Frankenstein’s Self-Portrait: Politicizing Transsexualism in The Danish Girl

  • Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas Universidad de Granada


This essay aims to contribute to the contemporary transgender debate by using Lili Elbe’s account of her life in Man Into Woman (1933), David Ebershoff’s novel The Danish Girl (2000) and Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the latter (2015) as case studies. All three narratives explore biologism and medicalization as being closely aligned with the Frankenstein metaphor in terms of the conceptualization of trans bodies. However, this essay contends that Ebershoff’s novel, although tending towards the much-criticized allegorization of such bodies as the exceptional locus of gender trouble, engages in a subtly political enterprise where an androgynous and liberating third space is made available to transgender identities.

Author Biography

Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas, Universidad de Granada
Gerardo Rodríguez-Salas is Associate Professor at the University of Granada (Spain). He is the author of three books on Katherine Mansfield and has recently co-edited the volumes Community in Twentieth-Century Fiction (Palgrave, 2013) and New Perspectives on the Modernist Subject (Routledge, 2018). His research interests are the intersections of gender, nation and race in the literature of Australia and New Zealand.


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