Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Steven Kruger

Committee Members

Andrea Walkden

Glenn Burger

Rich McKoy

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | English Language and Literature


Eden; paradise


This dissertation suggests that late fourteenth century vernacular poetry in Middle English takes up the idea of a secular Eden by which various non-normative theorizations of time and self are made possible. The invocation of a rich and multifarious Eden may be effectively understood through its relationship to the psychoanalytic theorization of origins by which Eden’s powerful potentiality for therapeutic or at least revelatory growth is inherent in its availability for processes of cyclical return. The present study will attempt to redress the tendency to treat Eden only as a fall and thereby gain a better understanding of the modes of expression and the questions of subjectivity and longing that Eden might also bring forward. I will necessarily treat the fall not exactly as a “thing indifferent,” but as one part of a dialectical discussion that is at least as invested in continuity as it is in rupture.



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