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Maria Susanna Cummins' "The Lamplighter" : a revisioning of a sentimental writer of the nineteenth-century United States as rhetor, social critic, and feminist

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dc.contributor.advisor Helle, Anita
dc.creator Steinert, Laura
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-05T20:19:25Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-05T20:19:25Z
dc.date.copyright 1995-06-01
dc.date.issued 1995-06-01
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1957/34850
dc.description Graduation date: 1996 en_US
dc.description.abstract Within The Lamplighter, a novel written in 1854, Maria Susanna Cummins defines a version of the sentimental novel that significantly differs from the prescriptive analysis male critics have offered for the genre. This thesis argues that feminist theory and recent rhetorical theory have caused a critical paradigm shift that has opened new possibilities for re-visioning this and other nineteenth century sentimental fiction. Certain critics including Nina Baym and Susan K. Harris have suggested that sentimental fiction can be re-visioned by allowed ourselves the freedom to explore the texts through a critique of traditional canonical models. Harris' process analysis method of exploring texts acknowledges the shifting ideologies of nineteenth-century America and blends historical, rhetorical, and ideological methods of criticism in a system that allows the complex nature of sentimental fiction to unfold. Process analysis centers the reading on the text, while valuing the cultural structures and historical context of the time in which it was written. The purpose of this thesis is not to devalue canonical literature nor to value all women-authored texts disregarding valid standards of quality but to demonstrate that we can discover a different value for the sentimental. The consequence of reading through this process is discovering that Cummins explicitly states the purpose of literature, her cultural contribution to the state of her nation, and women's responsibility to alter that condition through self-education, true concern for others, and development of autonomy. Through this reading I place The Lamplighter as a significant marker in the history of women authored fiction. en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cummins, Maria S. (Maria Susanna), 1827-1866 -- Criticism and interpretation en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Cummins, Maria S. (Maria Susanna), 1827-1866. Lamplighter en_US
dc.title Maria Susanna Cummins' "The Lamplighter" : a revisioning of a sentimental writer of the nineteenth-century United States as rhetor, social critic, and feminist en_US
dc.type Thesis/Dissertation en_US
dc.degree.name Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (M.A.I.S.) en_US
dc.degree.level Master's en_US
dc.degree.discipline Interdisciplinary Studies en_US
dc.degree.grantor Oregon State University en_US
dc.description.digitization File scanned at 300 ppi (Monochrome) using ScandAll PRO 1.8.1 on a Fi-6670 in PDF format. CVista PdfCompressor 4.0 was used for pdf compression and textual OCR. en_US
dc.description.peerreview no en_us

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