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date: 26 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter examines late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century literary and scientific constructions of ambiguously and cross-gendered figures, such as the New Woman and the New Man, the male and female dandy, the cross-dresser and transvestite, and the sexual invert. Exploring the shifting relation between literature and sexual science across the period from 1880 to 1920, it highlights frequently overlooked continuities between fin-de-siècle and modernist understandings of gender and sexuality. It challenges previous scholarship in demonstrating that the scientific and medical views that increasingly shaped literary production in the first decades of the twentieth century did not result in more rigid or limiting understandings of gender and sexuality. On the contrary, scientific and medical debates emerged in tandem with literary writing and, in turn, shaped modernist understandings of the gendered and sexual self, subjectivity, and creativity.

Keywords: modernism, sexuality, gender, sexology, sexual science, dandy, New Woman, transgender, transsexuality, cross-dressing

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