International Journal of

Arts , Humanities & Social Science

ISSN 2693-2547 (Print) , ISSN 2693-2555 (Online)
Breaking the Gender Barriers of Femininity and Masculinity: Developing a Trans/ Queer Identity in The Danish Girl through a New Historicist Lens

Abstract


The Danish Girl, a novel written by American author David Ebershoff, was initially published in 2000 and adapted into an awarding film in 2015 starring Academy Award-winners Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. The Danish Girl is loosely inspired by the true story of the painter Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener who wrote a partial autobiography, Man Into Woman in 1933, which focuses on his transition to becoming the first person to receive the gender affirmation surgery. In 2017, The Danish Girl was named by the New York Times "one of the 25 books that have shaped LGBTQ Literature in the past twenty years" (Ebershoff, "Bio").  This novel has shaped LGBTQ Literature because it gives an identity to the first person that went through a gender affirmation surgery in the 1930s before it was previously thought that Christine Jorgensen was the first person to receive said surgery in 1952. The Danish Girl tells the story of Einar Wegener and his wife, Greta, a girl from Pasadena, California, and the journey of Einar discovering that he longs to become a woman, first sparked by being asked by his wife to pose for her in women's stockings and shoes. David Ebershoff is originally from Pasadena, California and uses his extensive knowledge of the Pasadena area to give the character of Greta Wegener a background story founded in America. The real-life wife of Einar, Gerda Wegener, was not from the United States at all; however, she was a woman born and raised in Denmark, where she met Einar Wegener, her then painting professor.