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Comparative Literature Commons

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European Languages and Societies

Theses/Dissertations

Bildungsroman

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The Ends Of Plot: Rupture And Entanglement In L’Amica Geniale, Victor X. Zarour Zarzar Sep 2019

The Ends Of Plot: Rupture And Entanglement In L’Amica Geniale, Victor X. Zarour Zarzar

All Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

This dissertation employs narrative theory to contextualize Elena Ferrante’s successful saga, L’amica geniale, within the larger tapestry of European novelistic discourses. It engages with conceptions of narrative structure put forth by critics like Ortega y Gasset, Brooks, and Winnett to understand how L’amica geniale offers cutting commentary on our exegetic practices and advances a geometry of narrative entanglement. I contend that Ferrante recuperates and italicizes nineteenth-century modes of storytelling, displaying a form of epistemological tension rooted in a movement away from a belief in plot’s semantic potentialities and into the postulation of a poetics of smarginatura ...


Desire In The Bildungsroman: Construction And Pursuit Of An Ideal Self Through The Ideal Other, Ethan Watson Jun 2018

Desire In The Bildungsroman: Construction And Pursuit Of An Ideal Self Through The Ideal Other, Ethan Watson

Honors Theses

The Bildungsroman, or “novel of education,” has remained popular since Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship. I examine this novel, as well as Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations, and Walter Moers’s Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures, focusing specifically on the relationships between the three male protagonists and the women that they encounter throughout their lives. Using the theories of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, literary critic René Girard, and feminist philosopher Judith Butler, I draw parallels between and contribute to the scholarly conversation of all three works (or in the case of Moers's recent fantasy, Rumo, begin the critical conversation). All three protagonists mirror the women that they encounter, creating visions of ideal selves that they strive to become. The characters’ progress and relationships, though different, all exemplify Lacan’s Mirror Stage theory, as well as the theories of desire in Girard and Butler; the latter two theories take Lacan’s ideas further and contribute to my comparison of characteristics in these three coming of age novels. I argue that, no matter the length of their journey or the final results of their relationships, successfully completing the Mirror Stage leads the protagonists to become their ideal selves