"The Past Is Never Dead" in Mississippi: History, Memory, and Repair in the Writings of Natasha Trethewey and Jesmyn Ward

dc.contributor.advisorEhlers, Sarah
dc.contributor.committeeMemberAboul-Ela, Hosam M.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberTolliver, Cedric R.
dc.contributor.committeeMemberTrninic, Marina
dc.creatorPauley, Donna Renee
dc.creator.orcid0000-0001-6285-7841
dc.date.accessioned2022-06-18T02:05:10Z
dc.date.available2022-06-18T02:05:10Z
dc.date.createdAugust 2021
dc.date.issued2021-08
dc.date.submittedAugust 2021
dc.date.updated2022-06-18T02:05:11Z
dc.description.abstract“‘The Past Is Never Dead’ in Mississippi” is centered on the poetry and prose of Natasha Trethewey and Jesmyn Ward, twenty-first-century Black women writers whose writing focuses on the U.S. South, Mississippi in particular. The study shows the interrelatedness of historical time and geographical space, while rethinking ideas about historical narratives and their connection with fictional narratives. Across my chapters, I consider how their writing portrays concepts of memory and history and reimagines Southern histories and spaces through the reinvention of narrative and poetic forms. The study attempts to extend Patricia Yaeger’s arguments about the intersections of race and gender in U.S. Southern literature in her foundational book Dirt and Desire by focusing on twenty-first-century women writers and by illustrating how these writers have opened up new ways to think about geographical spaces through narrative temporality and poetic form. In so doing, the dissertation seeks to cement Farah Jasmine Griffin’s idea in Who Set You Flowin’? that the U.S. South is “a place to be redeemed,” and to highlight how these writers’ contributions add to Christina Sharpe’s theory of “wake work” in In the Wake. Each chapter makes these contributions through a focus on a different concept of historical representation. Chapter 1 uses Trethewey’s Native Guard to consider history as lyric, and Chapter 2 takes up Trethewey’s Monument to think about history as memorial. Chapter 3 uses Trethewey’s Beyond Katrina and Ward’s Salvage the Bones to think about history as weather and climate, and Chapter 4 takes up Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing to consider history as hauntology. As I show, Trethewey and Ward are reimagining Southern history to foster repair and to build toward a better future.
dc.description.departmentEnglish, Department of
dc.format.digitalOriginborn digital
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/10657/9327
dc.language.isoeng
dc.rightsThe author of this work is the copyright owner. UH Libraries and the Texas Digital Library have their permission to store and provide access to this work. Further transmission, reproduction, or presentation of this work is prohibited except with permission of the author(s).
dc.subjectJesmyn Ward
dc.subjectNatasha Trethewey
dc.subjectMississippi
dc.subjectHistory
dc.subjectMemory
dc.subjectRepair
dc.title"The Past Is Never Dead" in Mississippi: History, Memory, and Repair in the Writings of Natasha Trethewey and Jesmyn Ward
dc.type.dcmiText
dc.type.genreThesis
thesis.degree.collegeCollege of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
thesis.degree.departmentEnglish, Department of
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglish
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Houston
thesis.degree.levelDoctoral
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy

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