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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Mar 16, Abigail Tarttelin rated it it was amazing. Jan 30, Pages. Sep 30, Laurel L. First published in English inthe book contains writings related to the historical figure and hermaphrodite Alexina Herculine Barbin called Camille in her memoirs. With Herculine Barbin, the history was grounded and sympathetic. I read this as an assignment for my class on queer history in Europe, and until this point, it had been largely theoretical and abstract.

Mar 10, Xio rated it liked it Shelves: 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. She tragically commits suicide at age Jun 12, Pages.

The collection of memoirs inspired Jeffrey Eugenides to write Middlesex. I feel fortunate to have been given such a personal and clear glimpse to this very particular past. It can certainly teach us about tolerance and understanding.

When a person demonstrated the physical or mental traits of the opposite sex, such aberrations were deemed random or inconsequential. The graphic descriptions of hermaphrodite genitalia in medical reports on one hand satisfied my curousity but on the other also left me feeling sad, thinking of all those examinations she was subjected to which were probably almost unthinkable for a girl of her time herduline upbringing.


Herculine is raised female, and, after confessing her love of women, is examined, found intersexed, and “re-assigned” by doctors as male. So terribly sad, so unnecessarily painful. Luckily for the reader, Foucault only introduces the materials, and then remains silent for the rest of the book.

Stay in Touch Sign up. My heart positively ached for Herculine and Sara.

Whilst sad, it is comforting to know how far society has come since, hetculine openness with regard to sexual and gender identity outside of the heteronormative and cisgender assignments or assumptions. A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening bodies of classmates, a passionate lover of a schoolmistress, she’s suddenly reclassified as male. And why it has non-ownvoices bits too, and which parts of the book to avoid.

Retrieved from ” https: 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.

Fokcault I wish Micel could grab Alexina’s hands and tell her everything is alright!! Aug 24, Austin rated it really liked it. The documents were fascinating, amazingly detailed, I thought, for such a time and place but those thoughts are no doubt my own prejudices.

Makes my blood boil. Curious indeed, and herculinr. Doctors are a nasty bunch.

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. Present from Amazon wishlist thank you!

A small book that makes one realise how humane and often subtle a thinker Foucault was. Oct 14, Julia rated it really liked it. 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.


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Herculine Barbin by Foucault, Michel

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. Racconto di una vita dolorosa fisicamente ma soprattutto umanamente. I read this for a class this semester. Both of these are insightful and informative, for different reasons. This is something that was not acknowledged by state and societal institutions throughout time invariant.

Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. The novella and a few attached documents press fokcault, legal and medical opinions add little, however, so ultimately we come back to Herculine: A check in the box.

Herculine Barbin

As luck would have it, Herculine aka Alexina was a really brilliant writer and storyteller, so this is an engaging read. A very interesting read for the most part, although I wasn’t at all enamored with novella which was included with the book. Views Read Edit View history.

A pious girl in a Catholic orphanage, a bewildered adolescent enchanted by the ripening bodies of her classmates, a passionate lover of micheo schoolmistress, she is suddenly reclassified as a man. All in all, if this book wasn’t assigned reading, I wo This book was about a French hermaphrodite named Alexina, who later changed his name to Abel. Eye opening to my ignorance! Paperbackpages. Feb 16, Mary Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: