Fugue states : stories

Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 175 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Edward Schwarzschild

Committee Members

Lynne Tillman, Eric Keenaghan


Women in literature, Women, Short stories, American, Travel, Migration, Internal, Feminist fiction, American

Subject Categories

Creative Writing


Fugue States is a collection of stories culminating with a final novella that challenges plots that assert a kind of Manifest-Destiny predestination that a woman’s life is bound by certain social expectations and expressions of feeling. The project take cues from feminist writers such as Sylvia Plath, Audre Lorde, and Diane di Prima, whose works defy these cohesive, linear plots even when they occur in the work of feminist authors. In this collection, the fugues or “flights” represent a kind of self-exile—a middle space in-between the death of one gendered subject and the birth of another. The critical introduction takes the long view, tracing the early mobilities of American women made both out of necessity and leisure into the West and in fleeing the South, in order to illustrate how these seemingly “unoccupied” territories represented for many early feminists a site of their gender-reform. There, travel writing ultimately reinforced a hetero, white-centric Manifest Destiny feminist vision. Methodologically, this project understands humor and laughter as tools that disorient and disrupt these ideological traces and white spaces mapped thus far onto the American feminist narrative landscape.

This document is currently not available here.