Born in England of an English mother and Welsh father, Morris was educated at Lancing College, West Sussex, and Christ Church, Oxford, but now considers herself Welsh. She is a transsexual woman and was published under her birth name until her 1972 sex change.
Morris served in World War II in the 9th Queen's Royal Lancers, and later wrote for The Times. As a correspondent for The Times, Morris scored a notable scoop in 1953 when accompanying the British expedition which was first to scale Mount Everest. Morris reported the success of Hillary and Tenzing in a coded message to the newspaper, "Snow conditions bad stop advanced base abandoned yesterday stop awaiting improvement", and by happy coincidence the news was released on the morning of Queen Elizabeth's coronation.
Reporting from Cyprus on the Suez Crisis for The Manchester Guardian in 1956, Morris produced the first "irrefutable proof" of collusion between France and Israel in the invasion of Egyptian territory, interviewing French Air Force pilots who confirmed that they had been in action in support of Israeli forces.
Jan Morris and her son, Twm Morys
In 1949, Jan Morris married Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a tea planter; they had five children together, including the poet and musician Twm Morys. Male at birth, Morris began medical transition in 1964. In 1972, Morris traveled to Morocco to undergo sex reassignment surgery, because doctors in Britain refused to allow the procedure unless Morris and Tuckniss divorced, something Morris was not prepared to do at the time. They divorced later, but remained together and on 14 May 2008 were legally reunited when they formally entered into a civil partnership.
As a soldier, Morris was posted in the Free Territory of Trieste in 1945 during the joint Anglo-American occupation.
In 1949, Morris married Elizabeth Tuckniss, the daughter of a tea planter; they had five children together, including the poet and musician Twm Morys. One of their children died in infancy.
Male at birth, Morris began medical transition in 1964. In 1972, Morris traveled to Morocco to undergo sex reassignment surgery, performed by surgeon Georges Burou, because doctors in Britain refused to allow the procedure unless Morris and Tuckniss divorced, something Morris was not prepared to do at the time. They divorced later, but remained together and on 14 May 2008 were legally reunited when they formally entered into a civil partnership. Morris lives mostly in Wales, the land of her father.
Morris has received honorary doctorates from the University of Wales and the University of Glamorgan, is an honorary fellow of Christ Church Oxford and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She received the Glyndŵr Award in 1996.
She accepted her CBE in the 1999 Queen's Birthday Honours "out of polite respect", but is a Welsh nationalist republican at heart. In January 2008 The Times named her the 15th greatest British writer since the War.
The World: Travels 1950-2000 by Jan Morris
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (November 2003)
Amazon: The World: Travels 1950-2000
THE WORLD is a magnum opus by the finest travel writer in the world. Ranging from Manhattan to Venice, Oxford to the Middle East, and Paris to South Africa, the book provides Jan Morris's eyewitness accounts of such seminal moments as the first successful ascent of Everest, the historic Eichmann trial, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the handover of Hong Kong. Dividing the volume into five decades, Morris presents history with an unparalleled dramatic flair, creating a riveting portrait of the twentieth century, from the political idealism of the postwar years to its more recent tensions and excesses. As much a celebratory book as a swan song that puts Morris's extraordinary career in a unique historical perspective, The World promises to create an entirely new generation of Jan Morris readers.
Conundrum (New York Review Books Classics) by Jan Morris
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: NYRB Classics (May 16, 2006)
The great travel writer Jan Morris was born James Morris. James Morris distinguished himself in the British military, became a successful and physically daring reporter, climbed mountains, crossed deserts, and established a reputation as a historian of the British empire. He was happily married, with several children. To all appearances, he was not only a man, but a man’s man.
Except that appearances, as James Morris had known from early childhood, can be deeply misleading. James Morris had known all his conscious life that at heart he was a woman.
Conundrum, one of the earliest books to discuss transsexuality with honesty and without prurience, tells the story of James Morris’s hidden life and how he decided to bring it into the open, as he resolved first on a hormone treatment and, second, on risky experimental surgery that would turn him into the woman that he truly was.
Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality by Gayle Salamon
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Columbia University Press (March 30, 2010)
Amazon: Assuming a Body: Transgender and Rhetorics of Materiality
We believe we know our bodies intimately—that their material reality is certain and that this certainty leads to an epistemological truth about sex, gender, and identity. By exploring and giving equal weight to transgendered subjectivities, however, Gayle Salamon upends these certainties. Considering questions of transgendered embodiment via phenomenology (Maurice Merleau-Ponty), psychoanalysis (Sigmund Freud and Paul Ferdinand Schilder), and queer theory, Salamon advances an alternative theory of normative and non-normative gender, proving the value and vitality of trans experience for thinking about embodiment.
Salamon suggests that the difference between transgendered and normatively gendered bodies is not, in the end, material. Rather, she argues that the production of gender itself relies on a disjunction between the "felt sense" of the body and an understanding of the body's corporeal contours, and that this process need not be viewed as pathological in nature. Examining the relationship between material and phantasmatic accounts of bodily being, Salamon emphasizes the productive tensions that make the body both present and absent in our consciousness and work to confirm and unsettle gendered certainties. She questions traditional theories that explain how the body comes to be—and comes to be made one's own—and she offers a new framework for thinking about what "counts" as a body. The result is a groundbreaking investigation into the phenomenological life of gender.
More Real Life Romances at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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