Scholarly literature on Roma is scarce compared to other racial groups as a lack of academic interest, financial limitations, and other social and political factors has constrained it. This resulted in a cross-cultural circulation of misinformation about Romani people and the reproduction of Romani myths and stereotypes in fiction. This project aims to analyze selected literary works on Gypsies from three Eastern and Western European countries and two periods to unpack the cultural and political roots of Romani literary misrepresentation. This research employs a range of theoretical frameworks chosen to put the Gypsy protagonists under maximum spotlight without unnecessary repetition, such as social contract theories, new historicism, criminology, symptomatic reading, Orientalism/ Gypsylorism, and psychoanalysis. The research findings show that literature plays an essential role in suppressing marginalized narratives about Romanies. Literature also makes it more challenging to debunk misinformation about the group as its influence creates a fixed stereotypical image in the mind of the non-Romani recipient. The research concludes that Gypsies in literature have been associated with colonized nations, and the place (setting) plays a major role in racializing Gypsies, thus facilitating their sexualization and exoticisation. The employment of the Gypsy symbol in literature shows the flexibility of the symbol as it fits into political, social, and gender contexts and is used as a tool for criticism and self-exploration.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date

Fall 2-28-2024

Submission Date


First Advisor

Martin Moraw

Committee Member 1

Ferial Ghazoul

Committee Member 2

Steven Salaita


101 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item