Literature Program Dissertations

We are very proud of the contributions our graduate students have made and will continue to make to their respective fields. Students develop and complete their projects with the help of their professor-mentors, travel funding from the University, and the assistance of a host of competitive grants and scholarships. Some of their more recent work can be found below:


2017-2018 Academic Year
  • Kentaro Tabata. "Modernist Empathy in American Literature: William Faulkner, Nathanael West, and Richard Wright"
  • Kimberly T. Anderson. "Engendering a Miscellany: Motherhood in the Auchinleck Manuscript"
  • Paula J. Anderson. “Evolving Constructions of Love and Marriage in Austen, Eliot, and Wilde"
  • Thomas Hays Bevilacqua. “The dislocation of man in the modern age”: The pilgrim condition in mid-twentieth century American Catholic Literature
  • Alexander Dumas J. Brickler IV. “Darker Matters: Racial Theorizing through Alternate History, Transhistorical Black Bodies, and Towards a Literature of Black Mecha in the Science Fiction Novels of Steven Barnes”
  • Taylor Alexis Clement. "Book Illustration and Intersemiotic Translation in Early Modern England"
  • Natalie Perfetti. “The Personal, the Political, and the Confessional: Confessional Poetry and the Truth of the Body, 1959 to 2014"
  • Michael M. Wagoner. "Defining Dramatic and Theatrical Interruptions: Shakespeare, Jonson, Fletcher"
  • Patrick William Frank Osborne. “Literary Violence in the Age of Depression”
2016-2017 Academic Year
  • Sarah M. Cerniglia. "Advice and Discontent: Staging Identity through Legal Representation on the British Stage, 1660-1800."
  • Matthew J. Dauphin. “The Laws of Fantasy Remix"
  • Patrick V. Day. “The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the Seventeenth Century: Transmission, Translation, Reception"
  • Taylor L. Murphy. “Negative Bonds: White Creoles and Affect in Romantic Women's Fiction"
  • Elizabeth M. Natt. "Mary Elizabeth Braddon's 'Unknown Public': The Penny Dreadful and the Sensation Novel"
  • Jessica R. Pitts. "Sexual Assault and Masculinity in Chivalric Romance: Destabilizing the Rhetoric of Womanhood as Victimhood in the Middle Ages"
  • Raymond B. Stricklin. "Overwriting Literature: Acts of Cultural Terrorism in the Control Era"
2015-2016 Academic Year
  • Jenise Shree Hudson. "Keeping it Together: Reading Affect and Strong Black Womanhood in Larsen, Hurston and Shange."
  • Andrew Scott Walker. "Lyric Resistance: Twentieth-Century Verse Drama Against the Lyric."
2014-2015 Academic Year
  • Sarah M. Brandeberry. "Educating Women: Women Writers, the Novel, and the Education Debate, 1790-1820."
  • Victoria Reynolds Farmer. "Girlhood and Autonomy in YA Shakespeares."
  • Lisa G. Jennings. "The Alchemy of Sexuality in Early Modern English Lyric Poetry."
  • Adam R. McKee. "Authority of Space/Spaces of Authority: Modernism, Power, and the Production of Space."
  • Jennifer L. Moffitt. "Representation and the Modern Female Subject: The New Woman Painter in American Literature."
  • Deborah Cosier Solomon. "Mapping the Poetics of Early Modern Garden and Lyric Traditions."
2013-2014 Academic Year
  • Paul G. Ardoin. "Perception Sickness: Modernist Literature and the Dangers of a Heightened Awareness."
  • Robert B. Bowman. "Labor and Leisure in the Tropical Environment: Race, Class, and the Enjoyment of Nature."
  • Joshua C. Burnett. "My Left Arm, Her Twin Blades: Narratives of Resistance in Black Speculative Fiction."
  • Jenny S. Caneen. "Outlawed Bodies: Constructing Social Pathology in Early Modern England."
  • Jennifer L. Donahue. "Taking Flight: Caribbean Women Writing from Abroad."
  • Christopher D. Higgs. "Between Experimentation and Tradition: Two Visions of American Identity."
  • Kathryn A. Lechler. "There's Something About Middleton: The Plays of Thomas Middleton Onstage from 1960-2013."
  • Fiona M. McWilliam. "Selling the Shadow, Supporting the Substance: Representing the Black Body in Abolitionist Literature and Culture, 1830-1865."
  • Caitlin E. Newcomer. "Troubling the Lineage: Women, Innovation, and the American Long Poem in the Twentieth Century and Beyond."
  • Sarah A. Syrjanen. "Clearing Space for Our Own Voices: The (Re) Writings of Zadie Smith, Jeanette Winterson, and Emma Tennant."
  • Cameron E. Williams. "A Primitive and Frightening South: Gender and Sexual Violence in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Southern Fiction."
  • Aimee A. Wilson. "Conceived in Modernism: The Aesthetics and Politics of Birth Control."
2012-2013 Academic Year
  • Meaghan J. Brown. "A 'Good Report of England:' Narratives of Production and National Identity in Early Modern Print (1473-1625)."
  • Regina Bradley. "Race to Post: Negotiating White Hegemonic Capitalism & Black Empowerment in Post-Civil Rights Black Literature & Popular Culture."
  • Kevin M. Carr. "A Theatre of the Senses: A Cultural History of Theatrical Effects in Early Modern England."
  • Laci J. Mattison. "From Modernism to Transnationality: Virginia Woolf, H.D., Yoko Tawada, and the De/territorializations of Subjectivity"
  • Scott Ortolano. "Logically Disturbed: Mental Maladies, Consumer Culture, and the Pursuit of Happiness in American Modernist Literature"
  • Amber Pearson. "The Ecopoetics of Space: How Contemporary American Poetics Can Help Posthumans Navigate a Postnatural World"
  • Lindsey N. Phillips. "Edible Economies and Tasteful Rhetoric: Diet in the Transatlantic World During the Long Eighteenth Century"
  • Tana Jean Welch. "The Posthuman Turn in 21st-century American Poetry"
2011-12 Academic Year
  • Lisa G. Jennings. "The Alchemy of Sexuality in Early Modern English Lyric Poetry"
  • Peter C. Kunze. "The Tears of a Clown: Masculinity and Comedy in Contemporary American Narratives"
  • Cheryl B. Price. "The Subtle Art: Poison in Victorian Literature"
  • Matthew L. Price. "Epidemic of the Mind: Insanity and Early American Literature 1789-1804."
  • Stacey A. Suver. "'Interzone' or Bust: Sanctuary and National Identity in the Work of Post-War American Expatriates in Tangier."
2010-11 Academic Year
  • Leonard Troy Appling. "Plays, Pastors, and Politics: Religious Figures and Ideological Construction in Modern American Drama"
  • Brent K. Griffin. "'My charms crack not, my spirits obey': The Promise of Original Practices at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, 2003-2005"
  • Catherine R. Littler. "American Exodus: Challenging Narratives of Exceptionalism in Contemporary American Literature"
  • April McCray. "Marriage and Identity in Twentieth Century African-American Women's Fiction"
  • William Silverman. "Seeing while Blind: Disability, Theories of Vision, and Milton's Poetry"
  • Crishawn Speller. "In This Skin: A Search for Identity through Gender, Sexuality and Self Love"
  • David A. Swanson. "The Law and the Christ Poems: An Examination of the Cultural Influence on and by Texts"
  • Sarah Unruh. "'Something Fouler than the Earth': Death and the Dying Body in British Romantic Literature"
2009-10 Academic Year
  • Joanna Beall. "Interlace in Early Britain"
  • Lamar J. Garnes. "Can't Knock the Hustle: Hustler Masculinity in African American Literature and Culture"
  • Andrew McFeaters. "How the Irish Ended History: Postmodern Writings of James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, and Samuel Beckett"
  • Jane Phares. "Natural, Civilized, Citizen: Dickens's Characters and Rousseau's Philosophy"
  • Deidre Price. "Confessional Poetry and Blog Culture in the Age of Autobiography"
2008-9 Academic Year
  • Megan Campbell. "The Gaze in Eighteenth-Century Portraits of the Other"
  • Flore Chevaillier. "The Body of Writing: An Erotics of Language in Contemporary American Fiction"
  • Amy Hall. "Pass the Cup and Jump the Fire: The Defining Power of Traditional Holidays in Late Medieval and Early Modern England"
  • Meredith M. Hand. "That Inimitable Art: Magic in Early Modern English Culture"
  • Tatia Jacobson Jordon. "Fashioning and Refashioning Marie Laveau in American Memory and Imagination"
  • Heidi Marshall. "Family Dynamics in American Literature: Genesis and Beyond"
  • Kathryn Meehan. "Self Representation, Modernity,and Social Critique in Nineteenth-Century Working Class Women's Poetry"
  • Alejandra P. Vargas. "Romantic Legacies: Modern Reimagining of Romanticism in Levertov, Williams, and Nabokov"
  • Margaret Wright-Cleveland. "White Is a Color: Race and the Developing Modernism of Jean Toomer, Ernest Hemingway, and William Faulkner"
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