Herculine Barbin (Being the Recently Discovered Memoirs of a Nineteenth Century French Hermaphrodite) [Michel Foucault, Richard McDougall] on. 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.

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It took me a bit to realize that only the introduction is by Michel Foucault, but by that time I was already hooked. Subsequently she was forced to legally reassign as a man of which was not a good fit. What simple and pathetic creatures the masses are!

Judith Butler refers to Foucault’s commentary on Barbin at various points in her Gender Troubleincluding her chapter “Foucault, Herculine, and the Politics of Sexual Discontinuity. About Herculine Barbin 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.

So I decided to read the book and found it most fascinating. Nov 28, Kate Esten rated it liked it Shelves: Mar 16, Abigail Tarttelin rated it it was amazing.

A very interesting read for the most part, although I wasn’t at all enamored with novella which was included with the book. In other words what takes dominance in our thinking in certain points of history bellied by the antagonistic ideals of what it means to be normal.

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. When they reached adulthood, hermaphrodites in the Middle Ages were allowed to decide whether they wanted to be male or female.

Herculine Barbin

Foucault attempts to speak for the time in which Herculine lived, and Herculine speaks from a positionality that needs to be heard. I am really glad this author stumbled upon this and decided to publish it. Jun 11, DoctorM rated it really liked it Shelves: Looking for More Great Reads? When a doctor examined her, he was shocked and asked that she should be sent away from the school, but she stayed. Does everyone need to have one true sex? This story broke my heart.


First published in English inthe book contains writings related to the historical figure and hermaphrodite Alexina Herculine Barbin called Camille in her memoirs. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. She asked him permission to break the confessional silence in order to send for a doctor to examine her.

I read this for a class this semester. Intersex scholar Morgan Holmes states that Barbin’s own writings showed that she saw herself as an “exceptional female”, but female nonetheless.

Serendipitously spied Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides as a guest on Oprah, discussing his acclaimed novel Middlesex. Views Read Edit View history. 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 Open Preview See a Problem? Want to Read Currently Reading Read.

I was actually led to read this book after reading ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides. The full title of this one is “Herculine Barbin: Kira Obolensky also wrote a two-act stage adaptation entitled The Adventures of Herculina.

Many people avoid books and beyond about different bodies, but if anything we need to have these discussions.

God I wish I could grab Alexina’s hands and tell her everything is alright!! Third Sex, Third Gender: Retrieved from ” https: There are pseudo-hermaphrodites, male, female and true hermaphrodites, there are girls with CAH, there are boys with varying degrees of unusual formations, shall we say 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 uncomfortab This is a terribly sad tale of an intersex born person deemed at birth to be a female, and later reassigned as male.

Herculine Barbin by Michel Foucault | : Books

Her family was poor but she gained a charity scholarship to study in the school of an Ursuline convent. Specifically, Butler cites the “institutional injunction to pursue the love of the various ‘sisters’ and ‘mothers’ of the extended convent family and the absolute prohibition against carrying that love too far”.


It’s a fascinating and heartwrenching story. Lists with This Book. As such, I have patients who have the diagnosis of intersex. The hairs on her upper lip and cheeks were noticeable. Feb 16, Mary Kate rated it it was amazing Shelves: The second part, describing life as a male, becomes more and more disjoint, confused, despair and hopelessness growing with every page.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Rather it could be said it was assembled by him, consisting of the memoir he discovered at the French Department of Brbin Hygiene to which he added the medical documentation hercu,ine her condition–and in some editions–an introduction. To ask other readers questions about Herculine Barbinplease sign up.

Read it Forward Read it first. Preview — Herculine Barbin by Herculine Barbin. Foucault was not concern with human nature in and of itself, albeit more concerned with the surrounding factors that create “human nature s ” at specific A fascinating read, that I as a modern reader could only prematurely compare Alexina’s detriment to the likes of someone today. This is something that was not acknowledged Sex and Gender are two different things.

The memoirs come with 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.

Definitely worth reading though to better understand the problems with rigid, traditional Western sex classifications or at least how people who don’t fit neatly into I read this for a class this semester.

Such a sad story.