Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 148 pages) : PDF file

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Branka Arsic

Committee Members

Eric Keenaghan, David Wills


American modernists, Deleuze, Modernism, The virtual, Time, Time in literature

Subject Categories

American Literature


This project examines how a general idea of time is revealed in American modernists' works and why its relationship to the term, "the virtual," prompts a critical revaluation of the literary period of "Modernism." This idea of relating time to virtuality illustrates how American modernists seek an alternative power of the poetic imagination. I explore this through the works of four exemplary American modernists: T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Bishop, each of whom makes an attempt to reflect the reality of the rapidly changing modern world by showing us in their works the fleeting nature of time in the universe. By rethinking, and undermining, the nature of time, these poets challenge Western metaphysics which emphasizes what is there over what could be there. They contend with traversing the boundary between past and present, and with seeking the spot epistemologically hidden by time. Reading these four modernists, I argue that there is a significant relationship between the idea of time and the philosophic term "the virtual." This study focuses on the fact that the virtual is the potential realm of the real, but it is hidden in time, not in space.