The Gender Fluid Spy of the Enlightenment

The celebrated Chevalier d’Éon was an aristocrat, soldier, diplomat, writer, and spy

It was the spring of 1810. Ordinarily, the death in London of an 81-year-old French émigré of aristocratic birth who’d long been living in genteel poverty would arouse little attention. The city was flooded with aristocrats during the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. Some of them never left.

But as the body of the deceased, known as the Chevalier d’Éon, was being prepared for burial, medical…



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