Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Sherri Smith

Second Advisor

John Young

Third Advisor

Mary Moore


This study defines sexual liminality as a transient, threshold moment in which textual characters explore not only their sexual desires, but also their gender identities. During the nineteenth century, social critics reveal that sexuality and gender play a vital role in laws, social practices, and family structure. Thus, when authors such as Christina Rossetti and Sarah Grand produce characters that embark upon introspective journeys of their sexualities against the background of social expectation, one clearly identifies the influence of life upon art. Rossetti’s Prince in The Prince’s Progress and Grand’s Angelica in The Heavenly Twins enter into the realm of sexual liminality and personal illumination, and they leave as altered characters. The notion of sexual liminality travels into modern literature as well, as one may observe in Norah Vincent’s gender study, Self-Made Man. As a cross-dresser, Vincent finds herself within the realm of sexual liminality.


Literature, Modern - 19th century - History and criticism.

Rossetti, Christina Georgina, 1830-1894 - Characters.

Rossetti, Christina Georgina, 1830-1894 - Criticism and interpretation.

Rossetti, Christina Georgina, 1830-1894. The Prince's progress.

Grand, Sarah - Characters.

Grand, Sarah - Criticism and interpretation.

Grand, Sarah. The heavenly twins.

Sex in literature.