Loyola University Chicago

Women's Studies and Gender Studies

Lili Elbe Digital Archive


Lili Elbe picture

In 1930 Danish artist Einar Wegener underwent a series of surgeries to become Lili Elvenes (more commonly known as Lili Elbe). Her life story, Fra Mand til Kvinde (Man into Woman), published in Copenhagen in 1931, is the first full-length narrative of a subject who undergoes a surgical change in sex.

Produced collaboratively by multiple agents, Fra Mand til Kvinde was re-edited and published in German in 1932 (Ein Mensch wechselt sein Geschlecht), with English-language translations in Britain and the U.S. in 1933 (Man into Woman: An Authentic Record of a Change of Sex). This digital archive will provide searchable versions of all four editions (Danish, German, British and American) as well as the German typescript and the first English language translation of the Danish edition. Comparing the German typescript and the four versions published in three languages between 1931 and 1933 discloses how a narrative of transgender was shaped by cultural values, linguistic choices, and editorial decisions. 

This comparative scholarly edition will make this historically important work widely available to historians and literary scholars of the early 21st century, to historians and scholars of transgender, and to the general public. The print edition will be published by Bloomsbury Academic (London) with the accompanying digital archive hosted by Loyola University Chicago’s Libraries and supported by the Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. 

A screenshot of the homepage of lilielbe.org

Project Director(s):  Pamela L. Caughie, Sabine Meyer, and Nikolaus Wasmoen, editors

Website: http://www.lilielbe.org/

Field(s): Digital Archive