Abstract PhD Thesis Dr Krissie West
Congratulations to CIRCL PhD student Dr Krissie West who passed her PhD viva on 10-05-2016 with her thesis”To be boy eternal”: Locating the Child in the Literature and Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson. External Examiner: Professor Peter Buse (Kingston University), Internal Examiner: Professor Peter Stoneley!
(Abstract of thesis)
This thesis considers Ralph Waldo Emerson’s question, in ‘Nature’, of ‘What is a Child?’, as it applies to his own work and that of his critics. Through an approach that seeks to destabilize ‘child’ as a known and fixed term, I consider how criticism of the child in Emerson’s works has been limited in scope and in readings of the child that take place solely in terms of Emerson’s own biography, in particular via the poem ‘Threnody’ and the essay ‘Experience’.
It also considers readings of absence as constructed by the critics and read in terms of archive, where I also consider the status and valuing of texts in what Jacques Derrida constructs as the ‘institutional passage from the private to the public’. Absence is also considered in the chapter on grief and reading the dead child, which tracks critical readings of ‘Threnody’ and ‘Experience’ as what critics construct as ‘the work of grief’, and considers the child as body and as ‘boy eternal’.
This thesis also reads claims to ‘child’ in terms of value, property and possession in critical works on Emerson and on the child in the nineteenth century. This section concludes with a reading of ‘child’ in terms of location, to consider how criticism locates the child and also how the child is located by location itself.
In the second section, I look at a number of Emerson’s works in order to consider what I read as a constant relocating of the child as Emerson negotiates the boundaries between childhood and manhood, youth and age, and continues to ask of his texts, ‘What is a child?’. I consider how the child is continually located by critics as the ‘peripheral child’ in Emerson’s works, and look at how the child might be relocated within wider Emersonian studies.
Catrin Edwards, CIRCL MA 2006-7, CIRCL PhD 2010CIRCL MA and PhD
Hannah Smith (now: Anglin-Jaffe), CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2005CIRCL MA and PhD
Helen Ainslie, CIRCL MA 2004-5, CIRCL PhD 2006-9CIRCL MA and PhD
Hilary Fraser, CIRCL MA 1999-2000, CIRCL PhD 2009CIRCL MA and PhD
JIANG Jianli (Tina), Associate Professor, Qingdao Technological University, China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow 2016-17