Date of Award

6-27-2008

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Randy Malamud - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Marilynn Richtarik

Third Advisor

Dr. Nancy Chase

Abstract

In this dissertation I examine a variety of modern and postmodern texts by applying the theories of French philosopher Henri Bergson. Specifically, I apply Bergson's theories of time, memory, and evolution to the texts in order to analyze the meaning of the poem and novels. I assert that all of the works disrupt conventional structure in order to question the linear nature of time. They do this because each must deal with the pressures of external chaos, and, as a result, they find timeless moments can create an internal resolution to the external chaos. I set out to create connections between British, Irish, and American literature, and I examine the influence each author has on others. The modern authors I examine include T. S. Eliot, James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner. I then show the ways this application can elucidate the works of postmodern authors Toni Morrison and Michael Cunningham.

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