Matching Items (31)

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The Problem of Hope: Literary Tragedy in Mid-Twentieth Century Fiction

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"The Problem of Hope: Literary Tragedy in Mid-Twentieth Century American Fiction" examines Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar through the lens of tragedy. This thesis delves into how conflicts between

"The Problem of Hope: Literary Tragedy in Mid-Twentieth Century American Fiction" examines Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar through the lens of tragedy. This thesis delves into how conflicts between internal and external identities can create a tragic individual, what kinds of success count toward achievement of the "American Dream," and whether the tragic "common man" is the socially normative one or the socially disenfranchised one. It raises a three-dimensional theoretical approach to American tragedy and, most importantly, considers the significance of tragic hope for American literature. This paper questions the construction of American identities across class, race, and gender according to social scripts. It seeks to uncover what forces these scripts exert on American cultural myths and rereads those myths through tragedy to explore Miller's idea of a noble common man. By moving from Miller to Ellison to Plath, this thesis traces the undercurrents of tragedy through some of the most identity-focused novels of mid-twentieth century American fiction to see how the overarching American narrative changed from 1940 to 1969 as the US underwent significant social changes domestically and image changes abroad. Ultimately, this paper concludes that tragedy in mid-twentieth century American fiction points toward a new idea of American success as a success that occurs beyond social scripts.

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2016-05

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The museum, the flâneur, and the book: the exhibitionary complex in the work of Henry James

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The Victorian era was the age of museum development in the United States. In the wake of these institutions, another important figure of the nineteenth century emerged--the flâneur. The flâneur represents the city, and provided new mechanisms of seeing to

The Victorian era was the age of museum development in the United States. In the wake of these institutions, another important figure of the nineteenth century emerged--the flâneur. The flâneur represents the city, and provided new mechanisms of seeing to the public. The flâneur taught citizens how to gaze with a panoptic eye. The increasing importance of cultural institutions contributed to a new means of presenting power and interacting with the viewing public. Tony Bennett's exhibitionary complex theory, argues that nineteenth-century museums were institutions of power that educated, civilized, and through surveillance, encourage self-regulation of crowds. The flâneur's presence in the nineteenth century informed the public about modes of seeing and self-regulation--which in turn helped establish Bennett's theory inside the museum. The popular writing and literature of the time provides an opportunity to examine the extent of the exhibitionary complex and the flâneur. One of the most prominent nineteenth-century authors, Henry James, not only utilizes museums in his work, but he often uses them in just the manner Bennett puts forth in his theory. This is significant because the ideas about museums in James's work shaped the minds of an expanding literary public in the United States, and further educated, civilized, and regulated readers. James also represents the flâneur in his writing, which speaks to broader cultural implications of the both exhibitionary complex on the outside world, and the effects of broader cultural influences on the museum. Beyond the impact of James's work, in the late nineteenth century American culture increasingly became centered around the printed word. The central position of books in American culture at the end of the nineteenth century allowed books and libraries to appropriate the exhibitionary complex and become tools of power in their own right. The book and the library relate to the museum as part of a larger cultural environment, which emerged as a result of modernity and a response to the ever-changing nineteenth-century world.  

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2011

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May the road rise: stories

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A collection of short stories, each told with a differing narrative structure and a different cast of characters. Some stories in the collection employ traditional narrative structures such as the frame tale and the three-act structure. Other stories borrow their

A collection of short stories, each told with a differing narrative structure and a different cast of characters. Some stories in the collection employ traditional narrative structures such as the frame tale and the three-act structure. Other stories borrow their structures from society at large, the bombardment of text and media Americans face every day (letters, recipes, song lyrics). The stories explore how people can read our world and possibly interpret larger shared narrative strands. These stories focus attention on human responses to illness, loss, family, war and protest, looking for opportunities to expand recognition of the range of emotions, moving beyond generic understanding to personal connection. The tone of the collection tends towards dark humor to hint at the deeper, possibly inexplicable human condition.

