Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michael D. Sherer


This study explores rhetorical constructions of place and self in the non-fiction narratives and letters of Celia Laighton Thaxter. Thaxter was a 19th century poet, journalist and writer who grew up on the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire. Widely published in her day, Thaxter was one of the foremothers of American nature writing. This study considers the significance of place in relation to Thaxter’s development as an individual and as a writer. The study finds that the Isles o f Shoals provided a foundation for Thaxter’s personal and professional identities. Thaxter’s relationship with the Shoals was intimate and personal, taking on many of the dimensions of a human relationship. This study also emphasizes the juxtaposition of Thaxter’s island and inland lifestyles and their influence on Thaxter. Writing is found to be a vehicle through which Thaxter successfully integrated her “island self’ and “inland self.”


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University o f Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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