Date of Award
College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts
W. Scott Howard
Early modern England, Exile, Knowledge, Milton, Power, Shakespeare
This research project seeks to investigate the ways in which exiled early modern writers and literary characters engage with power and access knowledge, often through the creation of utopian and dystopian worlds, which either leads to their exilic identities and disempowerment or allows them to renegotiate their identities from the periphery to the center of power. The triadic relationship among the terms exile, knowledge, and power will be analyzed through postcolonial theory, identity politics, and feminist theory. Exiles can be defined as punitive, political, internal, and self-imposed, and some can inhabit more than one exilic identity. Each of these individuals engages with the power dynamics of their respective worlds, with some beginning in the center of power, and others existing in the margins, and each either subjugates others or attempts to subvert their own subjugation. The relationship among exiles, knowledge, and power is multi-directional, showing that knowledge can empower and disempower the exile, allowing for the renegotiation of identity. Moreover, access to knowledge is dependent on and influenced by social constructs and the individual’s position in society. Investigating this multi-directional relationship through a postcolonial lens that addresses identity politics, gender, and hegemony, further advances early modern studies by confirming the importance of early modern literature within the changing curriculum trends of the twenty-first century, and ensures that early modern studies will not be replaced by more contemporary literature.
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Received from ProQuest
Topale, Jennifer, "Exiles, Knowledge, and Power: Utopian and Dystopian Worlds in Early Modern England" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 2009.
Available for download on Monday, August 04, 2025