Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Theresa McGarry

Committee Members

Phyllis Thompson, Thomas Alan Holmes


Inspired by her obsession with the South and informed by the liberating socio-political changes born from the 1970s lesbian feminist movement, North Carolinian author Bertha Harris (1937-2005) provides a poetic exploration of Southern Gothic Sapphism in her complex and tormented novel Confessions of Cherubino (1972). Despite fleeting second-wave era recognition as “one of the most stylistically innovative American fiction writers to emerge since Stonewall,” Harris’s innovation remains largely neglected by readers and cultural theorists alike. Nearly all academic engagements with her work, of which there are few, address her 1976 novel Lover. Instead, this thesis focuses on Confessions of Cherubino and examines the novel’s relationship to poststructural feminist thought that led to a critical but undervalued position within contemporary literature of the queer South, particularly through the work of Dorothy Allison, who has noted Harris’s influence on her writing.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.