The Hermaphrodite is one of Julia Ward Howe's lesser-known works, for it is an unfinished manuscript, yet it is the subject of much scholarly inquiry. This project analyzes the "gender perspective" of the nineteenth-century that informed the protagonist's story and Howe's decision in leaving it incomplete and unpublished. I also compare this work to George Moore’s The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, published eighty years later, using the same lens to track the gender perspective in its movement toward the growing popularity of gender identity scholarship in the present day. I argue that a more conscious awareness of the social and economic influence on gender identity expression may help us move beyond the exclusive male/female binary toward a more inclusive spectrum for those who don't neatly identify with an either/or dichotomy. Howe and Moore paved the way for this progress.
June 30, 2015
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