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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Herculine Barbin by Foucault, Michel

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Preview — Herculine Barbin by Herculine Barbin. Herculine was designated female at birth. 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.

Here’s a lost voice of the sexual past in an erotic diary. Provocative, foucaulr, eerily prescient as she imagines her corpse under the probing instruments of scientists, Foucaul brings a disturbing perspective to our notions of sexuality. 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 Paperbackpages.

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Herculine Barbin (memoir) – Wikipedia

Rodrigo yes, foucaylt a look at my profile’s description. See 1 question about Herculine Barbin…. Lists with This Book. My review is online now at Bogi Reads the World! Read about the first ever intersex ownvoices book! And why it has non-ownvoices bits too, and which parts of the book to avoid. I really liked this short memoir and I recommend it, but some of the bonus material attached to it was just weird, and not in a good sense: Source of the book: Present from Amazon wishlist thank you!

May 29, Sara rated it liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.

The Book of Shadows”, by James Reese. Hercukine uses her as the main character but in his novel she is michsl a fledgling witch excellent book, by the way. Her memoirs, which are written in an almost prosaic way, are very sad. She was a woman and then had to revert back to legal status as a man at age She tragically commits suicide at age From what I read, she was a good person with a loving heart.

Michael Foucalt explains the laws regarding hermaphroditism expertly in the introduction and poses the very interesting question of our true sex. Does everyone need to have one true sex? I don’t think so. And her character should not have been defined by forcing a male gender and legal status that way. Another part that was rather macabre but interesting were the medical examinations of her body done pre and post mortem.


Jun 11, DoctorM rated it really liked it Shelves: Fascinating and sad the story of an intersex tragedy of the mids.


Herculine is raised female, and, after confessing her love of women, is examined, found intersexed, and “re-assigned” by doctors as male. 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. It ends badly, yes, in misery and suicide. Foucault touches on so many of the points made famous in his other works: It’s a tragic little foucalut, made worse by the good intentions however pompous and condescending of Hdrculine surgeons.

A small book that makes one realise how humane and often subtle a thinker Foucault was. Mar 16, Abigail Tarttelin rated it it was amazing.

God I wish I could grab Alexina’s hands and tell her everything is alright!! It’s so sad to think she missed out on our times by a mere years and thus micheo to live such a wretched and vexed life. On the other hand, I wonder if a story like this is possible now, still, maybe somewhere rural. As luck would have it, Herculine aka Alexina was a really brilliant writer and storyteller, so this is an engaging read. Such a sad story.

I wish she could have stayed with her friend. The medical notes fr God Mchel wish I could grab Alexina’s hands and tell her everything is alright!!

The medical notes from Foucault were interesting but after reading the human account they werent the meat of the book. Doctors are a nasty bunch. Dec 24, Simone rated it it was amazing. First published in English inthe book contains writings related to the historical figure and hermaphrodite Alexina Herculine Barbin called Camille in her memoirs. Luckily for the reader, Foucault only introduces the materials, and then remains silent for the rest of the book.

Male or female, Barbin is a hero: Michek medical reports are too technical for the lay reader: Dec 09, Mikki Fisher barbim it really liked it. A very interesting read for the most part, although I wasn’t at all enamored with novella which was included with the book. Still, I can recommend this story to anyone who doubts the reality of the human condition called hermaphrodism.

It’s fortunate that today we have mostly a more understanding climate surrounding the issue of gender identity, micyel to mention sexual preference. However, I believe depression can still result in such individuals today because of lack self-knowledge and self-toler A very interesting read michhel the most part, although I wasn’t at all enamored with novella which was included with the book.

Jun 25, Lee Kofman rated it really liked it. The memoir was heartbreaking. The graphic descriptions of hermaphrodite genitalia badbin medical reports on one hand satisfied my curousity but on the ot The memoir was heartbreaking.

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 and upbringing. I also liked the short story included in the book. Nov 28, Kate Esten rated it liked it Shelves: I wrote about this book for a paper on the role of the Catholic Church in defining barbni roles and identity in 19th Century France.


As an intersex mchel, Herculine grows up with a feminine religiosity- focused on submission, obedience, and devotion. Once reassigned as barbjn man, the inability to cross the strict gender divide ultimately bargin Herculine without a community, religion, or identity. Dec 14, Jack rated it it was amazing. Like a mix between Lolita and The Bell Jar, not in content, just in how it made me feel.

Oct 14, Julia rated it really liked it. Incredibly sad, fkucault very important for intersex rights. Jan 02, Ruth rated it liked it Recommended to Ruth by: It took me a bit to realize that only the introduction is by Michel Foucault, but by that time I was already hooked. Actually I was hooked by bwrbin first line of introduction: Why do we need to be pinned down with a check in the box male or female? I guess that is the question for this century Oh, please may it now be that long! I remember when my brother-in-law white and his wife black had their first child, about six months before the Census arrived.

That’s a question only she can answer.

Why should she label herself one way or the other. It made no barbni to me then for race, and it makes no sense now, for gender. So I was surprised to read in the next paragraph that “for a very long time For centuries, it was quite simply agreed that hermaphrodites had two. But over time, after the Renaissance, that decision was taken over by the medical profession and the courts: Obviously anyone making such a decision for another had never stood in shoes with such ‘accidental elements’.

But on to the book itself: The first part of the memoir hdrculine 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. The second part, describing life as a male, becomes more and more disjoint, confused, despair and hopelessness growing with every page.

It was very fpucault to read. So terribly sad, so unnecessarily painful. So unfair to be sent out into a world for which one is totally unprepared for, with only a ‘there hetculine go, be well and happy, good-bye!