Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

John Staunton, Ph.D., Chair

Committee Member

Andrea Kaston Tange, Ph.D.


The thesis argues that during the late-nineteenth century, an alternative means of same-sex erotic communication was conceived of in transatlantically published American and British künstlerroman novels written by female authors. This alternative discourse was communicated affectively to initiated readers by way of metaphorical descriptions of painting, music, accompanying illustrations, and photography, and these novels all participate in the work of moving non-normative sexuality into the public sphere at the turn of the century. Through readings of works by Kate Chopin, Julia Magruder, and Amy Levy, the thesis explores the ways that these affective interactions were constructed, and the manner in which they hailed implied readers into an intimate public with one another. Ultimately, these novels offer a type of guide for members of the initiated intimate public that functioned as a signpost on the path that led to queer performativity as a way of life in the twentieth century.