“For he never makes love”: Reclaiming Asexual Representation in Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite
The first time I encountered Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite was in a graduate seminar on early American literature. This particular seminar was themed around recovered texts, making Howe’s manuscript the perfect choice for the course. Fragmented, unfinished, and originally untitled, Howe’s manuscript tells the story of Laurence, an intersex person who identifies as male and has a complex relationship with his body, his gender, and his sexual and romantic orientations. At different points in the text, Laurence has romantic relationships with men and women. The text’s unabashed queerness was both amazing and delightful to me, as Gary Williams, a Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Idaho and the foremost expert on the text, estimates that Howe wrote the manuscript between the years of 1846 and 1847. Though much has been written about the text’s anxieties surrounding gender, the body, and attraction, recognizing the asexually coded queerness within the manuscript is significant both to understanding Laurence’s character and to locating asexuality historically. By calling upon academic theories of asexuality and my own experiences as an asexual person, I examine Laurence’s characterization to locate his asexuality within the text. Locating Laurence’s asexuality is an important act of reclamation for asexual history, as it demonstrates that asexuality is a necessary aspect of understanding the historical record of human attraction and desire.
Asexual Histories and Theories
Asexuality is a growing subject of study in various academic fields, though research on the orientation has been scant overall. In fact, library searches yielded more results about plant reproduction than about the sexual orientation. This anecdote about my research process exposes a common misconception that asexuality only has to do with the reproduction of single-celled organisms and plants. The Asexuality Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) defines asexuality as an orientation in this way: “An asexual person does not experience sexual attraction — they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way.” Based on this definition, asexuality has everything to do with attraction and little, if anything, to do with actual sex acts. Public and scholarly conversations about asexuality as an orientation were facilitated by AVEN’s founding in 2001 by David Jay, and scholars such as Anthony Bogaert, Megan Milks, and Karli June Cerankowski acknowledge AVEN as a catalyst for sparking the ongoing academic and poplar conversations about asexuality.
To understand the history of the conversations (or lack thereof) surrounding asexuality, we must first understand the history of sexuality as an identity category in itself. Even though the idea of sexual orientation did not come around until the late nineteenth century, there is of course still a long history of sex and attraction that stretches past this rather arbitrary starting date. The idea that people began conceiving of sexual orientation as an identity category in the nineteenth century originated with Michel Foucault; in the first volume of History of Sexuality, Foucault claims that 1870 is the birth of sexuality as a category of an identity whereas sexuality was previously thought of as an assemblage of acts and/or non-acts. Indeed, although topics of sexuality as an identity have long been discussions in scholarly and public spheres, asexuality as a category of identity has been relatively invisible until recent years:
Although the historical record reveals few references to “asexuality,” the concept of a person not experiencing sexual attraction, or desiring to not have sex for various reasons is certainly not anything new. What is relatively “new” is the formation of communities around the common language of asexuality as it is understood today — communities in which new categories exist around the concept of asexuality or “being ace,” where people can discuss romantic or aromantic orientations in relation to or apart from sexual desires or non-desires.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, online communities and forums such as AVEN have been important in sparking the conversations about asexuality as a category of identity in recent history. Still, it is difficult to look back on mainstream histories and find asexuality as an explicit part of this record.
However, asexuality has always been a part of the history of human sexuality in certain marginalized communities, where members of these communities are de-sexed by those in a position of social and political privilege: the male, white, straight, cisgender, or able-bodied. In writing about the many populations that have non-sexuality imposed upon them, Eunjung Kim says:
Many individuals with disabilities, older people, children, intersex people, transgender people, lesbians, and ethnic, racialized, and impoverished others are often thought of as not being, or not being entitled to be, sexual. Correspondingly, this imperative also produces the idea of hypersexuality, in which the sexual expressions of some of these populations are registered as excess. The enforcement of asexuality in the process of desexualization reveals that the normative presence of sexuality works within the boundary of an ideal and normative citizen.