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2011

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Queering home: domestic space and sexuality in postmodern American literature

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Jason Bryant Queering Home: Domestic Space and Sexuality in Postmodern American Fiction This dissertation explores narratives of homosexuals and trans men and women occupying domestic spaces, discerning the ways that “home” shapes understandings about sexuality and examining the ways that

Jason Bryant Queering Home: Domestic Space and Sexuality in Postmodern American Fiction This dissertation explores narratives of homosexuals and trans men and women occupying domestic spaces, discerning the ways that “home” shapes understandings about sexuality and examining the ways that understandings of sexuality shape how domestic spaces are occupied. Queer artists and intellectuals have deconstructed the legacy of normativity that clings to the metaphor of the domestic realm. Queering Home argues that writers have used the discursive concept of home to cultivate sociopolitical communities (Audre Lorde, Zami) while also insisting upon material spaces of shelter and comfort for individuals queered by gender performance, sexual orientation, and resultant adverse economic conditions (Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues). Two novels, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina and Mike Albo's Hornito, challenge the coming-of-age tradition of narrating childhood/adolescence through the redeeming prism of the confident, queer adult; in particular, these novels trouble the problematic notion of domesticated maturation as a heteronormative condition that continues to cling to much contemporary American lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) politics. The third chapter examines Marilyn Hacker's sonnet collection, Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons in correspondence with Carl Phillips's collection, Cortège, as they queer the concept of domestic bliss, the goal toward which romantic partners are “supposed” to be committed. Hacker and Phillips revise the same-sex couple as a processing of gay ways of life, which resists positing normative, married futures for lesbians and homosexuals. Finally, the study investigates Terrence McNally's play, Lips Together, Teeth Apart and a series of still life paintings by Joey Terrill for their depiction of narratives of domestic spaces (pools, open-concept design, medicine cabinets), which condition the subjectification and desubjectification of gay male sexuality and domesticity in the era of HIV/AIDS. Throughout, this dissertation draws energy by challenging the “given” and “inevitable” heteronorms that condition domesticity, sexuality, and space, demonstrating how late twentieth century writers and artists have queered the home.

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2013

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Fledglings of Anani

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The Fledglings of Anani is a universe with an underlying organizing principle of desire, auspiciousness and serendipity, the veiled doors and windows of these realms serve as fugues bridging layers of time leading us through myth and landscape intimately tied

The Fledglings of Anani is a universe with an underlying organizing principle of desire, auspiciousness and serendipity, the veiled doors and windows of these realms serve as fugues bridging layers of time leading us through myth and landscape intimately tied to the physical intelligence of earth and character of place. It is a voice that comes to know itself first as being, then in correspondence to nature and her elements, enters into the rhythm of human connection and ultimately circles back to comprehend itself as all these things, varying only in degree. The poems travel further and further toward an allusive center with a contemplative inner eye that embraces the complexity and vitality of life.

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2012

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The wicked man's portion: discourses of vice and boundaries of moral citizenship in early New England

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"The Wicked Man's Portion" uses crime writing as a means to measure modernity in early America. Crime writing does things all too familiarly "modern"; it imagines audiences in need of moral instruction, citizens questioning the decisions of those in power,

"The Wicked Man's Portion" uses crime writing as a means to measure modernity in early America. Crime writing does things all too familiarly "modern"; it imagines audiences in need of moral instruction, citizens questioning the decisions of those in power, and men and women seeking reassurance that their community was safe, just, and moral. Crime writing pries open the dialectic between the expectations of authority and individuals' experiences. What emerges is the concept of a moral citizen, a self-reliant individual sharing responsibility for a well-ordered community. The first chapter examines typological interpretations of scripture in execution sermons revealing the interrelation between religion and law. Chapters two and three focus on the interaction between criminal law and beliefs in the supernatural; chapter two looks at supernatural crimes and forensic methods, such as those surrounding witch trials, and chapter three examines arguments for capital punishment that hinged upon divine involvement in human affairs. The fourth chapter discusses gallows publications' functions in the public sphere and contributions to inchoate democracy. The final chapter asks how equity defined punishment in economic terms. This chapter pays particular attention variations of punishment determined by race, class, and gender.

