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Clutch

Description: Clutch is the title of the creative portion of my thesis as well as the name of my theory 'clutch' which I outline in the preface section. The purpose of the clutch theory is to recognize modes of inspiration in the body, heart and mind so that the poet can consciously move beyond passive receptivity to engage inspiration more fully. Mechanically, to "clutch" does not mean to create inspiration, but it is the opportunistic, spirited encouragement of these moments of inspiration and, more importantly, the direction of the artist's own response in moving from inspiration to creation. The clutch process unfolds through three centers: body, heart and mind, where we initially encounter inspiration. And, through a discussion of three notable poets' work, Henri Cole, Li-Young Lee and T.S. Eliot, the relationship between a completed work and clutch as a process further explains the boundaries of each mode.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Bauge, Jessica M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

True Selves: Narrative Distance in Stories of Fiction and Nonfiction

Description: True Selves: Narrative Distance in Stories of Fiction and Nonfiction consists of a scholarly preface and four creative works. The preface discusses narrative distance as used in both fiction and nonfiction, and as compares to other narrative agents such as point of view, especially in contemporary creative writing. The selection of stories examines relationships, especially familial, and themes of isolation, community, and memory. Collection includes two chapters of a novel-in-progress, Fences, short fiction story "Trees and Furniture," and creative nonfiction essays, "Floating" and "On the Sparrow."
Date: December 2009
Creator: Al-Qasem, Ruby
Partner: UNT Libraries

Working Whiteness: Performing And Transgressing Cultural Identity Through Work

Description: Early in Richard Wright's Native Son, we see Bigger and his friend Gus “playing white.” Taking on the role of “J. P. Morgan,” the two young black men give orders and act powerful, thus performing their perceived role of whiteness. This scene is more than an ironic comment on the characters' distance from the lifestyle of the J. P. Morgans of the world; their acts of whiteness are a representation of how whiteness is constructed. Such an analysis is similar to my own focus in this dissertation. I argue that whiteness is a culturally constructed identity and that work serves as a performative space for defining and transgressing whiteness. To this end, I examine work and its influence on the performance of middle class and working class whiteness, as well as how those outside the definitions of whiteness attempt to “play white,” as Bigger does. Work enables me to explore the codes of whiteness and how they are performed, understood, and transgressed by providing a locus of cultural performance. Furthermore, by looking at novels written in the early twentieth century, I am able to analyze characters at a historical moment in which work was of great import. With the labor movement at its peak, these novels, particularly those which specifically address socialism, participate in an understanding of work as a performative act more than a means to end. Within the context of this history and using the language of whiteness studies, I look at how gendered whiteness is transgressed and reinforced through the inverted job-roles of the Knapps in Dorothy Canfield's The Home-Maker, how work can cause those who possess the physical attributes of whiteness to transgress this cultural identity, as the Joads in The Grapes of Wrath demonstrate, and how the ascribed identities as non-white for Sara in The ...
Date: May 2002
Creator: Polizzi, Allessandria
Partner: UNT Libraries

Vulgar Moon

Description: The preface to this collection, "Speculation and Silence," argues that confessional poetry remains integral to contemporary poetics, though the implications of the term have changed since its "first-generation." Confessional poetry must not be dependent on simply the transmission of sensational details and the emotional consequences, but on poets' implementation of silence and restraint in both the diffusion of ideas and in the crafting of the piece. Vulgar Moon is a collection of poems in which I explore the implications of events ranging from erotic love and motherhood, to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, and Jewish history. In addition, these pieces explore the inner workings of the human psyche, both tender and malignant, and the inherent human need for absolution.
Date: December 2007
Creator: Miller, Kelley Reno
Partner: UNT Libraries

