A "Passing" Interest: Reading Transvestite Narratives, Gender and Metafiction in Nineteenth- and Twentieth-Century Hispanic Writers
Abstract (Summary)Restricted Item. Print thesis available in the University of Auckland Library or available through Inter-Library Loan. The present study examines the use of a particular narrative technique, the "transvestite narrative," within canonical and popular works by four Hispanic writers of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries: Cristina Peri Rossi, Antonio Gala' Emilia Pardo Bazan and Benito Perez Galdos. Departing from psychoanalytic theorisations of the phenomenon of the transvestite this study investigates similarities between the act of "passing" as a member of the opposite sex and writing a first-person narrative from that other perspective. Approaching the texts from this vantage point enables the identification of certain textual oscillations between identity and difference which are characteristic of the figure of the transvestite. Sameness and difference are constant concerns of these texts with regard to both gender, the explicit boundary that a transvestite narrative attempts to cross, and representation itself. In these works, the construction of a transvestite narrative voice represents the creation of a literary space within which the authors can process conflicts related to their perceptions of gender, genre and literary schools, resulting in fantasies of authorisation, de-authorisation and literary androgyny. It is not possible to suggest that all transvestite narratives are used to the same end. The diverse purposes to which they are put are influenced by the gender, sexuality, class and nationality of the writers, as well as by the prevailing gender stereotypes of their social contexts. The areas explored in these works include the mass-cultural genre of the romance, the canon and the quest for an elite readership, and also, in the case of the nineteenth-century texts, the conflict between Romanticism, Naturalism and Realism. In all cases, however, the transvestite narrative presents a link between dominant images of gender, either accepted or repudiated by the author, and the creative literary act.
School Location:New Zealand
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:01/01/2000