Monstrous undercurrents: Transformative intertextuality in "Arthur Gordon Pym", "Moby--Dick", and "Cape Cod"

by DeRewal, Tiffany, M.A., VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, 2010, 127 pages; 1480379

Abstract:

In much of the recent scholarship on monsters in American literature, textual fiends have been reinterpreted to emphasize the symbolic function of monster as Other. Any static, binary interpretation of a text’s monster, however, undermines a definitive characteristic of the monstrous body: its resistance of any stable classification, and its function as a distorted assemblage of multiple perspectives. I argue that an intertextual approach to the monster helps us resist a linear or binary understanding of the variously un-human bodies which are presented in monster narratives. When texts are examined in their capacity to inform, absorb, and transform each other, they themselves become monstrous hybrids, defined by intersections of meaning and resisting containment. By setting canonical texts of Poe, Melville, and Thoreau into play with an overstuffed melodrama, a children’s adventure tale, and a spiritualized anatomy treatise, I seek to emphasize the impact of popular writings on these major authors. Through the medium of monster studies, I disinter and reanimate monster mythology in both its direct and its dormant manifestations, highlighting textual precedents for the doppelgängers, shapeshifters, and zombies that populate the contemporary imagination.

AdviserMichael Berthold
SchoolVILLANOVA UNIVERSITY
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsAmerican studies; Folklore; American literature
Publication Number1480379

About ProQuest Dissertations & Theses
With nearly 4 million records, the ProQuest Dissertations & Theses (PQDT) Global database is the most comprehensive collection of dissertations and theses in the world. It is the database of record for graduate research.

PQDT Global combines content from a range of the world's premier universities - from the Ivy League to the Russell Group. Of the nearly 4 million graduate works included in the database, ProQuest offers more than 2.5 million in full text formats. Of those, over 1.7 million are available in PDF format. More than 90,000 dissertations and theses are added to the database each year.

If you have questions, please feel free to visit the ProQuest Web site - http://www.proquest.com - or call ProQuest Hotline Customer Support at 1-800-521-3042.