Campus Location

Abilene Campus (Residential)

Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Document Type




Degree Name

Master of Arts

Committee Chair or Primary Advisor

Mikee Delony

Second Committee Member or Secondary Advisor

Gregory Straughn

Third Committee Member or Committee Reader

Darryl Tippens


This thesis posits an interdisciplinary theory of associations. Within inter- and intra-textual texts, there exists a presence that points toward an originating source, which audience members may or may not consciously recognize. This presence accumulates associations from surrounding materials through abstract and subtle references or through direct quotations. These associations, once examined in relation to one another in the context of the narrative, may help readers discover additional insights and uncover new information about a text. My theory draws upon literary scholarship primarily grounded in intertextual theory and adaptation theory. Inspired by the intertextual insertion of pre-existing music in film scores, my theory seeks to work in a variety of applications, across multiple fields of study.

To that endeavor, I have selected Richard Wagner’s music drama Das Rheingold as the text I use to demonstrate and apply my theory. Concentrating upon one leitmotif, I focus my study on the associative relations present in connection to the action of forging. I also employ the study of several of Wagner’s source texts from the medieval Norse and Germanic sagas. Through this thesis, I explore both the inter- and intra-textual aspects of my theory in application as well as the interdisciplinary application to both a musical and a literary text.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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