Graduation Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program

Graduate Humanities

Department or Program Chair

Joan Baranow, PhD

First Reader

Perry Guevara, PhD

Second Reader

Joan Baranow, PhD


This project introduces the claim that death literature, specifically elegies and epitaphs, do not rely on set structure or content, but rather are poetic effects of trauma and affect. Both have been defined and redefined by critical scholars, but there is still a division about their use. The beginning of the project will pull together Paul De Man, Cathy Caruth, Theresa Brennan, and Diana Fuss to apply the theoretical principle of trauma and affect transhistorically through Theocritus, John Milton, and Percy Shelley. The final portion will be an original creative collection of elegies combined with epitaphs as ending couplets about fictional characters who have died. For example, there are elegies about Edgar Allan Poe’s Annabel Lee, Ned Stark from Game of Thrones, and even video game characters such as Link from “The Legend of Zelda” series. All elegies will have epitaphs as their couplet, because the two are not necessarily separate. Overall, this project is meant to demonstrate how poetic writings, explicitly the elegy and epitaph should be defined in terms of emotionality.