Begin Anywhere: Transgender and Transgenre Desire in Qiu Miaojin's Last Words from Montmartre (蒙馬牠遺書)

Ari Heinrich

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    What is the relationship of gender to genre in literary form? In his study of Leslie Feinberg’s Stone Butch Blues, the ambivalently autobiographical “story of a transsexual who … like Feinberg hirself, halts her transition through surgery and hormones to found an embodied transgendered subjectivity,” Jay Prosser observes that the book also “produces an alternative generic form—a trans-genre: a text as between genres as its subject is between genders.”1 In Stone Butch Blues, Prosser seems to suggest, the radically embodied nature of the protagonist’s transsexuality demands the production of an equally radical literary form; form follows content as the text moves to accommodate the story’s “embodied transgendered subjectivity” (and not the other way around). But what happens when a literary work inverts the relationship of form and content so that the writing itself becomes a site for expression of transgender identity, an end in itself? In other words, what happens to autobiographical form when writing functions not reflexively, as a means of narrating transgender subjectivity, but generatively, as a means of creating and even embodying it? Keywords: Literary Form, Queer Representation, Bare Life, Modern Chinese Literature, Utopian Vision
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTransgender China
    Editors Howard Chiang
    Place of PublicationNew York
    PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
    ISBN (Print)978-1-137-08250-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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