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Spaces of Expression and Repression in Post-Millennial North-American Literature and Visual Culture

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Edited By Izabella Kimak and Julia Nikiel

The essays included in this book offer an overview of literary works, films, TV series, and computer games, which reflect current social and political developments since the beginning of this century. The contributions intend to x-ray the most crucial aspects of contemporary North-American literature and culture. Addressing a variety of media, the authors of the essays probe the many ways in which repression and expression are the primary keywords for understanding contemporary American life and culture.

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A Space in-between Genders: Rethinking the American Bildungsroman from an Intersex Perspective (Elli Kyrmanidou)

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Elli Kyrmanidou

A Space in-between Genders: Rethinking the American Bildungsroman from an Intersex Perspective

Abstract: This article examines the elusive boundaries between the two normative categories of the male and female Bildungsroman through the perspective of hybrid intersex gender identity in Jeffrey Eugenides’s Middlesex and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel.

Keywords: Middlesex, Annabel, Bildungsroman, gender, intersex

The Bildungsroman, or its American English synonym the “coming of age novel,” first appeared in the late 18th century when the term was used to describe the literary genre that focused on the intellectual, spiritual and social coming of age (Bildung) of the young protagonist. Although there are many definitions of this term in various literary glossaries and dictionaries, many of them often contradict one another. The German scholarly tendency used to claim that these novels were a product of the period between 1796 and the mid-nineteenth century only, whereas modern and minority scholarship believe that it is a genre that is always under construction, continuously questioning and reinventing its core features. For the sake of this article, whose objective is not to investigate the keystone elements of the traditional Bildungsroman, I will adopt its first definition, which was introduced by the German philosopher and sociologist Wilhelm Dilthey, as a novel “that has as its main theme the formative years or spiritual education of one person” (188). These formative years are usually represented through an actual or metaphorical journey of the hero from young age to the first...

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