Posted On Nov 11 2015 by

The aim of this article is to make visible the challenge that intersexuality poses to representation. We will analyze the memoirs of Herculine Barbin who was an intersex person living in Paris in the 19th century. We will put it into the context of the history of monstrosity, pathology and normality whose development marked the 18th and 19th centuries. In addition, we will discuss the representation of the ambiguous body in the planches of Diderot and d’Alembert’s Encyclopedia and photographs of Felix Nadar. The relationships between the images (drawings and photographs) and their descriptions together compose a kind of medical ekphrasis, where image and language are redundant. In this way, they emphasize the fact that neither language nor image are able to describe such a phenomenon. We will explore how intersexuality destabilizes social ontology as well as the law. After analyzing the position of the hermaphrodite in medical and literary discourses, we would like to propose the concept of “hermaphrodite writing” (écriture hermaphrodite), to wit, a special kind of somapoétique.

Last Updated on: November 11th, 2015 at 10:24 P, by admin

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