Philosophies of Sex
Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: The Ohio State University Press
Download PDF (9.3 MB)
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (568.6 KB)
C o n ten ts
Download PDF (45.9 KB)
Chapter Five Howe’s Hermaphrodite and Alcott’s “Mephistopheles”: Chapter Eight Cold Stone: Sex and Sculpture in The HermaphroditeChapter nine Spiritualized Bodies and Posthuman Possibilities: ...
A c k n owl e d g m e n ts
Download PDF (67.7 KB)
T hough writing can be a solitary activity, publishing is always collab-orative. The editors of this collection are particularly appreciative of the intelligence and professionalism of all of the contributors, whose work delights and challenges us. We are grateful for the conversations that these essays grew out of and continue to encourage. We are also very grateful to Ohio State University Press. Sandy Crooms, Senior Acquisitions Editor, nur-...
Download PDF (99.5 KB)
On the last page, with his anomalous body arrayed in grave-clothes and laid in a coffin, Laurence, the hermaphrodite, speaks to us. He may or may not be dead, but he is certainly conscious. As he puts it, “[m]y brain was now excited to a vivid consciousness of the horror of my fate” (Howe, H 198). As we now know, Laurence’s fate—or at least the fate of the Laurence manuscript—was to rest unregarded for nearly a century and a half among ...
Foreword: Meeting the Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (74.7 KB)
...nullWhat a mess!” I thought as I stared at the box of papers. It was my spring vacation, 1977, and I had five precious days before I would have to return to my part-time jobs teaching history at The George Wash-ington University and at the National Cathedral School in Washington D.C. I was racing to get through as many documents as I could while my infant daughter, Elizabeth, was stashed with my friend and colleague, Katharine ...
1. Indeterminate Sex and Text: The Manuscript Status of The Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (144.1 KB)
Written around 1847 and published for the first time in 2004, Julia Ward Howe’s novel The Hermaphrodite only existed, until Gary Williams’s careful work of resurrection, as three stacks of loose manuscript sheets, frag-mented and untitled. Donated to the Houghton Library in 1951 amidst a mass of Howe family papers, these pages were stored together with other of Julia Ward Howe’s prose manuscripts. Most of the other papers in this archi-...
2. From Self-Erasure to Self-Possession: The Development of Julia Ward Howe's Feminist Consciousness
Download PDF (133.5 KB)
In Woman in the Nineteenth Century, Margaret Fuller argues that thought governed by gender binarism should be replaced by a kind of gender hermaphrodism. Fuller writes, “There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.” Male and female “are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid” (Fuller, Woman 310). Fuller acclaims such hermaphrodism as the true nature of both women and men, a ...
3. "Rather Both Than Neither": The Polarity of Gender in Howe's Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (129.6 KB)
When asked to judge Laurence’s sex, the physician who attends him/her in the final pages of The Hermaphrodite declares, “‘I cannot pro-nounce Lauren[ce] either man or woman . . . but I shall speak most justly if I say that he is rather both than neither’” (Howe, H 195). This essay argues that in representing Laurence as “rather both than neither,” Julia Ward Howe draws on one of the most powerful paradigms in early nineteenth-century ...
4. "Never the Half of Another": Figuring and Foreclosing Marriage in The Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (102.8 KB)
When Julia Ward Howe began to write the text we now call The Her-maphrodite, did she consult Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary for a defi-nition? If she had, she would have found an unsurprising entry with an intriguing conclusion: “Hermaphrodite: An animal uniting two sexes. Man and wife make but one right/Canonical hermaphrodite—Cleaveland” (John-When young Julia Ward became curious about sex, did she sneak a peek, ...
5. Howe's Hermaphrodite and Alcott's "Mephistopheles": Unpublished Cross-Gender Thinking
Download PDF (97.0 KB)
T hat two of the foremost icons of nineteenth-century womanhood wrote novels dealing with such gender-bending themes as a female Faust, a hermaphrodite, female power, cross-dressing, and gender questioning is not something that their contemporaries—or readers for decades afterward—would have suspected. yet Julia Ward Howe, whose name has come down to us primarily for her stirringly religious Civil War anthem, “Battle Hymn of ...
6. "The Cruelest Enemy of Beauty": Sand's Gabriel, Howe's Laurence
Download PDF (119.4 KB)
Writers for most U.S. periodicals in the 1830s and ’40s—the years in which the novels of Balzac, Eugène Sue, Paul de Kock, and preemi-nently George Sand began to be noticed—regarded French writing as Satanic. Representative is a reviewer for Horace Greeley’s New-Yorker in 1836, pro-voked by Victor Hugo’s Lucretia Borgia: “Modern French literature is so atro-ciously corrupt that, whether its pictures be directly and openly subversive of ...
7. The Consummate Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (118.3 KB)
.... . . the pleasures of the evening consummated by a bloody quarrel.In chapter 16 of The Hermaphrodite, Julia Ward Howe describes what looks like an attempted rape. Laurence is the eponymous “hermaphrodite” in this unfinished and, until 2004, unpublished novel, which Howe wrote in the 1840s. Laurence has been allowing himself to be understood as male in his capacity as tutor to Ronald, a young nobleman. Ronald has venerated and ...
8. Cold Stone: Sex and Sculpture in The Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (1.2 MB)
In a very strange letter, Charles Sumner announced that his bosom friend Samuel Howe wanted to marry Julia Ward. As Sumner put it, Howe, “as Presid’t of the Phrenological Soc., . . . would like to have her head in their collection—perhaps I might . . . [add] that he would like it for his private cabinet” (quoted in Williams, HH 47). This metaphor of murder, decapita-tion, and connoisseurship is a little disturbing. Even before the marriage, the ...
9. Spiritualized Bodies and Posthuman Possibilities: Technologies of Intimacy in The Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (160.9 KB)
In his 1768 exposition, Conjugial Love, Emanuel Swedenborg (1688–1772) sketches the prospect of heavenly marriage, detailing an extended quest for monogamous union in the afterlife.1 Swedenborg theorizes that husbands and wives meet again after death to test the staying power of their earthly bonds. If they prove incompatible, they divorce and search for new, more suitable partners. In Swedenborg’s heaven, the unattached spirit chases ...
10. Unrealized: The Queer Time of The Hermaphrodite
Download PDF (156.2 KB)
A few pages into Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite, the novel’s ambiguously sexed narrator, Laurence, reflects on what he terms the “negative happiness of early youth.” In retrospect, he observes, childhood appears to us “happy and golden,” but we experience it otherwise as we live it: “[A]t the time, I was conscious of little more than a vague bien être, sometimes interrupted by deepest melancholy, and a hope of something ...
Afterword: Howe Now?
Download PDF (96.5 KB)
Now that Julia Ward Howe’s Hermaphrodite has been recovered, how should we reread the words for which she became famous, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”? What, in turn, is the legacy of Howe’s writing, across genres, for contemporary America? Juxtaposing “Battle Hymn of the Repub-lic” with The Hermaphrodite, this Afterword offers a brief commentary on the dissonance between these works and on their resonances in American culture ...
Download PDF (89.9 KB)
Download PDF (52.7 KB)
Download PDF (69.1 KB)
Download PDF (5.9 MB)
Page Count: 304
Publication Year: 2012