Language and the Art of Writing

Description: I start writing by conjuring up an image in my mind. Sometimes it will be something that I have thought about for a while, sometimes it will be something that I sit around attempting to create. Either way, it is simply the idea that I need in order to get started. People will say, "Just sit down and write" which I can do, but it does not mean I will end up anywhere worthwhile. In my writing I need a focus. I need an idea or just one image to get me writing and I can base an entire story off of that one image. I think the reason this works for me is because in my mind it is an illustration and always something that is vibrant and unique. I want the image to stand out and to mean something because I feel that it comes to me for a specific reason, I just have to piece it all together and let the characters and plot unfold for themselves. People often say this, that the characters end up running the story. I think this is true, but in my case my stories are not so driven by character or plot as they are by language. A language driven piece can be a difficult thing to manipulate because it needs to have some direction and some purpose other than just being pleasing to the ear/mind/reader. And what is the point of a language driven piece?
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Date: May 2006
Creator: Damask, Tarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Iconoclast in the mirror.

Description: This work explores identity positions of speakers in modern and contemporary poetry with respect to themes of subjectivity, self-awareness, lyricism, heteroglossia, and social contextualization, from perspectives including Bakhtinian, queer, feminist and postructuralist theories, and Peircian semiotics. Tony Hoagland, W.H. Auden, Adrienne Rich, and the poetic prose of Hélène Cixous provide textual examples of an evolving aesthetic in which the poet's self and world comprise multiple dynamic, open relationships supplanting one in which simple correspondences between signifiers and signifieds define selves isolated from the world. Hypertext and polyamory serve as useful analogies to the semantic eros characteristic of such poetry, including the collection of original poems that the critical portion of this thesis introduces.
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Date: August 2005
Creator: Alexander, Lydia L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Letters from Jack and Other Cadavers

Description: My dissertation, Letters from Jack and Other Cadavers, developed out of my interest in using persona, narrative forms, and historical details collected through thorough research to transform personal experience and emotions in my poems. The central series of poems, "Letters from Jack," is written in the voice of Jack the Ripper and set up as a series of poems-as-letters to the police who chased him. The Ripper's sense of self and his motivations are troubled by his search for a muse as the poems become love poems, contrasting the brutality of the historical murders and the atmosphere of late 19th century London with a charismatic speaker not unlike those of Browning's Dramatic Monologues. The dissertation's preface further explores my desire for a level of personal removal while crafting poems in order to temper sentimentality. Drawing on Wallace Stevens's notion that "Sentimentality is failed emotion" and Tony Hoagland's assessment that fear of sentimentality can turn young poets away from narrative forms, I examine my own poems along with those of Scott Cairns, Tim Seibles, and Albert Goldbarth to derive conclusions on the benefits distance, persona, narrative, and detail to downplay excessive emotion and the intrusion of the personal. Poems from the manuscript have appeared in The Beloit Poetry Journal, Sybil's Garage, The North Texas Review, and The Sheridan Edwards Review.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Leis, Aaron
Partner: UNT Libraries

Religion and Politics in the Poetry of W.B. Yeats

Description: Previous critics have paid insufficient attention to the political implications of Yeats's life-long preoccupation with a wide range of Western and Eastern religious traditions. Though he always preserved some skepticism about mysticism's ability to reshape the material world, the early Yeats valued the mystical idea of oneness in part because he hoped (mistakenly, as it turned out) that such oneness would bring Catholic and Protestant Ireland together in a way that might make the goals of Irish nationalism easier to accomplish. Yeats's celebration of mystical oneness does not reflect a pseudo-fascistic commitment to a static, oppressive unity. Like most mystics—and most modernists—Yeats conceived of both religious and political oneness not as a final end but rather as an ongoing process, a "way of happening" (as Auden put it).
Date: August 1997
Creator: Yoo, Baekyun
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Evolution of Yeats's Dance Imagery: The Body, Gender, and Nationalism

