Literature Dissertation Ideas: Writing about Literature Effectively

A literature dissertation works best when it identifies and successfully argues a new way of looking at one or more pieces of literature. Sometimes a literature dissertation might compare two seemingly disparate works of literature and show how they actually resemble one another closely.
Numerous ideas for literature dissertations exist. If you need to develop a literature dissertation for one of your classes, have a look at this list of ideas:
Ideas for literature dissertations using literary criticism theories:

  1. Employ a Marxist reading of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth and write a dissertation for literature about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as the proletariat revolutionaries and Macduff as the epitome of the bourgeoisie mentality
  2. Employ a Marxist reading of the relationship between Lydia and Mr. Wickham in Pride and Prejudice and explain why their actions denote a Marxist revolution
  3. Apply the Marxist theory of alienation to the relationship between Prince Hal and Falstaff in Henry IV and V
  4. Conduct a feminist reading and interpretation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, placing particular emphasis on the character of Clover and her relationship with Napoleon and Snowball
  5. Conduct a feminist reading of the major works of the Brontë sisters Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, placing special emphasis on sexuality

Compose several literature dissertations using the theories of various proponents of psychoanalytic theory including Freud and Jung:

  • Conduct a Jungian interpretation of Alice Adventures in Wonderland. Explain how Alice is the archetypal hero who undergoes the archetypal journey
  • Conduct a Freudian interpretation of Moby Dick, placing special emphasis on the relationship between Captain Ahab and the whale as a fetish object

Compose several dissertations for literature comparing characters from different works of literature:

  • Compare the similarities between Lady Macbeth from Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth and Bertha Antoinetta Mason from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Explain how they are the same person, one with power and one without
  • Compare the similarities between Sancho Panza from Cervantes’ Don Quixote and the Fool from Shakespeare’s King Lear. Explain how they are the same character with the same function