Although this passage demonstrates that there are many groups that have asexuality inscribed upon them by society, Kim’s focus is on disabled people. People with physical and mental disabilities have long been associated with asexuality, which has been problematic for both disabled and asexual communities. Many disabled people want to distance themselves from asexuality and be seen as sexual beings, while many asexual people want to distance themselves from being associated with disease and medicalization. Bringing wholeness to these two communities that have been hurt by the association of asexuality with disability, according to Kim, will come from cripping asexuality. She writes: “To crip asexuality is thus to push back against the conjoined pathologization and construction of physical and mental differences as a cause of asexuality, and to revalue both asexuality and disability.” Both communities have been hurt by the mutual associations in the past, but disabled people are not the only ones who have been hurt by a historic inscription of asexuality upon them.
As Kim says in the quote above, there are many groups besides people with disabilities that must contend with having asexuality inscribed upon them, and one of these groups is women of color. Women of color, especially black women, have historically faced desexualization by white men. This desexualization ironically results in hypersexualization for these communities of women: when a population is deemed unworthy of sexual desire, then any type of sexual activity becomes excess, and the body itself indeed becomes suspect. This racialized view of sexuality and asexuality ultimately has its roots in American slavery, as Ianna Hawkins Owen points out. Rather than referring to the orientation of asexuality, Owen uses asexuality as a discursive tool to examine race. She says: “whiteness desires asexuality. By this I mean that whiteness desires to locate in asexuality the success of its own historical endeavors to achieve self-mastery, claiming sexual superiority as an aid to racial superiority and vice versa.” Because of this historic association with whiteness, we must always be conscious of the way asexuality has been used discursively in the past as a tool of white supremacy when discussing asexual history.
Bogaert, one of the foremost scholars researching asexuality, has pointed to many different types of evidence in the historical record to demonstrate the longevity of asexuality. First, he cites scientific studies of animals such as sharks, rats, and sheep in an effort to provide biological precedence for human asexuality. He also points to evidence of certain famous historical figures being asexual, but I am hesitant to assign a sexual orientation to someone who is no longer around to speak for themselves, especially considering that a lack of sexual activity does not necessarily mean someone is asexual, and same-gender attraction, among other reasons, may also explain a lack of sexual activity in past centuries. Finally, Bogaert also points out that “throughout human cultural history, artists have depicted figures and characters with an asexual aura in art and literature. […] These depictions of characters indicate that sexual variability, including its extreme forms, have been recognized throughout history.” Thus, one of the best places that we can identify and reclaim asexual history is through art, literature, and popular culture.
Asexual characters or characters that are ace-coded typically fall under certain identifiable archetypes. These archetypes employ different stereotypes about asexual people that may or not be based on real asexual people’s lived experience. Bogaert summarizes the archetypes using specific examples of characters and tropes from pop culture that many would be familiar with: “That asexual characters seem to be of a ‘type’ or routinely have certain characteristic — such as the asexual ‘man-child’ (Gilligan), the asexual nerd (Sheldon), the asexual prig (the librarian) — may speak to our expectations of how asexuality often manifests itself in people in the real world, even if these expectations are often distorted stereotypes.” These tropes and archetypes all operate under the assumption that asexual people are childish or immature, nerdy or bookish, and unattractive. It is interesting to note that Howe’s Laurence does not fall under any of these tropes, and yet he presents a very explicit picture of an asexual character grappling with romance and attraction.
Locating Desire and (A)sexuality in The Hermaphrodite
I am certainly not the first to consider Laurence’s lack of sexual attraction and his asexual potential. However, other scholars tend to mention his lack of sexual desire within the context of their larger projects rather than making it the focal point of their inquiry. One such example is Marianne Noble’s book chapter on Howe’s feminist consciousness, where she writes that Laurence believes his loneliness is not caused by his intersex body but “that the problem is his lack of sexual longings—his soul is veiled in a flesh that knows no desire, and a person without sexual desire is doomed to be an ‘abstract orphan.’ ” This claim that either Laurence’s body or sexuality is the cause of his loneliness is problematic because it places the blame on Laurence himself, who cannot control either aspect of his identity, rather than nuancing the complexities of Laurence’s identity, his self-perceptions, and how society at large perceives him.
