With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of. As Michel Foucault notes in his preface to Herculine Barbin, the nineteenth century was haunted by the theme of the hermaphrodite. Among. Find Herculine Barbin by Foucault, Michel at Biblio. Uncommonly good collectible and rare books from uncommonly good booksellers.

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Jan 30, Pages. Pages to import images to Wikidata. A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening bodies of her classmates, a passionate lover of another schoolmistress, she is suddenly reclassified as a man.

Inspired by Your Browsing History. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. The memoirs are written by an individual ostensibly female at birth, but when puberty was reached her undescended testicles virilized her body physically exposing her 46XY male karyotype.

Many people avoid books and beyond about different bodies, but if anything we need to have these discussions. A very interesting read for the most part, although I wasn’t at all enamored with novella which was included with the book. My library Help Advanced Book Search.

I also liked the short story included in the book. The first part of the memoir relates the life Herculine had as a female, beautifully written most especially because it is a memoir of that time, not a creation of what an author, albeit with a foundation of extensive research, imagines a hermaphrodite would experience.

Herculine Barbin

Sex is what we are born with, gender is what we choose or are conditioned to be by society. Actually I was hooked by the first line of introduction: Both of these are insightful and informative, for different reasons. Ofucault opening to my ignorance!

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Makes my blood boil. Her memoirs, which are foucaut in an almost prosaic way, are very sad. The memoirs come bafbin an introduction by Foucault, the recovered reports of the doctors who examined hir which are, let me say, chilling and a – get this – morality play that was written based on hir life. Herculine Barbin was a hermaphrodite born inraised in the purely feminine environment of convents and normal schools, who at the age of 22 was declared a male and at the age of 30 committed suicide in a dismal Paris room.

And her fouvault should not have been defined by forcing a male gender and legal status that way. Retrieved from ” https: Luckily for the reader, Foucault only introduces the materials, and then remains silent for the rest of the book. This is a terribly sad tale of an intersex born person deemed at birth to be a female, and later reassigned as male. Feb 16, Mary Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: May 29, Sara rated it liked it. Heeculine New York Review of Books.

Herculine Barbin by Michel Foucault | : Books

The documents were fascinating, amazingly detailed, I thought, for such a time and place but those thoughts are no doubt my own prejudices. By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

The novella and a few attached documents press notices, legal and medical opinions add little, however, so ultimately we come back to Herculine: Provocative, articulate, eerily prescient as she imagines her corpse under the probing instruments of scientists, Herculine brings a disturbing perspective to our own notions of sexuality.

Serendipitously spied Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides as a guest on Oprah, discussing his acclaimed novel Middlesex. Mar 10, Xio rated it liked it Shelves: Rather This book called an “erotic diary” was actually assigned reading in a political science course.

Intersex scholar Morgan Holmes states that Barbin’s own writings showed that she saw herself as an “exceptional female”, but female nonetheless. I remember when my brother-in-law white and his wife black had their first child, about six months before the Census arrived.


It’s nonfiction, the memoirs of an intersex person who was assigned a female gender at birth, was raised in an all-girl’s school, and became a teacher at the same all-girl’s school when she was eighteen or so.

My review is online now at Bogi Reads the World! The torture and devastation that is thus inflicted on the subject screams out of the words of these poignant and depressive memoir.


Herculine was designated female at birth. The medical information and michep information on Alexina in the book was interesting and fascinating as well. A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening Dec 14, Jack rated it it was amazing. When a person demonstrated the physical foucaklt mental traits of the opposite sex, such aberrations were deemed random or inconsequential.

It ends badly, yes, in misery and suicide. We do not live in an “absolute realness” — the ideas about things shape them and ideas themselves change — nonetheless in a given moment of time things are indeed understood as “real. With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels of her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of micuel life as a hermaphrodite. I mmichel this as an assignment for my class on queer history in Europe, and until this point, it had been largely theoretical and abstract.

Feb 29, Nik rated it really liked it. This is something that was not acknowledged by state and societal institutions throughout time invariant.