The Adaptable Mr. Ripley: The Impostor Motif as a Paradigm of Gender-Oriented Literary Studies

Wieland Schwanebeck

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter


Dr. Wieland Schwanebeck


Professur für Englische Literaturwissenschaft

Professur für Englische Literaturwissenschaft

Adresse work


Fakultät für Sprach-, Literatur- und Kulturwissenschaften, Raum 3.16 Professur für Englische Literaturwissenschaft

01062 Dresden

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+49 351 463-33088
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+49 351 463-35135


13:00 - 14:00
während der Vorlesungszeit

Sprechzeiten während der vorlesungsfreien Zeit SoSe 2018: 31.07., 14.08., jeweils 10-11 Uhr und nach Vereinbarung per Email.

This is the first comprehensive study of all the adventures of well-known impostor and con man Tom Ripley, who appears in five novels by Patricia Highsmith and in various film adaptations. The Talented Mr. Ripley proves an intriguing case from a Gender Studies-perspective, as impostors benefit from unquestioned ideas about what makes a man and what is normal. The study provides an in-depth discussion of the five Ripley novels and their various film adaptations, demonstrating how gender becomes manifest in the depth structure of cultural texts. At the same time, it shows how impostors subtly gain an audience's trust and support whilst simultaneously oscillating between subversion and conformity. Contextualising the impostor motif amongst picaresque traditions (e.g. Thomas Mann's novel Felix Krull) and within the cultural context of the anglophone world, the study puts forward the idea that masculinity itself may, on a more general leve, be conceptualised as a performative act of imposture.

The project was finished in 2013 and published with Böhlau in 2014.

Der flexible Mr. Ripley

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Letzte Änderung: 04.05.2016