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Gender Play in Mark Twain: Cross-Dressing and Transgression
Gender Play in Mark Twain: Cross-Dressing and Transgression

by Linda A. Morris

Twain "troubled gender" in much of his otherwise traditional fiction, depicting children whose sexual identities are switched at birth, tomboys, same-sex married couples, and even a male French painter who impersonates his own sister and becomes engaged to another man. Morris examines and interprets Twain's exploration of characters who transgress gendered conventions while tracing the degree to which themes of gender disruption interact with other themes, such as his critique of race, his concern with death in his classic "boys' books," and his career-long preoccupation with twins and twinning. Morris shows that Twain depicts cross-dressing sometimes as comic or absurd, other times as darkly tragic-but that even at his most playful, he contests traditional Victorian notions about the fixity of gender roles. Twain understands that gender, like race, is a social construction-and above all a performance.

Pub. Date: October 2007 Publisher: University of Missouri Press Format: Hardcover, 200pp

Item: 082621759

Price: $14.98


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