Lecture – Transvestites and Terrorists in Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto
March 26, 2020 @ 7:30 pm - 10:00 pmFree
Claire Nally: Transvestites and Terrorists in Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto (1998)
Patrick McCabe’s Breakfast on Pluto (Picador, 1998) presents the transgendered individual who not only interrogates the nature of sexuality but the very stability of gendered identity. Narrated in the first-person, with a fragmented and postmodern style, the elaborate and exuberantly verbose story of Pussy is presented as fluid, multiple and unstable, essentially a ‘feminine’ voice which disrupts the dominant ideology of Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s. The protagonist also contravenes established geographical margins which reflects on the sexuality of the subject: Pussy moves from Ireland to the colonial metropolis (London) signalling how the transgendered individual upsets binary oppositions. This suggests a crisis, not only in gender, but also in our ideas of borders and categorisation itself. Therefore I seek to argue that Breakfast on Pluto is a critique on the machismo frequently associated with archetypal Irish nationalism, offering a revision of the many essentialist metanarratives in Irish culture.
Dr Claire Nally is a Senior Lecturer in Twentieth-Century English Literature at Northumbria University, researching Irish Studies, Neo-Victorianism, Gender and Subcultures.