Description: Tracing the development of his dance imagery, this dissertation argues that Yeats's collaborations with various early modern dancers influenced his conceptions of the body, gender, and Irish nationalism. The critical tendency to read Yeats's dance emblems in light of symbolist-decadent portrayals of Salome has led to exaggerated charges of misogyny, and to neglect of these emblems' relationship to the poet's nationalism. Drawing on body criticism, dance theory, and postcolonialism, this project rereads the politics that underpin Yeats's idea of the dance, calling attention to its evolution and to the heterogeneity of its manifestations in both written texts and dramatic performances. While the dancer of Yeats's texts follow the dictates of male-authored scripts, those in actual performances of his works acquired more agency by shaping choreography. In addition to working directly with Michio Ito and Ninette de Valois, Yeats indirectly collaborated with such trailblazers of early modern dance as Loie Fuller, Isadora Duncan, Maud Allan, and Ruth St. Denis. These collaborations shed important light on the germination of early modern dance and on current trends in the performative arts. Registering anti-imperialist and anti-industrialist agendas, the early Yeats's dancing Sidhe personify a romantic nationalism that seeks to inspire resistance to the cultural machinery of British colonization. In his middle career, these collective Sidhe transmute into the solitary figure of a bird-woman-witch dancer, who, resembling the soloists of early modern dance, occupies center stage without any support from men and (to some extent) contests patriarchal assumptions. The late Yeats satirizes the imposition of sexual, racial, and religious purity on postcolonial Irish identity by means of Salome-like dances in which "fair" dancers hold the severed heads of "foul" spectators. These dances blur customary socio-political boundaries between fair and foul, classical and grotesque. Early to late, the evolution of Yeats's dancers reflects his gradual incorporation ...
Date: August 2003
Creator: Lee, Deng-Huei
Partner: UNT Libraries

Godot in Earnest: Beckettian Readings of Wilde

Description: Critics and audiences alike have neglected the idea of Wilde as a precursor to Beckett. But I contend that a closer look at each writer's aesthetic and philosophic tendencies-for instance, their interest in the fluid nature of self, their understanding of identity as a performance, and their belief in language as both a way in and a way out of stagnancy -will connect them in surprising and highly significant ways. This thesis will focus on the ways in which Wilde prefigures Beckett as a dramatist. Indeed, many of the themes that Beckett, free from the constraints of a censor and from the societal restrictions of Victorian England, unabashedly details in his drama are to be found residing obscurely in Wilde. Understanding Beckett's major dramatic themes and motifs therefore yields new strategies for reading Wilde.
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Date: August 2003
Creator: Tucker, Amanda
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Country With No Name

Description: A Country With No Name is a collection of thirty-four poems with a preface explaining the style and influences of the author. The preface defends plain-language techniques in poetry, using W.H. Auden, Wislawa Szymborska, and Paul Simon as examples of poets who take a similar approach. The poems range in topic from personal and familial to societal and abstract. The main subjects encompass interpersonal relationships, romantic and otherwise, and larger concerns, such as the effects of war and modern lifestyles.
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Date: May 2004
Creator: Hunziker, April
Partner: UNT Libraries

Exploring Fear and Freud's The Uncanny

Description: Fear is one of the oldest and most basic of human emotions. In this thesis, I will explore the topic of fear in relation to literature, both a staple of the horror genre as well as a device in literary works, as well as in my own writings. In addition, I will use Sigmund Freud's theory of the “uncanny” as a possible device to examine the complexities of fear and its effects both on the mind and body through the medium of literature, and, more specifically, where and how these notions are used within my own short stories. By exploring how and why certain fears are generated, we may be able to better examine our own reactions in this regard.
Date: May 2007
Creator: Grizzle, Eric
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Feminine Ancestral Footsteps: Symbolic Language Between Women in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables

Description: This study examines Hawthorne's use of symbols, particularly flowers, in The Scarlet Letter and The House of the Seven Gables. Romantic ideals stressed the full development of the self¬reliant individual, and romantic writers such as Hawthorne believed the individual would fully develop not only spiritually, but also intellectually by taking instruction from the natural world. Hawthorne's heroines reach their full potential as independent women in two steps: they first work together to defeat powerful patriarchies, and they then learn to read natural symbols to cultivate their artistic sensibilities which lead them to a full development of their intellect and spirituality. The focus of this study is Hawthorne's narrative strategy; how the author uses symbols as a language his heroines use to communicate from one generation to the next. In The Scarlet Letter, for instance, the symbol of a rose connects three generations of feminine reformers, Ann Hutchinson, Hester Prynne, and Pearl. By the end of the novel, Pearl interprets a rose as a symbol of her maternal line, which links her back to Ann Hutchinson. Similarly in The House of the Seven Gables Alice, Hepzibah, and Phoebe Pyncheon are part of a family line of women who work together to overthrow the Pyncheon patriarchy. The youngest heroine, Phoebe, comes to an understanding of her great, great aunt Alice's message from the posies her feminine ancestor plants in the Pyncheon garden. Through Phoebe's interpretation of the flowers, she deciphers how the cultivation of a sense of artistic appreciation is essential to the progress of American culture.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Serrano, Gabriela
Partner: UNT Libraries

