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Inter-/Trans-/Unidisciplinary Methods – Techniques

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Edited By Beata Ptaszyńska, Paulina Stanik and Stanisław Świtlik

Cultural historians, literary scholars and linguists have been concerned with the question of how the world can be understood and represented in text. This volume presents new questions, methods and approaches in Humanism by promoting scholarly work of young researchers who participated in the Inter-/Trans-/Unidisciplinary Methods – Techniques – Structures conference in Warsaw, Poland. In their analyses, the authors shed new light on works of literature, foreign cultures and languages of the world by adopting broad perspectives and using various methods. It contains eleven articles organized into the following parts: The World in Languages and The World in Literature.

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Ambiguous Gender: Identifying Drag Queen Characters in American Literature of the 1960s and 1970s (Ewa Ścibior)

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Ewa Ścibior

Ambiguous Gender: Identifying Drag Queen Characters in American Literature of the 1960s and 1970s

Abstract: The purpose of this article is to look into the ways in which cross-dressing was represented in American literature of the 1960s and 1970s, with a specific focus on how this behaviour was explained. Despite there already being scientific research which described drag as a form of performance, often done professionally, there seem to be no such representations in the popular literature of the time. Instead, one may identify two main strategies of representing cross-dressing individuals: either by explaining their behaviour by their transsexuality or by presenting it as merely a way of disguising one’s identity. This article analyses two novels which rely on these strategies: Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge (1968) and Edward Swift’s Splendora (1978). The analysis focuses on the ways in which the novels depart from the strategies, which makes it possible to treat their protagonists as early examples of drag queen characters in American literature.

Keywords: drag queen, cross-dressing, queer studies, American literature, Gore Vidal, Edward Swift

The history of drag in Western culture is especially strongly associated with theatre. At its very origins in Ancient Greece, exclusively male actors played both male and female parts. Furthermore, the word “drag” is reported to have originated in the mid-19th century, when it was used to refer to the clothing worn by men who impersonated women of stage (Baker 146). In today’s understanding, drag...

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