Obscurity and Gender Resistance in Patricia Duncker's James Miranda Barry
European Journal of English Studies
Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Since his death in 1865, military surgeon James Barry has alternately been classified as a cross-dressing woman or as an intersexed individual. Patricia Duncker’s novel James Miranda Barry (1999) poses an important challenge to such readings, as it does not reveal any foundational truth about Barry’s sex. Resting on obscurity rather than revelation, the text frustrates the desire to know the past in terms of gender binaries and stable sexual identity categories. Drawing on feminist and queer theorisations of the relation between gender and time, this essay demonstrates that Duncker’s use of obscurity opens up alternative strategies of gender resistance.
The Wellcome Trust
© 2012 by Taylor & Francis
Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 215-226