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Journal > Volumes > 36 (2005) / 4 (Winter)
Concerning Sex Changes: The Cultural Significance of a Renaissance Medical Polemic
Donald Beecher
Carleton University, Ottawa

This article examines the medical literature of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries concerning the sexual transmutation of females into males. One explanation for the phenomenon, the so-called one-sex model attributed to Aristotle, does not figure prominently in the writings of the early physicians after 1575. That such a transformation was even possible was entirely discounted by 1600. By implication, those studies of Renaissance culture and thereafter, particularly pertaining to the presumed anxiety associated with cross-dressing, are now due for reexamination to the extent that sex change case studies were employed as the basis of that anxiety concerning sexual plasticity and uncertainty.

Pages: 991 - 1 016