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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Literature in English, British Isles
This dissertation looks at nineteenth-century British writers who developed strategies for making use of the patterns of addiction. I consider how writers built texts around addicted characters whose condition drives them always to search for something more even while they live repetitiously, resulting in repetitive texts of endless pursuit. Such literary strategies of addiction, evident in works by writers ranging from Percy Shelley to George Eliot and beyond, emphasize narratives structured around affectively charged, exploratory repetition.
The theoretical framework for this project draws from a tradition of criticism that focuses on literary orientation toward possibility and possible worlds. Possible-worlds theorists and critics have described how specific attitudes toward possibility shape texts; addiction, I argue, intensifies a sense of unattained possibility that must be endlessly sought, and so addiction-like narratives consequently involve narrative worlds of intensified mystery and possibility.
Colman, Adam, "Addictive Reading: Nineteenth-Century Drug Literature's Possible Worlds" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations. 618.
Available for download on Wednesday, May 06, 2020