Date of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English Literature

First Advisor

Daniel Mrozowski


For decades, scholars have understood Edna St Vincent Millay in two fairly distinctive patterns as either a classical romanticist or ephemeral rebel. This dual reputation has been crafted from the obvious presence of natural imagery, sexual dynamism, feminine voice, and romantic yearning in her work. What critics have failed to see in her poetry are the potent sinister undertones that claim violence as a means to power. I will argue that Millay narrates the gendered struggle that takes place in this violence, in order to ultimately assert feminine agency in the process of forming a cultural identity. Thus, rather than focus on the undeniable presence of romanticist and rebellious tendencies in her poetry as her central project, I propose that these tendencies serve as tools in her broader, less acknowledged identity as an artisan of violent feminine agency.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in English Literature.