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2013

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I am the woman with the black black skin: mapping intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance women's poetry

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Mapping Intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance Women's Poetry comprises the first book-length study devoted to examining the role women's poetry played in the Harlem Renaissance, an artistic and sociopolitical movement that reached its zenith in the 1920s. This study is situated

Mapping Intersectionality in Harlem Renaissance Women's Poetry comprises the first book-length study devoted to examining the role women's poetry played in the Harlem Renaissance, an artistic and sociopolitical movement that reached its zenith in the 1920s. This study is situated in a theoretical interdisciplinarity that complicates critical approaches to Black women's subjectivities with respect to resistance and representation. It combines literary, race and gender theory to perform close readings of New Negro Women's poetry. Central chapters of the text theorize the poets' overshadowed engagement with the political movement via the tropes of interiority, motherhood, and sexuality; a closing chapter puts New Negro women's poetry in conversation with the Black Arts Movement. Building on the feminist sociological framework of Intersectionality, which considers the lived experience of individuals who embody multiple layers of marginalization, this dissertation works to identify and unpack sources of racialized gendered disparity in Harlem Renaissance studies. In acknowledging that self–actualization and self–articulation are central to this identity–based movement — a presupposition that informs this study's thesis — it becomes necessary to consider the gendered aspects of the writing for a more comprehensive review of the period. The analytical framework of Intersectionality provides a means to acknowledge New Negro women poets' perspectives regarding their racialized and gendered selves. In essence, Mapping Intersectionality is a concentrated effort toward unearthing evidence of their significant push against race and gender oppression. The motivation driving this study is revision and reclamation: revisionist in its concern for redefining the parameters in which the movement is traditionally perceived; a reclamation in its objective to underscore the influential, but nearly forgotten voices of the women poets of the Harlem Renaissance.

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2013

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Autobiography as political resistance: Anne Moody's Coming of age in Mississippi

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ABSTRACT This dissertation focuses on Anne Moody's use of the autobiographical genre as an extension of her political activism. Noting consistent values and conventions that govern the writing of political activists, this study asserts that Moody's narrative is best situated

ABSTRACT This dissertation focuses on Anne Moody's use of the autobiographical genre as an extension of her political activism. Noting consistent values and conventions that govern the writing of political activists, this study asserts that Moody's narrative is best situated in the genre of political autobiography--a term coined by Angela Davis. Using Margo V. Perkins' text as a base to define autobiography as activism, this dissertation illustrates the consistent values that characterize Moody's narrative as political autobiography, resistance literature, and ultimately Black Power literature. Building on the works of Joanne Braxton, Patricia Hill Collins, Angela Davis, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, bell hooks, Margo V. Perkins, Assata Shakur, and Johnny Stover, this project demonstrates the use of Moody's autobiography as a collective form of resistance that is reflective of autobiography as activism. To frame its argument, this study theorizes how one comes into revolutionary consciousness, demonstrating the move toward activism as a process. Drawing on Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson's autobiographical theory that the "narrated I" is distinguished from the "narrating I," this study asserts, as Francoise Lionnet suggests, that the "narrating I" is the vehicle to deliver recollections relevant to the autobiographer's agenda. This study emphasizes that the early version of the self Moody creates is consciously linked to her role as a future activist, ultimately demonstrating her political evolution through the emphatic linking of the personal and political. Most importantly, this dissertation demonstrates that Moody's text represents a continuity--an autobiographical bridge--between representations of the Christian nonviolent civil rights movement and the Black Power movement of the late 1960's. This study argues that Moody's autobiography is ideologically poised at the intersection of civil rights and Black Power; therefore, it serves as both a civil rights autobiography and a Black Power autobiography. Coming of Age in Mississippi offers a unique contribution to the genre of Black Power autobiography for the way it facilitates unprecedented insight into the transition from non-violent civil rights ideology to revolutionary consciousness.