While Noble indicates that Laurence’s asexuality is a “problem,” Gary Williams, who edited and transcribed Howe’s manuscript, offers a different perspective. In discussing Laurence’s relationships with various female characters in the text, Williams notes “Laurence’s apparent freedom from the sensation of sexual desire.” Rather than viewing Laurence’s asexuality as a “problem,” Williams describes it as a ”freedom.” However, the difficulty here is that Williams describes asexuality as a “sensation” or a lack thereof instead of an intrinsic aspect of Laurence’s identity. Additionally, Williams’s description of Laurence’s asexuality as a form of freedom fails to account for the many examples within the text where Laurence’s lack of sexual attraction hampers or even harms him. Laurence’s relationship to his sexuality and lack of attraction is thus much more complex than Williams is giving Howe credit for in this instance.
One attempt at an intersectional reading of Laurence’s asexuality and intersexuality comes from Bethany Schneider, though it ultimately fails to account for his asexuality in an understanding and sensitive way. For Schneider, gender is the primary issue in The Hermaphrodite, and Laurence’s identity as an intersex person is what allows him to thoroughly explore nineteenth-century male and female gender roles. A lack of attraction is necessary for this exploration to take place, according to Schneider. She writes:
This exploration depends upon the thesis that Laurence has no sexual feeling; his asexuality keeps an analysis of gender categories in play. Were he to desire these men and women, his own use as a tourist — his abstraction from the characters he studies and his sentimental journey in their strange lands and among their bizarre customs—would be compromised.
Her argument implies that attraction negates any exploration of gender roles within a text, a premise which decades of literary criticism would find fault with. Additionally, the argument likewise implies that asexual people are somehow unbiased when it comes to gender and navigating social roles and situations, which is certainly not the case. The language and tone of her argument also treats asexual people as if they were aliens from another planet who have come to spy on earthlings, which is a tired and overdone trope. Thus, while Schneider’s reading of The Hermaphrodite attempts to provide an intersectional understanding of Laurence’s gender and sexuality within the text, it ultimately fails to account for Laurence’s asexuality in a meaningful way.
Suzanne Ashworth, on the other hand, offers a more compelling way to read the intersections of Laurence’s asexuality and intersexuality. She argues that, because of nineteenth century gender norms and expectations of desire, heterosexual couplings were the only viable option, and these couplings were predicated on the bodies of those involved. Laurence’s indeterminate sex therefore means his gender was considered indeterminate as well, despite the fact that he identifies as a man. During the nineteenth century, sex and gender were believed to be one in the same, though contemporary understandings now recognize these as two separate categories of identity. Likewise, attraction was contingent upon the perceived singular category of gender and sex., giving Laurence, a person of indeterminate sex, no socially acceptable options for attraction. As “no man, no woman, nothing,” Laurence must be asexual by default. This intersectional reading of Laurence’s gender, sex, and sexuality in the text is by far the most comprehensive and most compelling, though it still does not contend with asexual history and relies instead on histories of intersexuality and heterosexuality.
Reclaiming Laurence as a Figure of Asexual Literary History
Although explicit descriptions of sexual desire are rare in nineteenth century fiction, The Hermaphrodite describes Laurence’s lack of sexual attraction in no uncertain terms. From the very beginning of the manuscript, Laurence says, “I was anxious to propitiate the good will of all, but any intimacy beyond that of ordinary friendship was incomprehensible to me. For man or woman, as such, I felt an entire indifference.” Laurence clearly states his disinterest in intimate relationships with men or women, though it is less clear at this juncture whether he means sexual relationships, romantic relationships, or both, which opens up a space in the text for aromantic representation as well. In this internal dialogue, Laurence expresses a sentiment familiar to many individuals on the asexual spectrum: uncertainty and confusion regarding romantic and sexual relationships. This sentiment certainly rang familiar with me, and I immediately felt that I found some kind of kindred spirit within Laurence.
