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Chevalière d'Éon was a fascinating person that I would love to know more about. But I keep cringing at how many examples this book provides of how *not* to write about trans people -- including the Goodreads summary that describes a transwoman as "unambiguously male" thirty years after her transition. Are there any biographies of d'Éon written by a trans historian, or at least a better ally?
4.5 stars.The Chevalier d'Eon is one of the most fascinating figures of the 18th century: he lived the first 49 years of his life as a man and the last 33 as a woman, and his story is a remarkable testament to the power of self-fashioning in ancien regime France. But that story has been muddied by the Chevalier's own reinventions over time, and nowadays it can be difficult to get at the fact behind the legend. This book is the place to start. I agree, the title looks a bit sensationalist on firs...
Very clearly written in the mid-90s, as the language is quite dated. But it’s an interesting read. I’m not sure I agree with the author’s reasoning for the pronouns he uses for D’Eon.
Such an interesting character! Completely fascinating, though ultimately we will most likely never know what made him decide to live half his life as a woman. Was he a transsexual? Was he just really impressed with how strong women are? I think that, based on how dated this is (1995), it is fair to conclude that, from a reading of the quotes provided and nothing else, d’Eon was what 21st c. people would recognize as trans. I cringed at many of Kates’ descriptions and choices of pronouns, but it
Un aprile ben misero, in quanto a letture: sono stata distratta da questo e da quello, e ho impiegato un mese per finire "appena" due libri, e temo anche di non aver dedicato loro la dovuta concentrazione.Non so ricostruire il percorso che mi ha portato alla lettura di questo saggio, sicuramente ho appreso la curiosa e affascinante vicenda del Cavaliere d'Eon da una pagina di Wikipedia, ma non ricordo se vi ero giunta per caso o per altri collegamenti. La biografia scritta da Gary Kates è stata
The Chevaliere d'Eon is one of history's most fascinating figures. A captain of the dragoons. A war hero. A member of a secret French ring of spies reporting directly to the King.They lived a life worthy of an Errol Flynn movie. Finally, they became estranged from their king in the 1770s amid swirling rumors in their post at London that they were a woman disguised a man. Bets begin to be placed with London bookies. Outrage breaks out in Versailles. d'Eon travels in secret for fear of being kidna...
absolutely fucking stunning.
not sure I buy the authors premise about d'Eon's Christian feminism, but still a very interesting life well described.
It was interesting to learn more about d'Eon and the time period before the American and later French revolutions. I will say it felt a bit dated (being from 1995) in how it referred to d'Eon (in terms of pronouns and other language) especially after her transformation into a woman. The author makes it clear that he struggled with the idea that d'Eon could be female if she was born with a male body and preferred clothing typical for men of her time. So overall an ok read but be forewarned about
An incredibly curious figure, d'Eon was a man who was "discovered" to be really a woman who had been raised as a boy and was ordered by the king to return to France to live as a woman, only to be discovered upon his death as an émigré in England years later to have been a man all along. He seems to have gone along willingly with the French royal orders for his own reasons, even having gone so far as to encourage their outcome, and had a marked interest in early feminist theory, collecting early
This is an academic-style text on the life and motivation of the Chevalier d'Eon, who lived the first half of his life as a distinguished male soldier, then lived the second half as a woman (I am using the male pronoun, as used throughout this book). He claimed that he had been a woman all along, but was forced to adopt male clothing from infancy by his father. However, upon his death, an autopsy by no less than ten different doctors confirmed his was a perfectly healthy male. I enjoyed this boo...
I felt that the book didn't prove all its points and that it wandered too far away on tangents in some sections, but it's an interesting look at politics and gender roles in Europe of the time. D'Eon's dual life as diplomat and spy even before he officially declared himself a woman is sometimes brainbending to read and most have been stressful to live. I was surprised by what the research shows about how women lived their lives and what some of them wrote about it.
Amazing account of the 18th century Chevalier who elected at mid-life to live as a woman after a successful espionage career in Russia. mid-career. D'Eon was declared to be legally a woman by Louis XVI in 1776. D'Eon explained that he had been born female but raised as a male by a father desperate for a son. At his death, 35 years later, it was discovered that d'Eon was really a man. This book was thoroughly and meticulously researched. D'Eon's story is truly remarkable.
Oddly written and poorly organized life of a fascinating real historical figure that manages to not really tell us much about that person. There's enough here to be almost satisfying, but it fails to achieve any true success as a biography.
Read for my Ordinary People course.