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Über Hermaphrodismus [der Fall Barbin]…
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Über Hermaphrodismus [der Fall Barbin] (original 1978; edition 2004)

by Herculine Barbin, Michel Foucault, Wolfgang Schäffner

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505349,472 (3.68)5
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 her life as a hermaphrodite. Herculine was designated female at birth. 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. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. 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. 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. In a striking contrast, a painfully confused young person and the doctors who examine her try to sort out the nature of masculine and feminine at the dawn of the age of modern sexuality.… (more)
Member:zwischen_geschlecht
Title:Über Hermaphrodismus [der Fall Barbin]
Authors:Herculine Barbin
Other authors:Michel Foucault, Wolfgang Schäffner
Info:Frankfurt am Main Suhrkamp 2004
Collections:Your library
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Herculine Barbin (Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth Century French Hermaphrodite) by Herculine Barbin (Author) (1978)

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Doctors are a nasty bunch
  fleshed | Jul 16, 2023 |
This book called an "erotic diary" was actually assigned reading in a political science course. This is the memoir of Herculine Barbin, a hermaphrodite who lived from 1838 to 1868, designated 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. And no, it's not by Michel Foucault (thankfully--it's much more readable than anything by him I was forced to read in college.) Rather it could be said it was assembled by him, consisting of the memoir he discovered at the French Department of Public Hygiene to which he added the medical documentation of her condition--and in some editions--an introduction. I don't really recall it as all that erotic, but I did think it brought up some fascinating issues about gender identity. ( )
  LisaMaria_C | Sep 5, 2013 |
I read this five years ago but picked it up last month. In addition to being a tragic story about a hermaphrodite (designated female at birth but later reclassified as a man), it explores the power matrices (medical/scientific, legal) involved in the construction of gender identity. It sells itself as an erotic diary, but I don't believe in the accuracy of the information used, archival excavation from the French Department of Public Hygiene par Monsieur Foucault notwithstanding. Read it to be moved by a life doomed to sorrow and to be angered by "the powers that be", if nothing else. ( )
  m.gilbert | Feb 12, 2011 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barbin, HerculineAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Foucault, MichelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jongenburger, KeesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDougall, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Panizza, Oscarsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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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 her life as a hermaphrodite. Herculine was designated female at birth. 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. Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris. Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. 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. 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. In a striking contrast, a painfully confused young person and the doctors who examine her try to sort out the nature of masculine and feminine at the dawn of the age of modern sexuality.

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