Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 196 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Charles Shepherdson

Committee Members

Helen Elam, Jennifer Greiman, Kir Kuiken


Ethics, Femininity, Jacques Lacan, Outcast, William Wordsworth, Outcasts, Ethics in literature, Psychology and literature

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Philosophy | Psychology


This dissertation examines the ethical importance of the moments in William Wordsworth's poetry when language verges on silence or presents experience as finally unintelligible, and explores the ethical dimension of outcast figures intimately connected with the problem of this void in signification, on the basis of Jacques Lacan's insights concerning psychoanalytic ethics. The question that orients the examination of the ethical issues embodied in Wordsworth's poetry is how one should encounter or represent the outcast figure as a rupture in meaning. And the ethics of subjectivity which Lacan explores in terms of his theories of the gaze, feminine jouissance, and the reconsideration of the nature of community which these entail, allow us to see more clearly the importance of the profound and mysterious encounters found in Wordsworth's poetry--often between a speaker and some "outcast" other.