Authorship and Agency investigates the different ways that long eighteenth-century authors deployed concepts of authorship and knowledge-making that were, in part, nonhuman. From Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor to Robert Boyle, Daniel Defoe, Charlotte Lennox, and Matthew Lewis, authors were engaged with ideas in their texts that demonstrate how the nonhuman exercise agency. In this study, the nonhuman is elemental (fire), literary (texts and genres), ideological (conservatism), and animal (horses). In conversation with recent studies about the limits of the human concept and the effects of anthropocentrism and anthropocentric views, this dissertation seeks to depict and align the relationship between humans and nonhumans more accurately. Rather than an attempt to further humble humans and denounce the effects of anthropocentrism, Authorship and Agency is a demonstration of the striking, unique, and world-changing concept of authorship that produces landmark texts in various genres.

Degree Date

Spring 5-13-2023

Document Type


Degree Name





Rajani Sudan

Second Advisor

Tim Cassedy

Third Advisor

Beth Newman

Fourth Advisor

Jason Pearl

Number of Pages




Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

Available for download on Sunday, April 30, 2028