Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




While the discussion of Free Indirect Discourse is limited almost entirely to the twentieth, century, the technique has been used by writers from a variety of periods throughout literary history. Its effects vary, depending on the strength of the narrative voice and whether it is used to represent speech or thought. The first essay in this dissertation examines free indirect thought as it emerges in Chaucer's Troylus and Criseyde, Lyly's Euphues, and Gascoigne's Adventures of Master F.J. The effect in this early period seems to be primarily dramatic, a finding supported by further discussion of a prototype form identified in Genesis. The second essay traces the ironic effects of free indirect speech as a dual voice in skaz and first-person texts and a triple voice in third-person texts. The question of mimicry and distance is further complicated by quoted forms of free indirect speech. The third essay studies selected works by George Eliot and Henry James to consider the effect of free indirect discourse on narrative structure and distance. The final essay uses Ruthrof's theory of how readers construct meaning to examine how readers use free indirect discourse to interpret narratorial stance, structure, theme, and mode in works by Joyce, Woolf, George Eliot, and Chopin.