By Tracy Hargreaves
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Extra info for Androgyny in Modern Literature
But if androgyny functioned as a trope that had a useful explanatory purpose in understanding psychic and sexual motivation, it was also, as I show in chapter 2, one that had its limitations too. ’1 It was a denunciation that the character Barnaby echoes (pace Carpenter) in Rose Allatini’s pacifist novel of 1918, Despised and Rejected: ‘Of course there are those who enjoy it – who wallow in the perverted sensations of their own abnormality, as normal sensualists wallow in their own “permissible” lusts’ (p.
Aristophanes’ trope of the androgynous couple became a useful one in representations of samesex sexuality because sex, gendered identity and sexual orientation were part of a legible and familiar narrative that reified a connection between male or female anatomy with masculine or feminine gender and with heterosexual sexuality. Same sex desires or cross-gender identification might be read as variations of, or deviations from, that normality as they are configured by it, but whilst they challenged and threatened its authority, they could never displace its centrality or power.
59 Alternately adopting the pseudonyms ‘Ralph Werther’ and ‘Jennie June’, Lind (also a pseudonym) dedicated his book to ‘NATURE’S StepChildren – the sexually abnormal by birth – in the hope that their lives may be rendered more tolerable through the publication of this Autobiography’. 60 Lind’s belief in the androgyne as a category and as an identity appeared to reinforce the legitimacy of medical typologies, although his autobiography also contested the sexological assessment of the homosexual’s body as degenerative and naturally criminal.