Graduation Date

Spring 2023

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in English, emphasis in Applied English Studies

Committee Chair Name

Janet Winston

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Natalie Giannini

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff


British literature, Romantic era, Romantic period, Queer, Queer reading, Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen, Britain, Queer theory, Britain

Subject Categories



This queer reading of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey uses critical frameworks from queer theory, feminist theory, trans theory, and Black Romanticism to analyze female-female relationships between the characters in the novel as a product of the social norms, conventions, and discourses of Romantic-era Britain. By using literary analysis and close reading, I study the many ways in which Northanger Abbey can be read queerly, specifically where gender and sexuality intersect with race and ethnicity.

Though queer readings of this novel have been done in the past, my own analysis focuses on female-female relationships and takes race into consideration when I connect the Romantic-era social discourses with the representation of queerness in the novel. One of the ways in which I make these connections is by finding encoded language in which a female-female relationship is implied but not directly stated. This encoded language was a common way for women-loving women to communicate their sexual desires toward other women to very specific audiences—only those who would understand the code in which they spoke. In my research, I discover, explain, and analyze some of this encoded language within Northanger Abbey.

Citation Style




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