Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Theory and Criticism


Tony Purdy

Second Advisor

Jenny Shaddock

Third Advisor

Michael Gardiner


This thesis investigates the possibility that information theory as developed by Claude Shannon in 1948, and the Lucretian clinamen provide a model of communication that reveals common links between disparate fields of study. A model of information theory and the clinamen is first elaborated. This differs from previous humanist studies using information theory in that the focus is on the quantitative, not any qualitative aspects of the theory. The developed model is then applied to three systems - morphogenesis, Oulipian literature, and social utopianism. This study establishes the usefulness of information theory in furthering our understanding of how each of these systems operates and evolves.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.