Doctoral Dissertations



Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Michael Knight

Committee Members

Chris Hebert, Amy Billone, Margaret Lazarus Dean, Sal DiMaria


This creative dissertation includes the first five chapters of Salvatore, a novel, along with an introductory essay. Set in an Italian Renaissance-inspired fantasy utopia, where humans and dragons work together to create artistic masterpieces made of glass, Salvatore follows the life of a gruff, middle-aged businessman and criminal named Salvatore Manco, who runs an antiques shop by day and fences stolen goods by night. When a mysterious organization offers him a fortune to obtain a dragon egg, Salvatore initially agrees to facilitate its theft. Once the group’s plan to expose the existence of dragons to the rest of the world becomes clear, Salvatore and his companions — the charming master-thief Silvio and the sarcastic dragon Nico — must work together to stop the organization before their homeland is plunged into cataclysmic ruin.The introductory essay, “Salvatore and the Hybrid Genre of Literary Fantasy,” explores the innate dissonance that exists between the traditional fantasy novel and the contemporary literary novel and how these genres’ apparent contradictory elements might be combined to create a new kind of fiction that appeals to a wider audience.

Available for download on Friday, May 15, 2026

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