Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Gwen Raaburg

Second Advisor

Dr. Christopher Nagle

Third Advisor

Dr. Jil Larson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Paula Brush


This dissertation examines how the constantly evolving gender identity o f a text’s transgender subject relates to the text’s narrative structure and shapes the orientation o f the reader to the text. Accordingly, this project examines how these transgender narratives deploy experimental stylistic techniques that enhance the reader’s experience of ceaseless transitioning by revealing gender as a constant process that never solidifies onto a body and by highlighting the text’s own status as process rather than finalized product. Further, this project examines how a transgender subject and his/her relationship to the body, culture, and narrative is involved in the re-vision of three conventional discourses: biography, myth, and romance. Ultimately, this research presents a trans-reading identity as an interpretive framework that reads gender ambiguity and fluid sexuality into as well as out o f texts. This reading position provides the reader with interpretive tools that will allow for a multiplicity o f gendered reading positions beyond the male/female binary and opens up texts to complex interpretations that highlight the relationship between their narrative experimentation and their critique of stable gender positions. The focal novels are Orlando by Virginia Woolf, The Passion o f New Eve by Angela Carter, and Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson, and this study argues that such transgender narratives allow readers access to not only a trans-reading position but to a new way of viewing the world beyond the confines placed upon them by a monolithic heterosexism.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access