Like Exile

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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.


Lyz's writing has been published in the New York Times Motherlode, Jezebel, Aeon, Pacific Standard, and others. Her book on midwestern churches is forthcoming from Indiana University Press. She has her MFA from Lesley and skulks about on Twitter @lyzl. Lyz is a member of The Rumpus Advisory Board and a full-time staff writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. More from this author →