Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Flack, Leah

Second Advisor

Canavan, Gerry

Third Advisor

Blair, Amy

Abstract

My project examines contemporary Anglophone women’s rewriting to locate an emerging mode of intertextuality that defies existing literary categories. Together, the writers in my project present a new and formally innovative intertextuality that rebels against available terminology and requires new ways of reading. This project centers authors from a variety of historical contexts, including the African diaspora and former British colonies, whose intertextuality is grounded in the interrogation of Western forms and conventions. I argue that the rewritings of Ali Smith, Helen Oyeyemi, and Éilís Ní Dhuibhne deploy intertextuality to recuperate women’s experiences while interrogating the mechanisms responsible for their erasure. In each of the works I study, the source text is appropriated and rewritten through a process of interrogation aimed at the ideologies it engenders. I argue that this intertextuality is deeply committed to sociopolitical activism. My methodology draws on Mikhail Bakhtin’s dialogism to uncover a culturally situated, embodied mode of intertextuality that brings text, reader, and author into dialogue with each other. I argue that the intertextuality employed by each of these authors requires readers to accommodate ambiguity and instability while engaging in a reading practice aimed at dismantling oppressive structures. My project concludes by extending this analysis into the realm of media-activism by exploring the work of artists Janelle Monáe and Elisa Kreisinger. This final chapter locates a nascent moment of female artists using a dialogic mode of intertextuality to create transformative works of digital activism.

Available for download on Thursday, April 20, 2023

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