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Monsieur d'Eon Is a Woman

A Tale of Political Intrigue and Sexual Masquerade

Gary Kates
with a new preface by the author

Publication Date
Binding Type

"A fascinating book. Monsieur d'Eon Is a Woman is instructive and a delight to read all at the same time."—Quentin Crisp

Born in 1728, French aristocrat Charles d'Eon de Beaumont had served his country as a diplomat, soldier, and spy for fifteen years when rumors that he was a woman began to circulate in the courts of Europe. D'Eon denied nothing and was finally compelled by Louis XVI to give up male attire and live as a woman, something d'Eon did without complaint for the next three decades. Although celebrated as one of the century's most remarkable women, d'Eon was revealed, after his death...

"A fascinating book. Monsieur d'Eon Is a Woman is instructive and a delight to read all at the same time."—Quentin Crisp

Born in 1728, French aristocrat Charles d'Eon de Beaumont had served his country as a diplomat, soldier, and spy for fifteen years when rumors that he was a woman began to circulate in the courts of Europe. D'Eon denied nothing and was finally compelled by Louis XVI to give up male attire and live as a woman, something d'Eon did without complaint for the next three decades. Although celebrated as one of the century's most remarkable women, d'Eon was revealed, after his death in 1810, to have been unambiguously male. Gary Kates's acclaimed biography of d'Eon recreates eighteenth-century European society in brilliant detail and offers a compelling portrait of an individual who challenged its conventions about gender and identity.

Reviews

Reviews

With great verve, lucidity and admirable restraint, Gary Kates guides us through the setbacks and switchbacks of the Chevalier's odd history.

D'Eon's story comes alive in Kates' capable hands, allowing us to lose ourselves in this 18th-century gender-bender.

A terrific tale, told with suspense and style and interpreted with wisdom and restraint.

Why did d'Eon, at the age of forty-nine, let it be known that he was a woman after having cut quite a figure as a diplomat and a soldier? That is the question Gary Kates sets himself in the latest biography [of d'Eon]. It is also the best, not at all an exercise in petite histoire but a book built around questions of gender and narrated in a lively manner, which makes those questions seem anything but academic.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
400
ISBN
9780801867316
Illustration Description
44 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

Prologue: The Discovery
Introduction
Part I: A French Chevaliere
Chapter 1: Maiden Voyage
Chapter 2: Foreign Minister Vergennes
Chapter 3: Tonnerre
Chapter 4: D'Eon's Patrons
Chapter 5: Rose Bertin
Chapter 6

Prologue: The Discovery
Introduction
Part I: A French Chevaliere
Chapter 1: Maiden Voyage
Chapter 2: Foreign Minister Vergennes
Chapter 3: Tonnerre
Chapter 4: D'Eon's Patrons
Chapter 5: Rose Bertin
Chapter 6: Marie-Antoinette
Chapter 7: Franklin and Voltaire
Chapter 8: Public Perceptions
Chapter 9: D'Eon on d'Eon
Chapter 10: The Hopes of a Good Portrait
Part II: The Rise and Fall of a Statesman
Chapter 11: Louis XV's Diplomacy
Chapter 12: The King's Secret
Chapter 13: Conti and Russia
Chapter 14: The Russian Myth Reexamined
Chapter 15: Diplomacy in Russia
Chapter 16: Dragoon Captain
Chapter 17: Making Peace
Chapter 18: The Secret in England
Chapter 19: Reversal of Fortune
Chapter 20: Recalled
Chapter 21: D'Eon to Louis XV and Broglie
Chapter 22: Broglie to Louis XV
Chapter 23: Scapegoat
Chapter 24: The "Lettres, memoires, et negociations"
Chapter 25: Libel
Chapter 26: Indictment
Chapter 27: Royal Decree of 1 April 1766Part III: Inside d'Eon's Library
Chapter 28: D'Eon to Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Chapter 29: Rousseau's Disciple
Chapter 30: D'Eon's Library
Chapter 31: Pompadour and La Pucelle
Chapter 32: Contra Rousseau
Part IV: The Transformation
Chapter 33: Contexts
Chapter 34: Rumors
Chapter 35: Drouet's Visit
Chapter 36: Macauley, d'Espinay, and the "Femme Savante"
Chapter 37: Hannah Snell and the Amazons
Chapter 38: Morande
Chapter 39: Louis XVI
Chapter 40: The Letter to Poissonier
Chapter 41: The Transaction
Chapter 42: Beaumarchais Bets
Chapter 43: Beaumarchais "To Mlle Genev. L. Deon de Beaumont"
Chapter 44: D'Eon to Beaumarchais
Chapter 45: D'Eon Sues Morande
Chapter 46: Lord Mansfield's Court
Part V: D'Eon's Christian Feminism
Chapter 47: Considering Convents
Chapter 48: Reborn Again
Chapter 49: Return to England
Chapter 50: Gendered Theology
Chapter 51: Christian Feminist
Notes
Bibliography of Works By and About d'Eon

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Gary Kates

Gary Kates is dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs at Pomona College. He is co-editor and translator, with Roland A. Champagne and Nina Ekstein, of The Maiden of Tonnerre: The Vicissitudes of the Chevalier and the Chevalière d'Eon, also available from Johns Hopkins.