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Title: Fathoming the depths of Thoreauvian time
Author: Manglis, Alexandra
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis endeavors to engage in contemporary Thoreauvian scholarship by providing an original reading of Thoreau’s works using a critical framework based on Wai Chee Dimock’s concept of “deep time.” As such, it argues that Thoreau’s infamous embrace of political and rhetorical dissent takes shape in his writings most strongly in his construction of time-frames that break with or stand against his contemporaries’ own use, sense, and measuring of time in antebellum New England. Focusing on two aspects of Henry David Thoreau’s work, the thesis argues firstly that Walden’s resistance to familiar, sequential understandings of time manifests in myth, wherein time and history are shaped holistically rather than sequentially. Secondly, it posits that Thoreau’s excursion narratives resist the dominant recordings of history of his time by forming alternative historiographies within their structures, accommodating otherwise silent or ignored historical elements, at the expense of otherwise smooth, uninterrupted narratives. Having thus established Thoreau’s temporal structures, the thesis goes on to look at Annie Dillard and Susan Howe in order to trace out Thoreau’s previously unacknowledged formation of temporal structures in his texts as a genealogy that emerges in late twentieth-century American literature. Consequently, the thesis provides an alternative reading of Thoreau that moves toward a rethinking of his location in nineteenth-century America and its twentieth-century literature.
Supervisor: Pratt, Lloyd; Bush, Ron Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: American literature in English ; C19th American Literature ; Thoreau