Stuck at home with numerous young children, with a husband who had little interest in her work and actively discouraged her intellectual pursuits, Howe rebelled in small ways. In the late 1840s, Howe secretly began to write a novel. She described the book as a “history of a strange creature,” and it tells the story of a Laurence, a scholar who lived as both man and woman. The book, which was published posthumously as The Hermaphrodite in 2004, is strikingly modern and daring.
A new biography uncovers the fascinating life of Julia Ward Howe.