Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis and Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of English: English Studies

First Advisor

Amy E. Robillard


This dissertation interrogates the rhetoric of bravery as a culturally-infused way of hearing certain kinds of personal narratives. As a cultural rhetoric, “bravery” has deep roots in masculine militaristic ideology in which cowardice, courage, and shame are conceptually linked to a sense of duty. The memoir industry represents one environment that archives what is valued as brave writing. As rhetoric precariously at work in the memoir industry, this dissertation investigates the cultural assumptions that drive literary bravery as it is used to assess contemporary memoirs, particularly memoirs written by women. Braving Shame invokes a new brand of bravery—one that de-emphasizes a masculine perception of bravery (as performance) and emphasizes a feminine ethic of care.


Imported from ProQuest Parker_ilstu_0092E_10876.pdf

Page Count


Included in

Rhetoric Commons