Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Alan Vardy

Committee Members

Alexander Schlutz

Matthew Gold

Subject Categories

Computer Sciences | Digital Humanities | Literature in English, British Isles | Mathematics | Philosophy | Reading and Language


Thomas De Quincey, involute, palimpsest, Suspiria de Profundis, archive theory, systems theory


Thomas De Quincey’s involutes inform metaphysical thought on memory and language, particularly concerning multiplicity and the virtual, repetition and difference. When co-opting the mathematic and mechanic involute in Suspiria de Profundis, De Quincey generates an interdisciplinary matrix for the semiotics underpinning his philosophy of language and theory of memory and experience. Involutes entangle and reproduce. De Quincey’s involute exposes the concrete and actual through which all experience accesses the abstract or virtual. The materiality of their informatics and technics provides a literary model and theoretical precursor to a combination of archive and systems theory. The textuality of involute system(s)—both De Quincey's mind and narrative—accommodates the intersections: archive recognizes proliferating layers of re-inscription or a system of discursivity and systems observes the self-regulation of processes and signals/messages in communication. De Quincey's involutes, as a method, transform memory and experience into involute texts: texts invested in the form and layered reading processes of fragmenting and sedimenting data within the strata of memory storage, actively sorted, re-fragmented, reiterated.