Chris Ramponi

Chris Ramponi
M.A. Project Chair: 
Mary Ann Creadon
Graduation Year: 

During my time as a graduate student at HSU, I noticed a pattern in the specific ways that the topic of passionate love was approached in various Romantic texts. I began, then, to formulate a sort of taxonomy of passionate love by researching across time periods, disciplines, and genres. I drew connections between Greek myth, troubadour poetry, and Romanticism, as well as between philosophical considerations spanning third-century Neoplatonism and medieval Arabic philosophy to Idealism and Absurdism. I argued that passion is a form of transgression, one born from a fleeting experience of an ideal that cannot exist within the limitations of the temporal world. I took my findings and formulated my argument: that the pursuit of passionate love and the pursuit for sublime transcendence are one and the same, and that the realization of this ideal is incumbent on the manipulation of those aspects which seem most antithetical to its success: language and materialism. Concentrating on Madame Bovary, I argued that conceptualizing passion in this way reveals in Emma an uncompromising quest for transcendence that transforms her from a victim of (dis)illusion into a Romantic hero.

It was thanks to the ethos of the English MA program—one that allows for academic exploration and self-discovery while maintaining high standards of academic rigor—that I was able to push beyond my limitations. The close, critical reading that forms the foundation of all literary study was seamlessly paired and ultimately enhanced by parallel focuses on rhetoric, theory, and cultural studies. These different elements unite to form a poly-perspectivism that continues to guide the way I interact with the world.