Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (iii, 60 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Jennifer Greiman

Subject Categories



This research looks at Robert Montgomery Bird's novel Sheppard Lee, Written by Himself and Edgar Allan Poe's only work of long fiction, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket. Posing the narrators as viral agents within their respective plots, the research draws from contemporary antebellum sources as well as earlier, and more modern ones, ranging from Descartes to Agamben and Esposito. Following the viral model, the role of the protagonists is mapped in an effort to expose how their infectious actions lead to greater implications such as how they function as the virus, how they infect those around them, the attempts that are made to contain them, their ability to objectify the human body through a separation of the corporeal from the psychological, race metaphors(including a reflection of the antebellum culture that they were published in) and finally the culmination of all of these topics into the question of sovereignty

Included in

Rhetoric Commons