Date of Award

Fall 12-2014

Author Requested Restriction

Restrict to UW for 5 years - then make Open Access

Work Type

Masters Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)


Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences

First Advisor

Michael Kula

Second Advisor

Nicole Blair

Third Advisor

Judy Nolte Temple


The readers of a text are—in many ways—also its authors, with the act of reading creating a dialog between a text already written and a text generated through reader response, creating a community along the boundary between author and reader. To illustrate that boundary, I situated myself—through my research and writing—as a responding audience to nineteenth-century Iowa farm wife Emily Hawley Gillespie, as she is revealed through the pages of her thirty-year diary. Through a constructivist paradigm, the methodology of philosophical hermeneutics, new historicism, and the creative vehicle of fiction, I entered Gillespie’s text to examine the themes which emerged within her narrative, in the light of the imagined life and experiences of my protagonist—a woman who finds the diary while cleaning out the attic of her late uncle’s house. Examining the performances of self-identity formed between author and reader and the sense of community that develops sight unseen, I have crafted the story of a woman who finds herself playing audience to a diarist, re-envisioning the diarist’s identity (as well as her own) in concurrence with other possible audiences she imagines through the crafting of her own text. This paper explains the theoretical and personal rationale behind my MA project—a novel, “A Continuous Present.”


Additional Reader: Andrea Modarres