Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

Humanities, PhD

Committee Chair

Lutz, Deborah

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Heinecken, Dawn

Committee Member

Heinecken, Dawn

Committee Member

Clukey, Amy

Committee Member

Vallorani, Nicoletta

Author's Keywords

Retelling; George Eliot; copper mining


The culminating project toward my Ph.D. in Humanities under the Public Arts and Letters track is a combination of creative and scholarly work composed of two parts: a retelling of George Eliot’s novel The Mill on the Floss and a critical introduction outlining the creative concerns to the project. The novel, The Red Deeps, reimagines The Mill on the Floss in the recent past—during the late 1980s in the Copper Basin, the former copper mines in Eastern Tennessee. The critical preface draws broader categories of adaptation, ecocriticism, and climate fiction and incorporates theorists from new southern and Appalachian studies to explore how large-scale mining industries have transformed the U.S. South and the copper basin.The Red Deeps is composed of short chapters which correspond loosely to the chapters of George Eliot’s novel. Interwoven within the chapters are intertextual passages taken from primary and secondary sources, such as quotes from Mill on the Floss, extracts from critical commentary, and information taken from Eliot’s biography. The critical afterword is divided into four subtitled sections. The first section discusses the different relationships between retellings and their source materials, including theories on the impetus behind the act of retelling and what purpose or role retellings serve in the literary canon. Next, I discuss how my retelling, The Red Deeps, fits within broader genre of climate-fiction. The third section considers these issues in interaction with the American South and Appalachia, giving particular focus to the representations and descriptions of an objectified landscape. In the last section I provide an overview of my novel and explain some of the structural and stylistic choices of the text.