Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This project examines the ways in which antebellum writers of romances theorized the relationship between fantasy and queer desire. These writers produced vision of alternative forms of sociality that serve to criticize the heteronormativity of antebellum sexual culture and to promote fantasy as both a mode of critique and a strategy for cultural subversion. Antebellum romances thus represent both a deep dissatisfaction with their author's contemporary culture and a means of envisioning subversive socialities and intimacies that promote freedom of the expression of desire and allow for the queerness that might characterize such expressions if subjects were able to speak "the truth of the human heart," to use Hawthorne's phrase, without fear of censure.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.