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Biography Classics Drama Journal/Diary Nonfiction

Man Into Woman (English language edition)

By Lili Elbe (Edited by Niels Hoyer), 1931

This riveting account of the transformation of the Danish painter Einar Wegener into Lili Elbe is a remarkable journey from man to woman. Einar Wegener was a leading artist in late 1920’s Paris. One day his wife Grete asked him to dress as a woman to model for a portrait. It was a shattering event which began a struggle between his public male persona and emergent female self, Lili. Einar was forced into living a double life; enjoying a secret hedonist life as Lili, with Grete and a few trusted friends, whilst suffering in public as Einar, driven to despair and almost to suicide. Doctors, unable to understand his condition, dismissed him as hysterical. Lili eventually forced Einar to face the truth of his being – he was, in fact, a woman. This bizarre situation took an extraordinary turn when it was discovered that his body contained primitive female sex organs. There followed a series of dangerous experimental operations and a confrontation with the conventions of the age until Lili was eventually liberated from Einar – a freedom that carried the ultimate price. Now with additional text removed from the original English language release, this new edition of Man into Woman is a story of a marriage and of love and romance compiled from Lili’s own letters and manuscripts, and those of the people who adored her.

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