Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Within and Without: Transmutable Dwellings in the Work of Mark Z. Danielewski, Charlotte Brontë, and Edgar Allan Poe
by Henry, Meghan N., M.A., University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2018, 63; 10844135
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis takes a look at three major texts: Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), and Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher (1839). These texts are certainly linked by the gothic motif, past trauma (and thus memory), and also desire. However, I see these texts as a set for several reasons. These texts are representations of how the gothic motif can be used to supply the narrative, not supplement it. This means, for me, that the narratives of these texts are not just staples of “the gothic,” but their very architecture is founded upon the gothic tradition. Each text takes place within a house, in a sort of labyrinthine creation, haunting in nature with supernatural manifestations, and, on top of that, a theme of misery within the family. Although these three texts are connected by their treatment and reliance on the gothic motif, I’m drawn to them as a set because of 1) the characters’ transmutability of the spaces they inhabit and 2) the physicality of the publication themselves. I am concerned with the transformations that occur within and without these texts. By that, I mean I am a concerned with transformations within the minds of the characters (development) and the spaces they occupy, as well how these texts call readers to action. Above all, I am concerned with agency, that of the characters within these texts and of the texts themselves. I argue that these spaces within these texts as well as the texts themselves are posthuman. Though, where does regarding these texts as posthuman leave us as scholars?

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Davis-McElligatt, Joanna
Commitee: Geer, Jennifer, Goodwin, Jonathan
School: University of Louisiana at Lafayette
Department: English
School Location: United States -- Louisiana
Source: MAI 58/05M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: American literature, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Architecture, Gothic, Labyrinth, Posthuman, Posthumanism, Transmutbility
Publication Number: 10844135
ISBN: 9781392041796
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