Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Mangum, Teresa

First Committee Member

Boos, Florence

Second Committee Member

Stewart, Garrett

Third Committee Member

Hill, Matthew E.

Fourth Committee Member

Stauffer, Andrew


My dissertation examines the ways that canine roles affect genre—the categories into which we place works of literature, which shape their forms and which in turn shape our expectations of what we read. For instance, if epitaphs and elegies are at least partially meant to usher the dead into heaven and praise the dead’s suitability for a Christian afterlife, what happens when the subject is a dog denied a soul by Christianity? These are the kinds of questions I address. In addition to epitaphs and elegies, I consider detective and sensation fiction as well as dog autobiographies—works of fiction written from the dog’s perspective—to explore how taking the dog as a subject forced the conventions of certain genres to change, or in the case of detective and sensation fiction, how dog-like ways of knowing helped to birth a new genre altogether. In either case, what is important is that the generic changes signal a less human-centered approach to literature: one which opens animals up to be the possessors of souls, intelligence, and subjectivity. These changes paved the way for the Victorians to consider animals as beings worthy of compassion and respect.


Animal studies, Autobiography, Canine, Detective fiction, Dog, Genre


viii, 187 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 178-187).


Copyright © 2018 Michelle Marie Taylor