Department Chair

Dr. Ralph L. Wahlstrom, Chair and Professor of English

Date of Award

5-2013

Access Control

Campus-Only Access

Degree Name

English, M.A.

Department

English Department

Advisor

Dr. Peter J. Ramos, Associate Professor of English

Department Home page

http://english.buffalostate.edu/

First Reader

Dr. Peter J. Ramos, Associate Professor of English

Second Reader

Dr. David Ben-Merre, Assistant Professor of English

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The focus of my thesis project is to investigate how three modernist women writers, Virginia Woolf, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Hilda Doolittle (H.D.), navigate gender and subjectivity through ghostly figures and the uncanny nature of language. I argue that ghosts within Woolf’s Orlando, Brooks’s The Womanhood, and H.D.’s Trilogy, haunt a normative gendered binary. Through poststructural analyses, I will illuminate the ways that reading the discursive conventions of a text engages modernist feminisms. As these writers switch between the figure of a person and that of a ghost, they are constantly engaging in the spaces of the unknown. The illusory selfhoods of their ghostly figures become situated between the sign and the trace and between the person and the phantom to reveal the social construction of identity and gender. By resurrecting ghosts of the past, these writers focus on feminist consciousness that promotes transformation and engages the multiplicities of contemporary feminism.

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