Neo-/Victorian Biographilia and James Miranda Barry

A Study in Transgender and Transgenre

Authors: Heilmann, Ann

  • Provides a long view of biographilia, from the Victorian era to the present day
  • Provides the first cultural history of the fascinating figure of James Barry
  • Draws on a wealth of rich archival research
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eBook £70.00
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  • ISBN 978-3-319-71386-1
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  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £88.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71385-4
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  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Senior colonial officer from 1813 to 1859, Inspector General James Barry was a pioneering medical reformer who after his death in 1865 became the object of intense speculation when rumours arose about his sex. This cultural history of Barry’s afterlives in Victorian to contemporary (neo-Victorian) life-writing (‘biographilia’) examines the textual and performative strategies of biography, biofiction and biodrama of the last one and a half centuries. In exploring the varied reconstructions and re-imaginations of the historical personality across time, the book illustrates that the ‘real’ James Barry does not exist, any more than does the ‘faithful’ biographical, biofictional or biodramatic rendering of a life in a generically ‘stable’ and discrete form. What Barry represents and how he is represented invariably pinpoints the speculative and the performative: reflections and refractions in the looking glass of genre. Just as ‘James Miranda Barry’, as a subject of cultural inquiry, comes into being and remains in view in the act of crossing gender, so neo-Victorian life-writing constitutes itself through similar acts of boundary transgression. Transgender thus finds its most typical expression in transgenre.       

About the authors

Ann Heilmann is Professor of English Literature at Cardiff University, UK. The author of three previous monographs, on New Woman Fiction, New Woman Strategies, and Neo-Victorianism (with Mark Llewellyn), she has co-edited a scholarly edition and essay collection on the Anglo-Irish author George Moore. Further (single and collaborative) work includes four essay collections and four anthology sets on late-Victorian, early twentieth-century and contemporary feminism and women’s writing. 

Reviews

“How is it that some years after the death of the subject was pronounced, lifewriting in numerous forms – biography, biofiction, autobiography, meta-autobiography, biodrama – has returned with such force? Taking as its case study the fascinating story of James Miranda Barry, a man who achieved the highest rank as a medical officer in the British military, only to be revealed as a woman after his death, this detailed and accomplished study explores the intersections of genre-bending and gender-bending that have marked the textual afterlife of this extraordinary figure in a lively and engaging way. The result is a captivating cultural history of James Miranda Barry and his biographilial afterlives, as well as a rigorous rethinking of neo-Victorian biographilia, an inherently trans-genred form. It is essential reading for studies of lifewriting and neo-Victorianism.” (Kate Mitchell, Head of the School of English & Drama, Australian National University, Australia)

Table of contents (5 chapters)

  • Writing Barry – Writing Gender/Genre Crossing: An Introduction

    Heilmann, Ann

    Pages 1-23

  • ‘Tell Me Your Secret, Doctor James’: A Cultural History of James Barry

    Heilmann, Ann

    Pages 25-71

  • Myths and Afterlives: Foundation Stories and Body Plots

    Heilmann, Ann

    Pages 73-132

  • Performances in Gender and Genre: Barry in Contemporary Postmodernist Biodrama, Biography and Biofiction

    Heilmann, Ann

    Pages 133-182

  • TransFormations: Transgender and Transgenre in Victorian and Neo-Victorian Life-Writing – A Conclusion

    Heilmann, Ann

    Pages 183-198

Buy this book

eBook £70.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71386-1
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover £88.00
price for United Kingdom (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-71385-4
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Neo-/Victorian Biographilia and James Miranda Barry
Book Subtitle
A Study in Transgender and Transgenre
Authors
Copyright
2018
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-71386-1
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-71386-1
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-71385-4
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XXII, 402
Number of Illustrations and Tables
32 b/w illustrations
Topics