Scripting the Self. N. O. Body's Autobiography

Geertje Mak

in Doubting Sex

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780719086908
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702628 | DOI:
Scripting the Self. N. O. Body's Autobiography

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This chapter investigates the autobiography of N. O. Body published in 1907. It illustrates how the relationship with the self became prioritized above one's position vis-à-vis others, as the individual quest for an inner truth of sex started to replace the desperate search for a morally acceptable position in society. In case histories of hermaphrodites, physicians hardly initiated ways of investigating the sex of self on their own account. N. O. Body's autobiographical text clearly differs from that of Herculine Barbin, who never made the most of the characteristics of her childhood to prove her innate masculine disposition. The homosexual story of the ‘female soul trapped in a male body’ is very similar to Body's story. The difference between the plot and morality of Barbin and Body's texts perfectly exemplifies Charles Taylor's assertion that the self had become an inner space and had turned into a constitutive good.

Keywords: N. O. Body; sex of self; autobiography; hermaphrodites; Herculine Barbin; Charles Taylor

Chapter.  9747 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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