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Author ORCID Identifier


Campus-Only Access for Five (5) Years

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Jim Hicks

Second Advisor

Catherine Portuges

Third Advisor

Daniel Sack

Fourth Advisor

Anna Botta

Subject Categories

American Literature | Comparative Literature | Film and Media Studies | Italian Literature | Performance Studies | Slavic Languages and Societies


My dissertation examines literary accounts of failure and failed performance largely in the context of the advent of modernity. I read the works of John Williams, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and Bruno Jasieński as case studies to discuss a non-redemptive kind of failure, one where the narrative does not suggest failing as a step to eventual success. Never-lasting Effectsis an attempt to delineate the productive side of failure within a non-future-oriented approach. In parallel with a reading of the above authors, I review the existing narratives about failure, in the main offered by scholars and critics who see it either as a nihilist, apolitical approach or, in a more hopeful way, as a tool of subversion and revolutionary practice under the conditions of late capitalism. My dissertation carves out a theoretical position outside of either of these opposed camps in what appears to be a nascent field of failure studies. Taking my methodology from performance studies and its emphasis on ephemerality, I examine failure synchronically, as it happens in its present. As I argue, there are important political effects produced by failure that cannot continue into the utopian future. My discussions of Williams, Pasolini, and Jasieński offer a new methodology of reading failure that helps us examine and understand those effects better.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.