DOI

10.17077/etd.aa4yzdvq

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

English

First Advisor

Teresa Mangum

First Committee Member

Florence Boos

Second Committee Member

Garrett Stewart

Third Committee Member

Matthew E. Hill

Fourth Committee Member

Andrew Stauffer

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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

Pages

viii, 187 pages

Bibliography

Includes bibliographical references (pages 178-187).

Copyright

Copyright © 2018 Michelle Marie Taylor

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