Second Skins The Body Narratives of Transsexuality

ISBN-10: 0231109350
ISBN-13: 9780231109352
Edition: 1998
Authors: Jay Prosser
List price: $29.00 Buy it from $17.74
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Description: Do we need bodies for sex? Is gender in the head or in the body? In Second Skins Jay Prosser reveals the powerful drive that leads men and women literally to shed their skins and--in flesh and head--to cross the boundary of sex. Telling their story  More...

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Book details

List price: $29.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 4/7/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 282
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

Do we need bodies for sex? Is gender in the head or in the body? In Second Skins Jay Prosser reveals the powerful drive that leads men and women literally to shed their skins and--in flesh and head--to cross the boundary of sex. Telling their story is not merely an act that comes after the fact, it's a force of its own that makes it impossible to forget that stories of identity inhabit autobiographical bodies. In this stunning first extensive study of transsexual autobiography, Jay Prosser examines the exchanges between body and narrative that constitute the phenomenon of transsexuality. Showing how transsexuality's somatic transitions are spurred and enabled by the formal transitions of narrative, Prosser uncovers a narrative tradition for transsexual bodies. Sex change is a plot--and thus appropriately transsexuals make for adept and absorbing authors. In reading the transssexual plot through transsexuals' own recounting, Prosser not only gives us a new and more accurate rendition of transsexuality. His book suggests transsexuality, with its extraordinary conjunctions of body and narrative, as an identity story that transitions across the body/language divide that currently stalls poststucturalist thought. The form and approach of Second Skins works to cross other important and parallel divides. In addition to analyzing transsexual textual accounts, the book includes some 30 photographic portraits of transsexuals--poignant attempts by transsexuals to present themselves unmediated to the world except by the camera. And the author does not shy from exposure himself. Interjecting the personal into his theoretical discussion and close textual work throughout the book, Prosser reads and writes his own body, his purpose in that stylistic crossing to stake out transsexuality--and hence this very book--as his own body's narrative.

Laura Doan is professor of English at the State University of New York at Geneseo. She is the author of Fashioning Sapphism(Columbia, 2001), editor of The Lesbian Postmodern(Columbia, 1994), and coeditor of Sexology Uncensored,and Sexology in Culture.Jay Prosser is author of Second Skins: Body Narratives of Transsexuality(Columbia, 1998) and is lecturer in American literature at the University of Leeds.

Acknowledgments
Introduction: On Transitions - Changing Bodies, Changing Narratives
Judith Butler: Queer Feminism, Transgender, and the Transubstantiation of Sex
A Skin of One's Own: Toward a Theory of Transsexual Embodiment
Mirror Images: Transsexuality and Autobiography
"Some Primitive Thing Conceived in a Turbulent Age of Transition": The Invert, The Well of Loneliness, and the Narrative Origins of Transsexuality
No Place Like Home: Transgender and Trans-Genre in Leslie Feinberg's Stone Butch Blues
Epilogue: Transsexuality in Photography - Fielding the Referent
Notes
Index

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