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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In his critical introduction, Foucault calls Barbin’s pre-masculine upbringing a “happy limbo of non-identity” xiii.

Intersex scholar Morgan Holmes states that Barbin’s own writings showed that she saw herself as an “exceptional female”, but female nonetheless. The ingenousness of Herculine, the passionate yet equivocal tenderness which thrusts her into the arms, even into the beds, of her companions, gives these pages a charm strangely erotic…Michel Foucault has a genius for bringing to light texts and reviving destinies outside the ordinary.

Michel Foucault, who discovered these memoirs in the archives of the French Department of Public Hygiene, presents them with the graphic medical descriptions of Herculine’s body before and after her death. Rodrigo yes, have a look at my profile’s description. We do live in a very different world were the ideas of the freedom of choice and individualism is an exalted public cry, but what can be gathered in this book is how the notion of human nature is formed and exercised.

A fascinating read, that I as a modern reader could only prematurely compare Alexina’s detriment to the likes of someone today. This is the memoir of Herculine Barbin, a hermaphrodite who lived from todesignated female at birth and then forced to take on a male identity when an affair with a women resulted in her physical examination and reassignment of gender as male by the courts.

I did some research on why Eugenides would be inspired to write such a book with an intersex as his topic. May 29, Sara rated it liked it. The memoir was heartbreaking. A check in the box. Present from Amazon wishlist thank you! Dec 09, Mikki Fisher rated it really liked it. Oct 22, Kevin rated it it was amazing. 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.


This book was about a French hermaphrodite named Alexina, who later changed his name to Abel. Pages to import images to Wikidata.

To ask other readers questions about Brbin Barbin harbin, please sign up. 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. Then she gets a female lover, and of course they get found out, and Herculine is forced to reassign as male, and has to find her way in a masculine sphere that she’s never even had contact with. Coupled with the memoirs is an anti-clerical novella, “”A Scandal at the Convent,”” inspired by the case.

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 hercuine would experience.

Aug 24, Austin rated it really liked it.

Jan 02, Ruth rated it liked it Recommended to Ruth by: Also by Michel Foucault. Herculine was designated female at birth.

Herculine Barbin

Sep 17, Dawn McCarthy rated it it was amazing. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Selected pages Table of Contents. Incredibly sad, but very important for intersex rights.

Whilst sad, it is comforting to know how far society has come since, in openness with regard to sexual and gender identity outside of the heteronormative and abrbin assignments or assumptions. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. With an eye for the sensual bloom of young schoolgirls, and the torrid style of the romantic novels hrrculine her day, Herculine Barbin tells the story of her life as a hermaphrodite.

Herculine was designated female at birth. I wrote about this book for a paper on the role of the Catholic Church in defining gender roles and identity in 19th Century France.

Herculine Barbin – Michel Foucault – Google Books

By clicking on “Submit” you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. The medical reports are too technical for the lay reader: It made no sense to me then for race, and it makes no sense now, for gender.


Foucault touches on so many of the points made famous in his other works: 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.

The second part was extremely informative and carefully detailedbut the third part really rubbed me the wrong way The edition I have includes a brilliant introduction by Foucault, a writer of esteemed brilliance, includes the papers from the autopsy which give incredible insight into the physical body though made me feel somewhat uncomfortable to read- as though I may well be objectifying the person that was by focussing purely on the physical left behind and a short story by Oscar Panizza probably based on Herculine Barbin’s diary.

This is the memoir of Herculine Barbin, a hermaphrodite who lived from todesignated female Refresh and try again.

Herculine Barbin by Michel Foucault | : Books

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. Male or female, Barbin is a hero: So I decided to read the book and found it most fascinating. And why it has non-ownvoices bits too, and which parts of the book to avoid. Feb 16, Mary Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: Jun 11, DoctorM rated it really liked it Shelves: 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.

Then she gets a female lover, and of course they get found out, and Herculine is forced to reassign as male The full title of this one is “Herculine Barbin: She has no idea how to be male, how to play the male role in ways society understands, and the career possibilities for someone whose sex has been altered aren’t good.

Apr 29, Lisa Harmonybites rated it really liked it Shelves: