Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 260 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard A. Barney

Committee Members

Mike K. Hill, Charles Shepherdson


community, homelessness, narrative, orphan, stranger, stranger-ness, Homelessness in literature, Strangers in literature, Women in literature, English literature

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


In its early stages, the British novel generally validates individuals' particularized views of the world, rather than collective ones, and it explores such views in the context of individual's experiences of feeling homeless and of being strangers both within and without the place of home. Broadly conceived, the issues of homelessness and stranger-ness are intimately tied to questions of category, especially regarding the relation between the individual and community, particularity and generality, and the innovative and the traditional in the novel's emergence as a distinct, modern species of writing. By examining the status of orphans and strangers--both in a literal and a metaphorical sense--in Charlotte Lennox's The Female Quixote, Mary Wollstonecraft's Maria, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this dissertation demonstrates how their experiences of homelessness and stranger-ness constitute critical, even subversive, potentialities for refusing the socially sanctioned ways in which individuals act and think. The underlying implication is that the experiences that orphans and strangers undergo as liminal figures provide discursive spaces in which the limits socially imposed on them are questioned and different ways of being, acting, and thinking can be explored.