing these works from a protest (not necessarily a feminist) view, which leads to these conclusions: rejection of the male suitor and of marriage was a protest against patriarchal institutions that purposely restricted females from realizing their potential. Furthermore, it is often the case that industrialism and abuses of male authority in selected works by Jewett and Freeman are symbols of male-driven forces that oppose the autonomy of the female. Thus my argument is that protest fiction of the nineteenth century quietly promulgates an agenda of independence for the female. It is an agenda that encourages the woman to operate beyond standard stereotypes furthered by patriarchal attitudes. I assert that Jewett and Freeman are, in fact, inheritors of Hawthorne's literary tradition, which spawned the first fully-developed, independent American heroine: Hester Prynne.
Date: August 1994
Creator: Adams, Dana W. (Dana Wills)

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)