Passing into the present

Contemporary American fiction of racial and gender passing

By Sinead Moynihan

Passing into the present

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8229-0
  • Pages: 192
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: August 2010
  • BIC Category: Literature, United States of America, USA, Literature: history & criticism, LITERARY CRITICISM / LGBT, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / American / General, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: fiction, novelists & prose writers, Society & social sciences / Ethnic minorities & multicultural studies, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Contemporary Literature
  • Series: Contemporary American and Canadian Writers


This book is the first full-length study of contemporary American fiction of passing. Its takes as its point of departure the return of racial and gender passing in the 1990s in order to make claims about wider trends in contemporary American fiction.

The book accounts for the return of tropes of passing in fiction by Phillip Roth, Percival Everett, Louise Erdrich, Danzy Senna, Jeffrey Eugenides and Paul Beatty, by arguing meta-critical and meta-fictional tool. These writers are attracted to the trope of passing because passing narratives have always foregrounded the notion of textuality in relation to the (il)legibility of "black" subjects passing as white. The central argument of this book, then, is that contemporary narratives of passing are concerned with articulating and unpacking an analogy between passing and authorship.

Aimed at students and researchers, it promises to inaugurate dialogue on the relationships between passing, postmodernism and authorship in contemporary American fiction.


1. Introduction: 'Passing' into the present: passing narratives then and now
2. Living parchments, human documents: passing, racial identity and the literary
3. The way of the cross(-dresser): Catholicism, gender and race in two novels by Louise Erdrich
4. (W)Rites-of-passing: shifting racial and gender identities in Caucasia and Middlesex
5. Bodies / texts: passing and writing in The White Boy Shuffle and The Human Stain
6. Conclusion: 'Passing' fads?: recent controversies of authenticity and authorship


Sinéad Moynihan is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in American Studies at the University of Nottingham

Newsletter Sign Up

Manchester University Press

Your cart is empty.

Select your shipping destination to estimate postage costs

(Based on standard shipping costs)

Final cost calculated on checkout
Promotional codes can be added on Checkout