In addition to Laurence’s puzzlement surrounding relational intimacy, he expresses quite firmly that there is one type of intimacy he surely does not want from his relationships: physical intimacy. When discussing what he does look for in his relationships, Laurence says: “I sought sympathy from women, advice from men, but love from neither.” Again, Laurence could be referring to love in a sexual sense, as love and sex are frequently conflated, especially in nineteenth century texts, or he could be referring to romantic love. In either case, Laurence makes it clear that intimacy, other than the type shared between friends, is something he wants nothing to do with. While an aversion to touch or physical intimacy might just be a personal preference, there is certainly room for asexual potential here. Laurence’s aversion to intimacy likewise reflects a sentiment familiar to many people on the asexual or aromantic spectrum, allowing Laurence to serve as a figure of representation. Though certainly not every asexual or aromantic person is averse to physical touch or intimacy, it is a sentiment that many in these two communities can identify with.
As an asexual person, I have often felt like an outsider looking in while in large groups of people flirting or coupling off, while I remain the sole single person of the group. Laurence shares in this experience as well. He describes taking trips to secluded areas with his male and female friends and watching them pair off. Laurence indicates that these people coupling off were not mere friends; he says: “Of these [relationships], some were passionate, some sentimental, some transitory, some of lifelong duration, but all partaking of a feeling which was to me utterly incomprehensible.” Laurence’s raw admission of his incomprehension resonated with me. I have never understood sexual attraction; sexual attraction and the desire for sexual relationships always seemed like a massive inside joke the entire world was in on. This feeling is frustrating, alienating, and has defined my asexual experience. To find a character who is so open about these same struggles with sex and romance as me in a book from the nineteenth century was so empowering for me. If I have seen asexual people represented in media at all, it is within media that has come out in the last couple of years. While this recent media is certainly important, there is something powerful and validating about seeing yourself represented in a historical text, which is why the character of Laurence is so important to me.
Laurence learns to fake it a bit, however, as many of us on the ace spectrum are forced to do in order to feel like we fit in. A perfect gentleman, Laurence, with his fellow men, woo the girls in the village neighboring their college with chivalry and poetry, but, as he notes, “no passionate thought or wish was interwoven with either.” Laurence is going through the motions, trying to blend in, but he’s not feeling what he thinks he’s supposed to feel. He continues, saying, “The enthusiasm expressed in my verses was vague and abstract in its character, and though of warmer blood and more generous nature than most of my fellows, I yet in comparison with them seemed cold and statue-like.” Laurence is frequently likened to a statue throughout the text, which scholar Jane Van Slembrouck views as a positive metaphor for his intersex body. However, coldness and comparisons to statues are also often used to speak negatively about asexuality, which seems likely in this particular context. I have been called frigid or an ice queen by several people in a variety of contexts, especially troubling sentiments because I view myself as a warm and open person. Like Laurence, I too have been defined by attitudes towards sex and romance and been hurt by it.
Even though Laurence is trying to fit in by attempting to woo these women alongside his friends, he knows that there is something different about him, and he senses that the others can tell. His lamentation that the others perceive him as being cold when he thinks of himself as a warm and friendly person hurt in its relatability. I often feel that I wear my asexuality like a physical marker of difference because so much of human interaction seems to be built around sexual desire. It is like everyone else is speaking a language I don’t understand, and my attempts at translation are always a little off because I’m not a native speaker. It seems that Laurence and I, at least, speak the same language.
