Ein Mensch Wechselt sein Geschlecht. Eine Lebensbeichte. Aus Hinterlassenen Papieren Herausgegeben von Niels Hoyer. Lili Elbe, Lili Ilse Elvenes.

Ein Mensch Wechselt sein Geschlecht. Eine Lebensbeichte. Aus Hinterlassenen Papieren Herausgegeben von Niels Hoyer.

Dresden: Carl Reissner Verlag, 1932. First German edition. 271 pp. Blue cloth, with the dust jacket. Some slight rubbing to the head and tail of the spine, jacket is slightly chipped at the head of the spine, otherwise in remarkably nice condition.

Lili Elbe (1882-1931), born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, was one of the first people to receive gender reassignment surgery, undergoing a series of highly experimental procedures in 1930. Her autobiographical work, initially published in 1931 in Danish as Fra Mand til Kvinde [From Man into Woman], is the first full-length narrative of a subject who undergoes a surgical change in sex. The Lili Elbe Digital Archive, a companion to Man into Woman: A Comparative Scholarly Edition (Bloomsbury 2020), has invaluable information regarding the publication history of the book:

At the time of her death, Lili Elbe was living in Copenhagen and working on the narrative with her German friend (as he is called in the narrative) Ernst Harthern, who eventually published the work as Lili’s “confessions” under the pseudonym Niels Hoyer. Technically the Danish first edition is a collaboration of six individuals and a publishing house: Lili Elvenes and Gerda Wegener; Poul Knudsen, their friend, who supplied the records they kept; the journalist Loulou Lassen, who assembled the records; Ernst Harthern, who turned the records into the German typescript; Kurt Warnekros, who proofed the typescript; and Hage & Clausens Forlag, the firm that published and edited the typescript, translated into Danish.

Fra Mand til Kvinde was published in Copenhagen in 1931, nine months after the public disclosure of Lili’s identity in an article in the Danish magazine Sandheden, and three months after her death. The German edition, entitled Ein Mensch wechselt sein Geschlecht [A Person Changes Sex], was published in 1932. In 1933 two English-language translations of the German edition (published nearly simultaneously in Britain and the US) restored the Danish title: Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex. Niels Hoyer is listed as the editor of Man into Woman in the German and English-language editions. Lili Elbe is credited as the author in the German edition only. The first Danish edition indicates neither author nor editor.

Fra Mand til Kvinde: Lili Elbes Bekendelser was translated from the German typescript and published by Hage & Clausens Forlag in Copenhagen in 1931. Ein Mensch wechselt sein Geschlecht: Eine Lebensbeichte is a different editing of the typescript from the Danish. This edition has “Lili Elbe” above the title where the author’s name would normally appear and “Aus Hinterlassenen Papieren Herausgegeben von Niels Hoyer” beneath the title.

Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex was translated from the German edition and published in two variant editions in London (Jarrolds) and New York (E.P. Dutton) in 1933. The English-language editions include an introduction by British sexologist Norman Haire. The texts are identical but the illustrations and their captions differ.

All of these four editions are quite scarce, particularly the German and Danish editions. OCLC locates only four copies in America: LACMA, Brown, National Library of Medicine, and New York Academy of Medicine. A rare book, and the jacket is extremely rare. Item #1945

Price: $4,500.00

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