Myra Breckinridge and The Passion of New Eve

  • Tracy Hargreaves


There is a revelatory moment in Gore Vidal’s Myra Breckinridge (1968) when the detectives, Flagler and Flagler (a portmanteau name that surreptitiously conflates fag with flag), confirm Uncle Buck’s suspicions: Myra Breckinridge is an impostor. Myron Breckinridge, contrary to Myra’s story, didn’t drown in an accident on the Staten Island Ferry, as Myra had claimed. Spluttering his disbelief, Buck records Myra’s cool response: ‘she stands up and hikes up her dress and pulls down her goddam panties and shows us this scar where cock and balls should be’ (p. 190). It’s a moment that appears to confirm the triumphant policing of identity and affirms the illegitimacy of Myra’s claim to a share in Buck’s Academy of Drama and Modelling. In a sense, though, the revelation comes too late, since Myra has already made clear her singular, privileged and

profound grasp of philosophy and psychology to trace for man not only what he is but what he must become, once he has ceased to be confined to a single sexual role, to a single person … once he has become free to blend with others, to exchange personalities with both women and men, to play out the most elaborate dreams in a world where there will be no limits to the human spirit’s play, (pp. 186–7)


Gender Identity Modern Literature Grand Narrative Social Creation Creation Myth 
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

© Tracy Hargreaves 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy Hargreaves
    • 1
  1. 1.School of EnglishUniversity of LeedsUK

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