Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
First Committee Member
Second Committee Member
Third Committee Member
Matthew E. Hill
Fourth Committee Member
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
Taylor, Michelle Marie. "From sentiment to sagacity to subjectivity: dogs and genre in nineteenth-century British literature." PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2018.