English Language and Literature ETDs

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Through the lens of structural intertextuality, this dissertation reveals the significance of literary allusion in some of Evelyn Waughs works. It investigates intertextual significance and intent that has, heretofore, been largely bypassed. This study tracks Waugh's intertextual instances from his earliest novels through his short stories to one of his final works. Waugh's intertextuality unearths a hope for not only literary culture but also the world at large. A study of Waugh's intertextuality uncovers an overarching theme of hope rooted in literary culture. This dissertation begins with an explanation of intertextual theory and the words and phrases pivotal to a cohesive understanding of these findings. It then proceeds through the works chronologically. Chapter One explores the use of Dante and Carroll in the novel Vile Bodies by explaining a deterioration of both culture and humanity while providing a remedy that is literature. Then Chapter Two's discussion of Malory's text within Handful of Dust rejects the initial critical reaction of associating pessimism and fatalism with the text. Chapter Three's analysis of 'Out of Depth' and Love Among the Ruins uncovers an intertextual analysis concerning Huxley, Shakespeare and earlier works of Waugh himself that purports the importance of reviving literary culture and reclaiming freewill. Chapter Four recognizes that Waugh's use of T.S. Eliot in Brideshead Revisited begins to confirm the essentiality of literature for the well-being or the individual as well as the world. The dissertation culminates in Chapter Five with The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold and its emphasis on the personal application of intertext. Ultimately this dissertation reveals that by way of intertext Evelyn Waugh subtly challenges his readers to improve themselves by looking beyond their own experiences. The deeper he explores the art of intertext the more his texts reveal the troubles of the current age. At the same time, however, as this dissertation demonstrates, his use of intertext not only diagnoses the tribulations facing the modern world but also provides a cure in the form of a reviving literary culture.'

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Level of Degree


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First Advisor

Benz, Stephen

First Committee Member (Chair)

Beene, Lynn

Second Committee Member

Reisman, Mara

Third Committee Member

Obermeier, Anita




Evelyn Waugh, Intertextuality, "Love Among the Ruins, " Vile Bodies, Brideshead Revisited, Handful of Dust, T.S. Eliot, "Out of Depth, " The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, Genette, "Love Among the Ruins" Catholicism

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