Performing "Camp, Vamp & Femme Fatale": Revisiting, Reinventing & Retelling the Lives of Post-Death, Retro-Gothic Women

Description: This thesis examines the production process for "Camp, Vamp and Femme Fatale," performed at the University of North Texas in April of 1997. The first chapter applies Henry Jenkins's theory of textual poaching to the authors' and cast's reappropriation of cultural narratives about female vampires. The chapter goes on to survey the narrative, cinematic and critical work on women as vampires. As many of the texts were developed as part of the fantasy role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade, this chapter also surveys how fantasy role-playing develops unpublished texts that can make fruitful ground for performance studies. The second chapter examines the rehearsal and production process in comparison to the work of Glenda Dickerson and other feminist directors.
Date: December 1999
Creator: Ruane, Richard T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Redemption and the Other: The Supernatural Narrator and the Intertextual (Sub)version of the Miltonic Command

Description: In literary discourse from the Genesis creation myth through John Milton's Paradise Lost and beyond, Eve has been patriarchally considered to be the bringer of Sin and Death into the world. In Paradise Lost Eve is depicted as deceiving Adam into the Fall by way of the Serpent. Paradise Lost creates a Miltonic command that helps to further blame Woman for Sin and Death. Milton's poem is based on the Genesis creation myth written by Canaanite authors. In this myth the Canaanite authors wished to rid the world of Goddess worship and, by humanizing Eve, they successfully obliterate that form of worship. As a result of this obliteration of the Goddess, Eve, as a humanized form of the ancient Goddess Asherah, remains unredeemed for her sin and forever held to blame. Throughout what Michel Foucault calls the archive, or discourse in which power resides, Eve/Woman continues to be seen by patriarchal discourse as to blame for the Fall. There has never been a successful redemption for Eve in the archive. Although Samuel Richardson's Clarissa has been suggested as a successful redeemer of Eve, Clarissa's blatant will to death and, therefore, will to power precludes a successful redemption of Eve. The successful Redemption of Eve comes in Thomas Hardy's novel Tess of the D'Urbervilles. By way of Tess's Goddess stature and her self-sacrifice at the end of the novel she successfully effects a redemption of Eve/Woman. As Goddess, Tess enters a state of otherwise than being in the intertext and becomes the Supernatural narrator who narrates both her own story and the unsaid story of the Goddess in the mythic narrative. By way of this otherwise than being as the Supernatural narrator, Tess takes on Eve's blame and intertextually subverts the Miltonic command by narrating the Goddess's prehistorical purity. As a ...
Date: May 2000
Creator: Gowdy, Robert Douglas
Partner: UNT Libraries

From Skeletons to Orchards

Description: This thesis is a creative work that is segmented into three main phases in order to display the developing poetic growth and control in the work of Paul Andrew Thies. The first phase is titled "Skeletons and Rhinoceri." It was a phase where I focused on more classical forms of poetry, namely accentual and syllabical sonnets. This phase was greatly influenced by both Charles Baudelaire and William Butler Yeats. The second phase, titled "Clandestinies," was one in which I tried to develop a more dense form. Lord Byron and Pablo Neruda were the two main influences on my work at this time, largely in terms of imaginative exoticism and figurative energy. The third section of this thesis, titled "Graffiti in the Orchard," is an exploration of my current work as a poet. In this phase, Rainer Maria Rilke was the primary influence as I began to develop a more fluid and expressive style.
Date: May 1999
Creator: Thies, Paul Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Politics of Sympathy: Secularity, Alterity, and Subjectivity in George Eliot's Novels

