While critics recently have found The Sun Also Rises a fruitful text for reexamining issues of gender and sexuality in Hemingway’s work, a significant aspect of Jake Barnes’s genital wounding has been overlooked. At least from the time of the American Civil War, a diverse body of medical literature has documented the psychosomatic reality of phantom genitalia in traumatically injured men. Revisiting the novel from this perspective—imagining that Jake Barnes is haunted by a penile ghost—allows us to see this character as something more than a victim of disability. Instead, we might think of Jake’s material self as figuratively masculine but accidentally transgendered: a body that others can desire and that still can choose, or not, to reciprocate sexual feeling.


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pp. 52-69
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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