Because of Laurence’s indifference towards sex and romance, his friends’ girlfriends often seek him out for friendship, knowing he does not harbor any illicit intentions towards them. His friends, on the other hand, are wildly jealous of the attention that he gets from all of the ladies they are trying to court. Laurence remarks: “I can still recall the rage of a sentimental youth whose disdainful sweetheart, wearied, angry, or alarmed at the suit he was pressing, broke from him, and took refuge beside me, saying: I shall go to Laurence, for he never makes love.” This passage has an interesting double entendre for the contemporary reader as “making love” has become a euphemism for sexual intercourse, though it also indicates that Laurence is a nice reprieve because he does not flirt incessantly. As an asexual person, I have been put in a similar position many times. As a biromantic asexual woman, I often craved the romantic attentions from the men around me, but I seemed to always be just another one of the guys. I was often put in an awkward position, as other women would not want me hanging out with their boyfriends, even if we really were just hanging out. It was a sad middle place to inhabit a lot of the time, and it seems that Laurence is right in that same social space.
Laurence’s lack of attraction leads him to — sometimes violent — confrontations with his suitors. Men and women alike fall in love with Laurence, though he does not reciprocate the feeling. Throughout the text, Laurence has two important romantic or pseudo-romantic relationships; one is with an older widow named Emma, and one is with a young man named Ronald. The first confrontation occurs when Emma, who is passionately in love with Laurence, visits him in his room late at night. Laurence is horrified and confused by her presence, to which Emma responds: “I am here alone, in your room, in your power, at dead of night — you cannot misinterpret this.” Emma’s sentiment echoes the frustration and general lack of understanding the public has for people who do not experience sexual attraction. Sexual desire is seen as so ingrained in humanity that flirtation or sexual advances seem obvious to everyone — except for many asexual people. Of course, not everyone experiences their asexuality in the same way, but for me, flirtation, innuendos, and advances often go completely unnoticed, much to the annoyance of those making them. Like Laurence, I have been greeted with irritation when I have not seen the situation that is apparently right in front of me because the language of attraction is not in my vocabulary. Laurence’s entanglement with Emma is further complicated when he reveals to her that he is intersex; in true nineteenth-century fashion, this news is so shocking to her that she swoons and dies several days later.
Although Emma tried to seduce Laurence, her efforts at coercing Laurence into having sex were mild compared to the violence of Laurence’s next relationship with the young man Ronald. Ronald commits verbal and sexual acts of violence against Laurence because of Laurence’s gender and sexuality; Laurence, thin and sickly in his grief over Emma’s death, is initially saved from the elements by Ronald, who mistakes Laurence for a woman. Ronald persistently commits verbal acts of violence against Laurence by misgendering Laurence because of his own attraction for Laurence: “You shall be a man to the world, if you will, but a woman, a sweet, warm, living woman to me—you must love me, Laurence.” Ronald’s insistence that Laurence must love him is ironic because Laurence does indeed love him romantically — just not sexually. It is this sexual love that Ronald desires from Laurence, which is demonstrated in an earlier scene. After being repeatedly rebuffed, Ronald gives Laurence an ultimatum: “Do not write to me any more of your affection for me — if you love me, come to me, and prove it.” This ultimatum seems to hurt Laurence deeply, as he reflects, “I did love him — I would have proved it by the sacrifice of my life.” Laurence’s thought here is particularly compelling evidence of his lack of sexual desire and his decoupling of romantic and sexual attraction. Laurence loves this man so much that he would die for him — but nothing, not even love that he feels for Ronald, is enough to make Laurence want to have sex with him. Ronald’s sole desire for sex and physical affection is confirmed when Laurence goes to him, but shies away from Ronald’s touch. Immediately, Ronald’s whole demeanor changes, demonstrating that Ronald’s primary desire is for Laurence’s body rather than his romantic affections. Though Laurence has decoupled romantic and sexual attraction, Ronald has not, further complicating their already toxic relationship. The asexual decoupling of romantic and sexual attraction is difficult to explain to allosexual people, as many cannot or will not acknowledge that one type of attraction does not necessitate the other. This decoupling can be an ongoing struggle for relationships between asexual and allosexual people, as I have experienced firsthand.
