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Description: This dissertation is has two parts: a critical essay on the lyric subject, and a collection of poems. In the essay, I suggest that, contrary to various anti-subjectivists who continue to define the lyric subject in Romantic terms, a strain of Post-Romantic lyric subjectivity allows us to think more in terms of space, process, and dialogue and less in terms of identity, (mere self-) expression, and dialectic. The view I propose understands the contemporary lyric subject as a confluence or parallax of imagined and felt subjectivities in which the subject who writes the poem, the subject personified as speaker in the text itself, and the subject who receives the poem as a reader are each repeatedly drawn out of themselves, into others, and into an otherness that calls one beyond identity, mastery, and understanding. Rather than arguing for the lyric subject as autonomous, expressive (if fictive) "I,” I have suggested that the lyric subject is a dialogical matrix of multiple subjectivities—actual, imagined, anticipated, deferred—that at once posit and emerge from a space whose only grounded, actual place in the world is the text: not the court, not the market, and not a canon of legitimized authors, but in the relatively fugitive realm of text. In this way, there is no real contradiction between what Tucker terms the intersubjective and the intertextual. The lyric space I am arguing for is ultimately a diachronic process in which readers take up the poem and bring that space partially into their bodies, imaginations, and consciousness even as the poem brings them out, or to the edge, of each of these.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Haines, Robert M.
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

Social Movements, Subjectivity, and Solidarity: Witnessing Rhetoric of the International Solidarity Movement

Description: This study engaged in pushing the current political limitations created by the political impasse of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, by imagining new possibilities for radical political change, agency, and subjectivity for both the international activists volunteering with the International Solidarity Movement as well as Palestinians enduring the brutality of life under occupation. The role of the witness and testimony is brought to bear on activism and rhetoric the social movement ISM in Palestine. Approaches the past studies of the rhetoric of social movements arguing that rhetorical studies often disassociated 'social' from social movements, rendering invisible questions of the social and subjectivity from their frames for evaluation. Using the testimonies of these witnesses, Palestinians and activists, as the rhetorical production of the social movement, this study provides an effort to put the social body back into rhetorical studies of social movements. The relationships of subjectivity and desubjectification, as well as, possession of subjects by agency and the role of the witness with each of these is discussed in terms of Palestinian and activist potential for subjectification and desubjectifiation.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Wachsmann, Emily Brook
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

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.
Partner: UNT Libraries