Christine Allison, "Reluctant Heroes, Rebuilding Empire: The Significance of The Hornblower Saga in Post-World War II Britain" (Literary Criticism and Theory; Advised by Chad Stutz)
C.S. Forester’s ‘Hornblower’ saga has received very little critical attention. This series of British adventures novels, published in the wake of the Second World War, centres on the naval exploits of Horatio Hornblower, a boy who rises from rank of Midshipman to Admiral and Lord. Using the first two novels of the series, Mr. Midshipman Hornblower and Lieutenant Hornblower, I will be examining how Forester uses the historic novel to explore the position of the British Empire and its people in the post-World War II period. I will be arguing that Forester characterizes Hornblower as a reflection of the state of the British Empire after World War II. By placing this introspective and more reluctant hero in the zenith of nineteenth-century British naval power, Forester makes an attempt to reinforce imperial pride and to reinvigorate his audience from their current insecurities towards rebuilding the once-glorious Empire.
Nate DiMauro, "Whittierland, a Novella” (Creative Writing – Fiction; Advised by Mark Stevick).
For my senior honors thesis I am working on a short, fiction novella called Whittierland, inspired by works like A Separate Peace by John Knowles, City of God by E.L. Doctorow, Fludd by Hilary Mantel, and the poetry of nineteenth-century poet, John Greenleaf Whittier. When a cantankerous and feverish, young, prep school English teacher learns of his father’s sudden death during an evening prayer meeting hosted at his home, he must return to his home town—the remote and superstitious, colonial Massachusetts village of Roche Isle—to make arrangements. In his father’s home, he finds a trail of clues revealing the mysterious, secret life of a man he had never really known, and the supernatural underground of life in Roche Isle. Part mystery, part myth, and part satire, Whittierland is about transformation and light, clarity in obscurity, and knowing by heart.
Suzanne Hammer, "Linking Female Creation and Maternity in Margaret Drabble's Single Mothers" (Literary Criticism and Theory; Advised by Ann Ferguson)
This English honors thesis will discuss Margaret Drabble's exploration of the connection between maternity and female creation. Julia Kristeva has suggested that the feminist movement would benefit from exploring this link, and I will suggest that Drabble does this through her handling of single motherhood. The thesis will focus on the novels The Millstone (1965) and The Pure Gold Baby (2013), which bookend the majority of Drabble's career. These two novels feature Drabble's typical educated career-driven women protagonists who deal with unplanned pregnancies and choose to remain single mothers. The similar subject matter of the novels, published nearly fifty years apart, makes for a rich discussion of Drabble's views and style as they have matured throughout her career. In my discussion of these works, I will be examining the protagonists, their narrators, and Drabble's style and scope to determine how Drabble handles the link between female creation and maternity.
David Hicks, "Copyright Law in the 21st Century: Strengths, Weaknesses, and the Scholars' Place Amidst it All" (Literary Criticism and Theory; Advised by Andrew Logemann)
My project focuses on the contemporary history of American copyright law with regards to literary modernist scholarship. In particular, I look at how American scholarship of James Joyce’s Ulysses has been affected by its always-changing copyright status on this side of the Atlantic. Focusing on Ulysses is apt because of the work’s particularly complicated legal history, but also because its contemporary legal status exemplifies the typical legal ambiguity facing many other modernist works as they are studied in the United States. A ‘contemporary’ history is appropriate because of the significant changes that have been made since 1989, when the United States joined the international Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Before then, America had a strong historical precedent of discriminating against foreign works, making it very difficult for them to achieve copyright status, and thus defaulting many significant texts (e.g., Ulysses) into the public domain. However, American copyright law continues to be problematic for literary scholars who utilize the Internet to access international modernist works. A study of contemporary American copyright law’s evolution is indispensable for current and aspiring literary scholars. As texts are increasingly shared and accessed in multiple countries via the Internet, a scholar can no longer assume that a source may be legally used. Because of the present ambiguity in this “global commons,” we need students of literature to be critically evaluating how American copyright law contributes to—or detracts from—literary scholarship.
Mallory Moench, "Short Story Collection in the Study of Identity: Migration and Multiculturalism, Connection and Conflict, Banishment and Belonging" (Creative Writing – Fiction; Advised by Lori Ambacher and Mark Stevick).
In today’s world of mass migration and merging multiculturalism, what makes us who we are? How do we form our identities in connection and in conflict, in belonging and in exile? And how do we define who “we” are and who the “other” is? Through this creative writing project, I explore these issues of belonging and exile, with particular attention to how identity can be both cemented and fractured through conflict. In a series of five short stories, I give voice to minorities caught between cultures, ethnicities, races, and religions, reflecting their diversity through diverse writing styles, points of view, and perspectives. Through this project, I want to tell the truth of the human experience, in all its joy and sorrow, tragedy and triumph, light and darkness. I want to give voice to those forgotten or silenced, oppressed or overlooked, and by doing so confront uncomfortable issues within our world and within ourselves. Ultimately, I want to stretch my imagination in such a way that I, and my reader, can enter the consciousness of someone else, and in doing so, to allow the "other" to become "us."
Megan Wernig, "Community and Solitude, Words and Silence: A Nouwen-Inspired Journey" (Creative Writing – Nonfiction; Advised by Lynn Marcotte).
Inspiration for this creative writing project is drawn from Henri Nouwen’s Out of Solitude, one of the books that shaped my experience in Orvieto, Italy: “The careful balance between silence and words, withdrawal and involvement, distance and closeness, solitude and community forms the basis of the Christian life… Let us therefore look somewhat closer, first at our life in action, and then our life in solitude.” My project is a collection of nonfiction stories that focus on meaningful places in my life with special attention to the community that was present or the solitude I felt in this place. I explore whether it is the landscape of the place that makes it special, the people that are located in this place, or the combination of the two. Using examples from my home in New Hampshire, my home in Orvieto, Italy, and additional places that may be unconventional “homes,” I focus on both the influential presence of either community or solitude in a place. I have found that the most transformative experiences in my life have either been distinguished by the presence of an intentional community or moments of complete solitude.