By a whim of his mother Francois Timoleon, de Choisy, better known as the Abbe de Choisy, was dressed as a girl until the age of eighteen. After a short spell in male attire he became, by all accounts (including this one), the classic transvestite, a male heterosexual who never attempted to disguise his biological sex while going about in public in full female attire. Choisy's fascination with feminine accountrements made him something of an expert on women's fashions and prominent society women even brought their daughters to him for advice. His increasingly extravagant toilettes and exhibitionist behaviour eventually earned a public rebuke and exile from Paris.His privileged existence was further undermined by gambling debts and he was forced to live on a modest benefice as the abbot of Saint Seine in Burgundy. Choisy continued to delight in extravagantly feminine attire and in the seduction of young women, who were obliged to dress as boys for his delection. A serious illness precipitated a suddent and rather frivolous conversion to religion and he was later ordained a priest.
The "Transvestite Memoirs" recounts the scandalous and entertaining escapades for which Choisy is today best known in a light, intimate and accessible style. These authentic memoirs provide a first hand account of manners and morals in late seventeenth century society as well as remarkably exact portraits of his contemporaries. They constitute a remarkable document in the history of transvestism.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The Abbe de Choisy is a most fantastic and fascinating case; his erotic masquerade the stuff of adult fairytales.' - Marina Warner'A gifted writer...How much more complex we have made gender confusion now - for at least de Choisy was unashamed and straightforward.' - Simon Blow, Spectator