Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Evelyn Gajowski

Number of Pages



My dissertation focuses on language and forms of expression for women in early modern English literature. In particular, William Shakespeare's character Lavinia from Titus Andronicus, Elizabeth Cary's character Mariam in The Tragedy of Mariam, and Isabella Whitney's narrative voice in her poem "The Manner of Her Will" are examined. French feminist Helene Cixous provides the theoretical framework for this project. Exploring manifestations of Cixous's crucial terms "decapitation" and "disgorgement" is the objective of the three core chapters. Privileging the female body's text and discussing the variety of means used to "speak" it is of central concern. The connection between silencing and expression that brings about a subversion of discourse through generosity rather than hostility is interrogated. I continue to be excited by an investigation of unique ways in which women use language to express rather than be repressed by patriarchal society. This project attempts to follow in the footsteps of contemporary psychoanalytic feminists and post-structuralist critics.


Body; Cary, Elizabeth; Decapitation; Disgorgement; Early; Elizabeth Cary; English; Female; Female Body; Isabella Whitney; Literature; Shakespeare, William; Text; Whitney, Isabella; William Shakespeare

Controlled Subject

British literature; English literature--Irish authors; Irish literature; Theater; Women's studies

File Format


File Size

8089.6 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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