This essay examines the burgeoning relationship between transgender studies and literary criticism by interrogating the terms of their commensurability. Recent debates within critical theory have at times detrimentally deployed marginalized figures, such as transsexuals, to represent history's demise without accounting for the ways in which trans subjects or characters experience history. Focusing on representations of reading practices in two twentieth-century American texts—Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man and Tennessee Jones's Deliver Me from Nowhere—this essay conceives of a trans literary history that is methodologically invested in a hermeneutics of resonance rather than in the pursuit of mimesis. In doing so, it articulates how trans temporalities might animate literary texts by inspiring new methods for reinterpreting both personal and cultural narratives.

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