Year of Publication

2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Jenny Rice

Abstract

In recent years critical projects spanning philosophy, the social sciences, science studies, and nearly everywhere that has employed the term ecology have engaged in thinking humans and non-humans together as collectively producing outcomes, where objects do work beyond how humans perceive or make use of them. Taking Zelda Fitzgerald’s Save Me the Waltz as its focus, this thesis explores how this reorientation might contribute to literary studies and to literary criticism more specifically. The thesis considers a notion that novels constitute objects with biographies running “against” the biographic material of their authors, mobilizes actor network theory as a manner of mapping that biographic assemblage, and tentatively develops a biographic network approach as one alternative to traditional literary interpretative practices. Attending to the novel as an actor shifts critical focus away from its interior – the “text” or content – and expands traditional literary criticism’s default practice – interpretation – and logic – mimetic representation – in hopes of facilitating a discussion of Zelda’s novel in a manner which destabilizes the overdetermined themes that continue to scaffold her imaginary. Ultimately, this work argues that a biographic network approach can prove instructive as a “method” for dealing with other texts which remain relatively obscured at the margins of literary consciousness.

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