Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, English and Literary Arts

First Advisor

W. Scott Howard

Second Advisor

Eleanor McNees

Third Advisor

Maik Nwosu

Fourth Advisor

Ingrid Tague


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.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jennifer Topale


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

228 pgs


English literature

Available for download on Monday, August 04, 2025