Description: This study examines the practical and political implications of sympathy as a mode of achieving the intercommunicative relationship between the self and the other, emphasizing the significance of subjective agency not simply guided by the imperative category of morality but mainly enacted by a hybrid of discourses through the interaction between the two entities. Scenes of Clerical Life, Eliot's first fictional narrative on illuminating the intertwining relation of religion to secular conditions of life, reveals that the essence of religion is the practice of love between the self and the other derived from sympathy and invoked by their dialogic discourses of confession which enable them to foster the communality, on the grounds that the alterity implicated in the narrative of the other summons and re-historicizes the narrative of the subject's traumatic event in the past. Romola, Eliot's historical novel, highlights the performativity of subject which, on the one hand, locates Romola outside the social frame of domination and appropriation as a way of challenging the universalizing discourses of morality and duty sanctioned by the patriarchal ideology of norms, religion, and marriage. On the other hand, the heroine re-engages herself inside the social structure as a response to other's need for help by substantiating her compassion for others in action. Felix Holt, the Radical, Eliot's political and industrial novel, investigates the limits of moral discourse and instrumental reason. Esther employs her strategy of hybridizing her aesthetic and moral tastes in order to debilitate masculine desires for moral inculcation and material calculation. Esther reinvigorates her subjectivity by simultaneously internalizing and externalizing a hybrid of tastes. In effect, the empowerment of her subjectivity is designed not only to provide others with substantial help from the promptings of her sympathy for them, but also to fulfill her romantic plot of marriage.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Koo, Seung-Pon
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Map and the Territory in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens

Description: In this dissertation, Wallace Stevens' imagination-reality problem as depicted in his poetry is discussed in terms of an eco-critical map-territory divide. Stevens's metaphor of "the necessary angel" acts to mediate human necessity, the map, with natural necessity, the territory, in order to retain contact with changing cultural and environmental conditions. At stake in this mediation are individual freedom and the pertinence of the imagination to the experience of reality. In Chapter 2, the attempt at reconciliation of these two necessities will be described in terms of surrealism. Stevens's particular approach to surrealism emphasizes separating and delineating natural necessity from human necessity so that through the poem the reader can experience the miracle of their reconciliation. In Chapter 3, this delineation of the two necessities, map and territory, will be examined against Modernist "decreation," which is the stripping bare of human perception for the purpose of regaining glimpses of the first idea of the external world. And in Chapter 4, Stevens's approach to the problem of the map-territory divide will be considered against his alienation or internal exile: balancing nature and identity through mediating fictions results in a compromised approach to the marriage of mind and culture in a historically situated place.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Thompson, Erik Robb
Partner: UNT Libraries

Prudence Stories

Description: This collection of three original short stories is an excerpt from a novel about an East Texas family whose common bond is the need for a second chance. A preface dealing with the use of setting as a character precedes the short stories.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Coleman, Britta M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Browning and Dickens: Religious Direction in Victorian England

Description: Many Nineteenth century writers experienced the withdrawal of God discussed by Miller in The Disappearance of God. Robert Browning and Charles Dickens present two examples of "Fra Lippo Lippi" and Great Expectations model effective alternatives to accepting God's absence. Conversely "Andrea del Sarto" accepts the void the other two heroes shun.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Zeske, Karen Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bearclaw: a Novel

Description: Written in the tradition of American political suspense thrillers such as "Fail-Safe" and "Seven Days In May," "Bearclaw" uses their idealistic and nationalistic elements to tell a story of an American President eager to lead the world's peoples in a quest to achieve man's "highest destiny," the conquest of space. Believing that this common goal will cause mankind to come together in a spirit of brotherhood, he misreads the historical purpose of the United States and, in the end, refuses to recognize the obvious truths of human frailty and ambition even though he has been victimized by them. The Introduction is a brief survey of the sociopolitical and literary forces which combined to create the American political suspense thriller and an attempt to define its place in the literary canon.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Elston, James C. (James Cary)
Partner: UNT Libraries