Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


English (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Katheryn S Freeman

Second Committee Member

Brenna M Munro

Third Committee Member

Renee Fox

Fourth Committee Member

Stephen Behrendt


This project examines the way nineteenth century authors use music in their work to complicate social expectations and hierarchies. These authors use music as a fluid metaphor for subversive possibilities that work against hegemonic readings of the text. By “music” I mean representations of people playing and listening to music, discussions of music in text, and the production of musicality through language. I posit that music confounds its own seemingly measured structure through the nature and movement of sound. Thus, “music” can operate in written text as a non-linear and non-cyclical temporal sound space, revealing cracks or ruptures in dominant social constructions while confounding enlightenment binaries, specifically hierarchies built around music and gender. Authors from the long nineteenth century, including William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats, Thomas De Quincey, Sydney Owenson, Charles Dickens, William Thackeray, and Oscar Wilde, use music as a fluid metaphor in a range of genres, re-imagining the boundaries of nineteenth century literature.


Nineteenth Century Literature; Music; Temporality; Gender; Feminine

Available for download on Friday, May 01, 2020