Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format



Doctor of Philosophy




Alison Lee


Republication, with or without textual changes, keeps a work in circulation. This protects the work from destruction but also affects how we receive it, because publication is always a socializing act. Despite its consequences for works and their reception, republication has not yet been theorized in textual studies. My dissertation addresses this research gap by employing the term resonance to discuss the relationships—between versions, contexts, and ideas—that develop out of republication. I explore republication at its extremes with four case studies of works that underwent major changes in republication. The first chapter examines Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray with a mixed-methods analysis of the reviews of its 1890 and 1891 publications in relationship to the textual revisions. The second chapter argues that in Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, the much later moment of republication is a moment of nostalgic return. My chapter on Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider shows how periodical/conference publications place Lorde’s essays into larger conversations that the monograph republication replaces with a unified presentation of Lorde as a theorist. Finally, my fourth chapter brings in adaptation theory to discuss the complexities of republication for digital-born works with Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck. This dissertation enriches our understanding of republication’s consequences for four specific works. It also theorizes republication as a vital object of study that affects not just the versions of works we read but the histories that develop alongside them, and it creates a foundation for further studies of the phenomenon.

Summary for Lay Audience

Republication­—that is, publication of a work that has already been published at least once before, even if there are no differences in the text—is often necessary for a work to “survive.” A work that is not republished is at risk of being destroyed or forgotten. But what does republication do? This dissertation uses the term “resonance” to describe the way that relationships between versions, contexts, and ideas can change through republication, such as how a particular cover design may increase a work’s resonances with a specific genre of fiction. To explore changes in resonances, it examines four dramatic case studies covering a variety of periods and kinds of republication: Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890 and 1891), Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited (1945 and 1960), Audre Lorde’s Sister Outsider (1977–1984 and 1984), and Andrew Hussie’s Homestuck (2009–2016 and 2018­–present). For Dorian Gray (magazine to book), I do a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the themes in reviews for the 1890 publications. I consider these reviews in relation to the revisions and bibliographic codes of the 1891 publications and compare them to an analysis of those publications’ reviews. For Brideshead Revisited (book to book), I argue that republication allows Waugh a nostalgic return to revise how he frames the story’s themes. I look at Sister Outsider (periodical/conference to collection) in terms of the conversations that Lorde’s essays were part of when they were first published and how resonances with those conversations are reduced in the collection in favour of a unified presentation of Lorde’s ideas as a theorist. Finally, for Homestuck (digital to print/digital port), I show how republication and adaptation overlap and how the threat of digital obsolescence heightens the questions of survival and transformation that republication always brings. Republication is vital to how we receive and continue to receive texts. This dissertation uses case studies to set the groundwork for understanding what this inevitable stage in a work’s life does to our understanding of a work and its history.