Laurence unfortunately shares a final commonality with many asexual people: he is a survivor of sexual violence. Although I do not want to imply that all asexual people have experienced sexual violence, it is an unfortunate fact that many asexual people do suffer “corrective” rape in the attempt to “cure” asexuality, or some may experience sexual violence at the hands of individuals who feel they have been “led on” and “deserve” sexual gratification. In Laurence’s case, it seems to be the latter. Ronald comes to Laurence in a wild passion, saying, “throw off the narrow bondage of that vest — let your heart beat freely, let your bosom heave high, heave wildly, till the very remembrance of my sorrow be buried beneath its white waves.” When Laurence is too shocked and horrified to respond, Ronald continues: “you need not speak, silence gives consent.” Before Ronald can do anything, Laurence attempts to complete suicide with his pistols rather than have intercourse with Ronald; Ronald, however, had removed the bullets from Laurence’s guns, indicating that Ronald knew quite well that Laurence would rather die than have sex. It is at this moment that Ronald overpowers Laurence, to which Laurence says, “Ronald! — you will blush for this tomorrow, but I shall weep for it all my life.” What follows is a surprisingly graphic description of the violent act against Laurence. This scene is complex and messy and horrible to read, especially for survivors of sexual assault. Laurence would rather die than have sex with this man that he loves romantically, and Ronald repeatedly expresses his entitlement to Laurence’s body since they love each other. This scene is probably still familiar to asexual people who have not experienced sexual violence, since many of us still have to endure phrases like “you won’t know unless you try it” or be met with disbelief in the commitment of romantic relationships that do not have a sexual component. There are also many people, both inside and outside of the queer community, who do not believe asexual people are oppressed, and this scene demonstrates that asexual or ace-spectrum people have had a long history of violence perpetrated against them.
Reading Laurence through an asexual lens is important in reclaiming literary representations of asexuality throughout history, demonstrating that asexuality has long been a part of the history of human attraction and desire. Although asexuality has only been a part of scholarly conversations for the past decade or so, asexuality has of course existed for much longer, as scholars locate asexuality being historically associated with people with disabilities, American slavery, and certain character archetypes in literature and art. Many have also written about the body and desire in The Hermaphrodite, though few have considered the topics from an asexual perspectives and fewer still give asexuality in the text thoughtful consideration.
Howe gives the reader substantial textual evidence to demonstrate Laurence’s lack of sexual attraction and desire. First, Laurence explicitly states his disinterest in relationships other than friendships. Second, he makes it clear that he does not want physical intimacy from his relationships. Third, Laurence expresses confusion over the feelings that have all of his friends coupling off while he remains single. Fourth, Laurence learns to behave chivalrously and woo women in order to fit in, though he is adamant that there are no feelings behind these actions. Fifth, Laurence fears that others can sense there is something different about him and that they perceive him as being emotionally cold and distant. Sixth, Laurence’s indifference in sex and romance make him popular with his friends’ girlfriends because they feel safe with him. Sixth, Laurence does not understand or perceive when a potential lover is trying to seduce him. Seventh, Laurence has decoupled romantic love from sexual love, which causes immense strife with another potential lover, who cannot or will not understand this decoupling. Finally, Laurence is sexually violated by his romantic partner, who believes that romantic love entitles him to Laurence’s body. Thus, there are many ways that Howe has coded Laurence as asexual through the narrative and his character development.
It is significant to read Laurence with an asexual lens because it provides a more thorough understanding of Howe’s text, and it firmly positions asexuality within the historical record. My analysis of the text demonstrates that an asexual lens provides a full picture of the text, but it is even more important to reclaim Laurence as a figure within asexual literary history. Like Howe’s text, asexual history is fragmented and must be pieced together from what we are able to find. So many literary representations of asexuality are couched in stereotypes that Laurence resists. The Hermaphrodite is certainly not a perfect text, but it is an important step in recovering and reclaiming our asexual history.
. Although the novel is called The Hermaphrodite and the main character is referred to as being a hermaphrodite throughout the text, I have chosen to use the term “intersex” instead, as “hermaphrodite” is widely understood to be a slur.
. Gary Williams, introduction to The Hermaphrodite, by Julia Ward Howe (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), x.
. Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Random House, 1978), 43.
. Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski, introduction to Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives (Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014), 2.
. Eunjung Kim, “Asexualities and Disabilities in Constructing Sexual Normalcy,” in Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives, ed. Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski (Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014), 250.
. Ibid, 274.
. Ianna Hawkins Owen, “On the Racialization of Asexuality,” in Asexualities: Feminist and Queer Perspectives, ed. Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski (Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014), 126.
. Anthony Bogaert, “Asexuality: What It Is and Why It Matters,” Journal of Sex Research 52, no. 4 (2015): 363.
. Anthony Bogaert, Understanding Asexuality, (Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012), 34.
. Marianne Noble, “From Self-Erasure to Self-Possession: The Development of Julia Ward Howe’s Feminist Consciousness,” in Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, ed. Renée Bergland and Gary Williams (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012), 58.
. Gary Williams, “ ‘The Cruelest Enemy of Beauty’: Sand’s Gabriel, Howe’s Laurence,” in Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, ed. Renée Bergland and Gary Williams (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012), 131.
. Bethany Schneider, “The Consummate Hermaphrodite,” in Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, ed. Renée Bergland and Gary Williams (Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012), 152.
. Suzanne Ashworth, “ ‘No Man, No Woman, Nothing’: Desire and Subjectivity in Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite,” Literature Interpretation Theory 23, no. 1 (2012): 31-2.
. Julia Ward Howe, The Hermaphrodite, ed. Gary Williams (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), 22.
. Ibid, 4-5.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 5.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 5.
. Jane Van Slembrouck, “Envisioning Physical Difference in The Hermaphrodite,” Philology 114, no. 3 (2017): 733.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 6.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 18.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 86.
. Ibid, 77.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 77.
. Ibid, 86.
. Ibid, 87.
. Howe, The Hermaphrodite, 87.
Ashworth, Suzanne. “ ‘No Man, No Woman, Nothing’: Desire and Subjectivity in Julia Ward Howe’s The Hermaphrodite.” Literature Interpretation Theory 23, no. 1 (2012): 26-51.
Bogaert, Anthony. “Asexuality: What It Is and Why It Matters.” Journal of Sex Research 52, no. 4 (2015): 362-79.
---. Understanding Asexuality. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, 2012.
Foucault, Michel. The History of Sexuality Volume 1: An Introduction. Translated by Robert Hurley. New York: Random House, 1978.
Howe, Julia Ward. The Hermaphrodite, edited by Gary Williams. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
Kim, Eunjung. “Asexualities and Disabilities in Constructing Sexual Normalcy.” In Asexualities: Queer and Feminist Perspectives, edited by Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski, 249-82. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014.
Noble, Marianne. “From Self-Erasure to Self-Possession: The Development of Julia Ward Howe’s Feminist Consciousness.” In Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, edited by Renée Bergland and Gary Williams, 47-71. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012.
Milks, Megan, and Karli June Cerankowski. Introduction to Asexualities: Queer and Feminist Perspectives, 1-14. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014.
“Overview.” The Asexuality Education and Visibility Network. Accessed August 23, 2018. www.asexuality.org/?q=overview.html.
Owen, Ianna Hawkins. “On the Racialization of Asexuality.” In Asexualities: Queer and Feminist Perspectives, edited by Megan Milks and Karli June Cerankowski, 119-35. Abingdon: Taylor and Francis, 2014.
Schneider, Bethany. “The Consummate Hermaphrodite.” In Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, edited by Renée Bergland and Gary Williams, 138-56. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012.
Van Slembrouck, Jane. “Envisioning Physical Difference in The Hermaphrodite.” Philology 114, no. 3 (2017): 726-46.
Williams, Gary. Introduction to The Hermaphrodite, by Julia Ward Howe, ix-xliv. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.
---. “ ‘The Cruelest Enemy of Beauty’: Sand’s Gabriel, Howe’s Laurence.” In Philosophies of Sex: Critical Essays on The Hermaphrodite, edited by Renée Bergland and Gary Williams, 120-37. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2012.