Butch Heroes: Reinscribing The Narrative From The 15th To The 20th Century by Ria BrodellButch Heroes: Reinscribing The Narrative From The 15th To The 20th Century by Ria Brodell

Butch Heroes: Reinscribing The Narrative From The 15th To The 20th Century

byRia Brodell

Hardcover | October 30, 2018

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Portraits and texts recover lost queer history: the lives of people who didn't conform to gender norms, from the fifteenth through the twentieth centuries.

"A serious-and seriously successful-queer history recovery project."
-Publishers Weekly

Katherina Hetzeldorfer, tried "for a crime that didn't have a name" (same sex sexual relations) and sentenced to death by drowning in 1477; Charles aka Mary Hamilton, publicly whipped for impersonating a man in eighteenth-century England; Clara, aka "Big Ben," over whom two jealous women fought in 1926 New York: these are just three of the lives that the artist Ria Brodell has reclaimed for queer history in Butch Heroes. Brodell offers a series of twenty-eight portraits of forgotten but heroic figures, each accompanied by a brief biographical note. They are individuals who were assigned female at birth but whose gender presentation was more masculine than feminine, who did not want to enter into heterosexual marriage, and who often faced dire punishment for being themselves.

Brodell's detailed and witty paintings are modeled on Catholic holy cards, slyly subverting a religious template. The portraits and the texts offer intriguing hints of lost lives: cats lounge in the background of domestic settings; one of the figures is said to have been employed variously as "a prophet, a soldier, or a textile worker"; another casually holds a lit cigarette. Brodell did extensive research for each portrait, piecing together a life from historical accounts, maps, journals, paintings, drawings, and photographs, finding the heroic in the forgotten.

Title:Butch Heroes: Reinscribing The Narrative From The 15th To The 20th CenturyFormat:HardcoverDimensions:96 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.5 inPublished:October 30, 2018Publisher:The MIT PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0262038978

ISBN - 13:9780262038973

Reviews

Editorial Reviews

These stories reveal the lives of gender non-conforming individuals from many eras in history who stayed true to themselves despite living under the narrowly defined rules and roles governing gender in their particular culture.

-The Gay & Lesbian Review