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Abstract

In his article "Gender in Winterson's Sexing the Cherry" Paul Kintzele examines the ways in which Jeanette Winterson's 1989 novel explores and critiques aspects of gender and sexuality. While acknowledging the importance of the performance theory of gender that derives from the work of Judith Butler, Kintzele contends that such an approach must be complemented with a psychoanalytic approach that insists on a particular distinction between sex and gender. Although some scholars map the sex/gender distinction onto the perennial nature/nurture binary and thus reduce sex to biology or anatomy, scholars of psychoanalysis such as Joan Copjec and Charles Shepherdson, read sex as the consequence of a person being a subject of language in a permanent state of incompletion. Kintzele argues that both the performance theory of gender and the psychoanalytic theory of sex, despite their differences, are united in their opposition to naïve gender essentialism and that both theories can offer insights into Sexing the Cherry, a text about politics of gender, the ambiguities of gendered performance, and the harsh realities of sex.

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