When She Started Acting Queer: A Queer Gothic Reading of Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels

Miguel Antonio Lizada


This essay reads Nick Joaquin’s The Woman Who Had Two Navels using the critical templates gleaned from gothic studies and queer theory. The essay explores the idea of doubling and monstrosity and demonstrates how these two gothic tropes are deployed to activate the queer potential found in the character of Connie Escobar. The essay builds on an existing interpretation of the novel—that the narrative is an account of regeneration—and extends this by arguing that this narrative of transformation is mobilized precisely by a rejection of heteropatriarchal narratives encoded in the novel’s postcolonial world, mobilized in a particular way by the creation and undoing of an imagined bodily monstrosity performed and sustained through a gendered worlding.


Nick Joaquin; Philippine novel in English; postcolonial Gothic; queer theory

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/2826