Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Gina Caison

Second Advisor

Michael Galchinsky

Third Advisor

Mark Noble

Abstract

This thesis examines the role of the prophetic chronotope as a form of alternate, circular time in Baron Ludwig von Reizenstein’s gothic romance, The Mysteries of New Orleans. As the novel’s temporal structure seemingly contains the professed slave revolution through a manipulation of a linear prophetic sequence into circular time, Reizenstein simultaneously portrays a sexual revolution within the closed temporal system; however, as he localizes the sexual revolution in the “real time” of the reader through the inclusion of extra-textual artifacts, the novel’s closed system of alternate, circular time sustains a fissure, loosing all revolutionary potential, slave and sexual, into the reader’s temporality. Reizenstein compares sexual slavery, social restrictions on sexual expression, to chattel slavery, but recognizes it as endemic form of bondage affecting every race; therefore, Reizenstein uses chattel slavery as a ubiquitous circumstance in the U.S. South to identify other covert forms of slavery. In the end, the slave and sexual revolutions become the same conflict, and the restoration of beauty becomes its primary aim.

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