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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Believing that the memoir evaded discussion about intersex individuals’ anatomy and emotions, Eugenides concluded that he would “write the story that I wasn’t getting from the memoir”. Please try again later. Herculine was designated female at birth. She fell in love with another teacher, Sara, and Barbin demanded that only she should dress her.

Her memoirs were found beside her bed. In Barbin received a position as an assistant teacher in a girls’ school. Beyond Sexual Dimorphism in Culture and History. Here, in an erotic diary, is one lost voice from our sexual past. Jun 12, Pages Buy. When a person demonstrated the physical or mental traits of the opposite sex, such aberrations were deemed random or inconsequential.

In the memoirs, Barbin would use female pronouns when writing about her life prior to sexual redesignation and male pronouns, including Alexina and Camille, following the declaration. She argues that Barbin’s sexual disposition—”one of ambivalence from the outset”—represents a recapitulation of the ambivalence inherent within the religious law that produces herculinw.

Retrieved from ” https: 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. This is the memoir of Herculine Barbin, a hermaphrodite who lived from todesignated female Regnier reported the death, recovered the memoirs and performed an autopsy. Intersex scholar Morgan Hercline states that Barbin’s own writings showed that she saw herself as an “exceptional female”, but female nonetheless.


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.

Her ministrations turned into caresses and they became lovers. Third Sex, Third Gender: Alone and desolate, he commits suicide at the age of thirty in a miserable attic in Paris.

In his commentary to Barbin’s memoirs, Michel Foucault presented Barbin as an example of the “happy limbo of a non-identity”, but whose masculinity marked her from her contemporaries.

Herculine Barbin

Michel Foucault discovered the memoirs in the s while conducting research at the French Department of Public Hygiene. In his edition, Foucault also included a set of medical reports, legal documents, and newspaper articles, as well as a short story adaptation by Oscar Panizza. The excerpts were translated to English in A later legal decision declared official that Barbin was male.

Views Read Edit View history. At the time of his death inhe held a hefculine at France’s most prestigious institutions, the College de France. He lecturerd in universities throughout the world; served as director at the Institut Francais in Hamburg, Germany and at the Institut de Philosophi at the Faculte des Lettres in the University of Clermont-Ferrand, France; and wrote frequently for French newspapers and reviews.

Jan 30, Pages Buy. 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. Herculine Barbin was born in as a female.


Barbin’s memoirs inspired the French film The Mystery of Alexina. Judith Butlerin her book Gender Troubletakes this as an opportunity to read Foucault against himself, especially in History of Sexuality, Volume I.

Vidas paralelas: Foucault, Pierre Rivière e Herculine Barbin

Flucault collection of memoirs inspired Jeffrey Eugenides to write Middlesex. She asked him permission to break the confessional silence in order to send for a doctor to examine her. Selected pages Table of Contents.

Chesnet did so inhe discovered that even if Barbin had a small vagina hercjline, she had a masculine body type, a very small penis, and testicles inside her body. Herculine Barbin November 8, — February [1] was a French intersex person who was determined as female at birth and raised in a convent, but was later reclassified as male by a court of law, after an affair and physical examination.

Herculine Barbin and Michel Foucault. There she fell in love with one of the teachers. Retrieved from ” https: 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. Looking for More Great Reads? See all books by Michel Foucault. Jan 30, Pages.