Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Carla Cappetti

Second Advisor

Keith Gandal

Third Advisor

Andras Kisery


american, wilderness, isolation, adventure, melville, 18th Century


This thesis looks at Nineteenth Century American adventure narratives to examine the role of the wilderness. This thesis centers on a motif of isolated characters in the wilderness and analyzes the various techniques nineteenth-century authors use to project the psyche of their characters. The selected Nineteenth Century authors: Washington Irving, Charles Brockden Brown, Edgar Alan Poe, Harriet Spofford, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville root America’s identity in the wilderness. They emphasize its power on the human psyche as positive, restorative, inward-looking, and divine. This thesis argues that these authors portray the wilderness as a protagonist that needs to be preserved in an expanding America.



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