Tag: historical sources

The Allure of the Castrato

Lisa Smith The typical Valentine’s Day menu highlights aphrodisiac foods, suggesting that it is a day to celebrate lust as much as love. To this end, I offer you an introduction to one of the sex symbols of the eighteenth century: the castrato. Eighteenth-century Europeans had known about eunuchs for […]

Hyperbole and horror: hijras and the British imperial state in India

Onni Gust Nineteenth-century British travel writers and colonial officials rarely passed on the opportunity to prefix some derogatory hyperbole to the word ‘eunuch.’  Frequently they offered extensive defamation, referring to eunuchs as “the vilest and most polluted beings” and commenting on the “revolting” practices that they imagined, but could rarely […]