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Cross-Dressing for Platonic Love: Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s The Love of Plato

  • Barbara Mennel

Abstract

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s 1870 novella The Love of Plato (Die Liebe des Plato), with its themes of female cross-dressing and male platonic homosexual desire, would seem predestined to be a pivotal text at the intersection of feminist and queer theory, but surprisingly, it has escaped theoretical attention and scrutiny.1 The particular focus of the reception of Sacher-Masoch’s oeuvre on his novel Venus in Furs has eclipsed his other literary works. More importantly, however, indebtedness of The Love of Plato to a hegemonic nineteenth-century understanding of gender makes it an uneasy appropriation for feminist theory, and the marginalization and highly-coded nature of desexualized male homosexuality does not lend itself to an easy embrace by Queer Studies.

Keywords

Gender Identity Sexual Desire Female Character Gender Characteristic Queer Theory 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Barbara Mennel 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Mennel

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