Passing into the present: Contemporary American Fiction of Racial and Gender Passing

Passing into the present: Contemporary American Fiction of Racial and Gender Passing

Manchester University Press
256 pages
216 x 138mm
Hardback ISBN: 9780719082290

Sinéad Moynihan, Senior Lecturer in English
University of Exeter

  • Discusses wider themes including class, gender, sexuality, and religious identity
  • Focuses on Philip Roth’s ‘The Human Stain‘, Louise Eridich’s ‘Tracks’ Percival Everett’s ‘Erasure’ and Paul Beatty’s ‘The White Boy Shuffle
  • Looks at a wide rage of contemporary writers that represent the theme of gender and racial passing

This book is the first full-length study of contemporary American fiction of ‘passing’. Its takes as its point of departure the return of racial and gender passing in the 1990s in order to make claims about wider trends in contemporary American fiction.

The book accounts for the return of tropes of passing in fiction by Philip Roth, Percival Everett, Louise Erdrich, Danzy Senna, Jeffrey Eugenides and Paul Beatty. These writers are attracted to the trope because passing narratives have always foregrounded the notion of textuality in relation to the (il)legibility of black subjects passing as white. The central argument of this book, then, is that contemporary narratives of passing are concerned with articulating and unpacking an analogy between passing and authorship.

Aimed at students and researchers, it promises to inaugurate dialogue on the relationships between identity, postmodernism and authorship in contemporary American fiction.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Introduction: ‘Passing’ into the present: passing narratives then and now
  • 2. Living parchments, human documents: passing, racial identity and the literary marketplace
  • 3. The way of the cross(-dresser): Catholicism, gender and race in two novels by Louise Erdrich
  • 4. (W)Rites-of-passing: shifting racial and gender identities in Caucasia and Middlesex
  • 5. Bodies / texts: passing and writing in The White Boy Shuffle and The Human Stain
  • 6. Conclusion: ‘Passing’ fads?: recent controversies of authenticity and authorship
  • Bibliography
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