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"This fascinating exploration of three remarkable lives explores a wide range of gender outlaw behavior long before the term was invented. Consistently provocative, deeply researched, and amply illustrated, this book will challenge us to think more clearly about what gender nonconformity meant and did 'before trans.'"
—Margaret Waller, author of The Male Malady
Before the term "transgender" existed, there were those who experienced their gender in complex ways. Before Trans examines the lives and writings of Jane Dieulafoy (1850–1916), Rachilde (1860–1953), and Marc de Montifaud (1845–1912), three French writers whose gender expression did not conform to nineteenth-century notions of femininity. Written by Rachel Mesch, an NEH Public Scholar, this book explores these three figures' lifelong efforts to articulate a sense of selfhood that did not precisely align with the conventional gender roles of their day. Their intricate, personal stories provide vital historical context for our own efforts to understand the nature of gender identity and the ways in which it might be expressed.
$30.00 Hardcover
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ALSO BY RACHEL MESCH
"In Having It All in the Belle Epoque, Mesch sheds new light on the gender mores of 19th century Europe. As she warns, the modern woman becomes a 'bundle of contradictions' for whom 'there are no easy answers' . . . Mesch's study raises powerful new questions about the place of fashion periodicals in campaigns for women's equality."
—Emily Hershman, Make: A Literary Magazine
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