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Transgender and The Literary ImaginationChanging Gender in Twentieth-Century Writing$
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Rachel Carroll

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474414661

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414661.001.0001

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‘She had never been a woman’: Second Wave Feminism, Femininity and Transgender in Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve (1977)

‘She had never been a woman’: Second Wave Feminism, Femininity and Transgender in Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve (1977)

Chapter:
(p.64) Chapter 2 ‘She had never been a woman’: Second Wave Feminism, Femininity and Transgender in Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve (1977)
Source:
Transgender and The Literary Imagination
Author(s):

Rachel Carroll

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474414661.003.0003

This chapter focuses on a novel by a writer whose reputation as one of the most innovative and influential authors of the late twentieth century is firmly established. The centrality of Angela Carter’s work to feminist literary culture is widely recognised and celebrated, as is her passionately combative engagement with the feminist orthodoxies of her time. Through a focus on the contrasting depictions of an involuntary transsexual, the eponymous Eve (who is subject to sex reassignment surgery without her consent), and an elective transgender person, Tristessa (who is refused medical treatment despite living as woman), this chapter aims to address the critical legacies of specific strands of Second Wave feminist critique. It does so by situating the novel within the context of debates and controversies about the place of male-to-female transsexuals in the women’s movement contemporary to the era of its writing and reception.

Keywords:   Femininity, fiction, Second Wave feminism, transgender, transsexual

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