'His unspoken natural centre': James Tiptree Jr as the 'Other I'

Sulway, Nike (2018) 'His unspoken natural centre': James Tiptree Jr as the 'Other I'. Writing From Below, 4 (1). pp. 1-9. ISSN 2202-2546

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Abstract

Throughout literary history, a number of women writers have taken on male nom de plumes. Critics and other observers have noted the ways in which these names have been adopted for pragmatic reasons: in order to provide women with avenues for publication that enhance their reputations as (male) writers, and protect their identities as (female) daughters, sisters, wives and mothers.

Alice B. Sheldon created James Tiptree, Jr in 1967. In this paper, I argue that Tiptree, or ‘Tip’ as he was known to his friends, was not merely a nom de plume. Rather, Tip was a fully realised identity—Alice’s alter ego, or ‘Other I’—a well-known and respected writer who maintained epistolary relationships with other writers, editors, publishers, and readers.

In Seymour Chatman’s, Coming to Terms, he writes that the act of reading is “ultimately an exchange between real human beings, [which] entails two intermediate constructs” (Chatman, 75). This paper examines the ways Tip’s identity, as revealed in his creative works and in his letters, disrupts the gender-normative structure of this ‘exchange’, particularly in terms of the assumed correlation between the gender of the Implied Author and that of the ‘real human being’ he is (mis)recognised as being.


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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia license.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Arts and Communication (1 July 2013 - 28 February 2019)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Institute for Resilient Regions - Centre for Heritage and Culture (1 Aug 2018 -)
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2019 06:44
Last Modified: 09 Jan 2020 05:36
Uncontrolled Keywords: queer; performance; identity; science fiction; James Tiptree, Jr
Fields of Research : 20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2005 Literary Studies > 200506 North American Literature
19 Studies in Creative Arts and Writing > 1904 Performing Arts and Creative Writing > 190402 Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/37184

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