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2011

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Intergenerational narratives: American responses to the Holocaust

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This dissertation examines U. S. American intergenerational witnesses to the Holocaust, particularly how addressees turned addressors maintain an ethical obligation to First Generation witnesses while creating an affective relation to this history for new generations. In response to revisionism and

This dissertation examines U. S. American intergenerational witnesses to the Holocaust, particularly how addressees turned addressors maintain an ethical obligation to First Generation witnesses while creating an affective relation to this history for new generations. In response to revisionism and the incommunicability of the Holocaust, a focus on (accurate) First Generation testimony emerged that marginalizes that of intergenerational witnesses. The risk of such a position is that it paralyzes language, locking the addressee into a movement always into the past. Using examples of intergenerational witnesses (moving from close to more distant relationships), this project argues that there is a possibility for ethical intergenerational response. There are two major discussion arcs that the work follows: self-reflexivity and the use of the Banality of Evil as a theme. Self-reflexivity in intergenerational witnessing calls attention to the role of the author as transgenerational witness, an act that does not seek to appropriate the importance or position of the Holocaust survivor because it calls attention to a subjective site in relation to the survivor and the communities of memory created within the text. The other major discussion arc moves from traditional depictions of the Banality of Evil to ones that challenge the audience to consider the way evil is conceptualized after the Holocaust and its implications in contemporary life. In these ways, intergenerational witnesses move from addressee to addressors, continuing to stress the importance of this history through the imperative to pass Holocaust testimony onward into the future.

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2012

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From indeterminacy to acknowledgment: topoi of lesbianism in transatlantic fiction by women, 1925 to 1936

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This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under this umbrella, the project will perform two tasks: First, it

This project will attempt to supplement the current registry of lesbian inquiry in literature by exploring a very specific topos important to the Modern era: woman and her intellect. Under this umbrella, the project will perform two tasks: First, it will argue that the Modern turn that accentuates what I call negative valence mimesis is a moment of change that enables the general public to perceive lesbianism in representations of women that before, perhaps, remained unacknowledged. And, second, that the intersection of thought and resistance to heteronormative structures, such as heterosexual desire/sex, childbirth, marriage, religion, feminine performance, generate topoi of lesbianism that lesbian studies should continuously critique in order to index the myriad and creative ways through which fictional representations of women have evaded their proper roles in society. The two tasks above will be performed amidst the backdrop of a crucial moment in history in which lesbianism jumped from fiction to fact through the publication and obscenity trial of Radclyffe Hall's novel, The Well of Loneliness. Deconstructive feminist and queer inquiry of under-researched novels by women from the UK and the US written within the decade surrounding the trial reveals the possibilities of lesbianism in novels where the protagonists' investment in heteronormativity has remained unquestioned. In those texts where the protagonists have been questioned, the analysis of lesbianism will be delved into more deeply in order to illustrate new ways of reading these texts. I will focus on women writers who, as Terry Castle suggests, "both usurped and deepened the [lesbian] genre" with the arrival of the new century (Literature 29). It is my attempt to combat heteronormativity through a more positive approach. As Michael Warner asserts, "heteronormativity can be overcome only by actively imagining a necessarily and desirably queer world" (xvi). This is not to say this study will be all roses and no thorns; a desirably queer world is not about a wish for an utopia. For this project, it is about rigorously engaging in the lesbianism of literature while acknowledging how a lesbian reading, a reading for lesbianism, can continue to both expand and enrich the critical tradition of a text and the customary interpretation of various characters.

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2012