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Jan Morris and her Memoirs “Conundrum” Essay

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Updated: Dec 10th, 2021

The incredible physical transformations of the famous British writer and historian are the embodiment of body art. In her memoir, Conundrum, Jan Morris mentions that the body she lived before did not suit her inner perception and outlook thus disharmonizing the balance that existed between the body and soul. Therefore, the body she created herself could be considered as a piece of art and as the embodiment of Morris’s perception of the world.

Morris sacrificed many precious things in her life to reveal her femininity from a male body and to become a woman indeed. For the writer, the notion of femininity meant more than being a woman; she intended to make abstract meaning of female essence – the maternity, delicacy. The writer elevates this notion to the notion of divinity and angels, where the girlishness is the embodiment of religious and spirituous purity. Hence, theological aspect explains why a person with a male body decides to reveal female features. In other words, Morris intended to relieve her purity and to express her veritable physical and moral appearance in balance. Here the notion the art and beauty requiring sacrifice can be fully identified with the changes undergone by a great writer and woman.

Jan Morris’s transformation proves that human sexuality is more than appearance and physiology but also a reminder of her inner perceptions. Morris’s descriptions of transsexualism manifest a tangible difference between transvestism and homosexuality thus reminding us that human sexuality has more diverse components. Therefore, the purpose of those changes was to reach the insight and outsight identity of being a female, which could be identified with the purpose of art – to create the identity between the material and abstract world. For the writer, the concept of femininity means the expression of the ethical category; it is something elevated and sophisticated that so that it is always hard to tune up the strings of her soul. In other words, human body is a complex instrument that requires a cautious attitude and care.

Morris’s memoirs Conundrum reveals a slight barrier between the role of gender and its influence on the philosophical perception of the world. Morris demise the physical origin of gender thus referring to it as something abstract means of self-expression. The book is an explicit and honest discussion of transsexuality without any hint on prurience and dissipation. Such a way of narration even more identifies this reincarnation with art whose main purpose is to display the beauty of the soul through the material transformation. As it can be viewed, Morris proved that her veritable state is being a female.

The book itself is the manifestation of power of will and bravery. This is a difficult path where Morris had to overcome the boundaries of sex and hardships of personality shaping. The poetic story of transformation is presented as the main dilemma of human nature; it is also the manifestation of mind within the body that denies all the attempts to reveal your desire to create. The path chosen by Morris constitutes her vigorous desire to harmonize her dualistic nature and unite it into the unity of mind and soul. Conundrum is therefore a poetic and artistic reflection that inspires others to fight for the right to self-determination and self-expression, as the book is not only devoted to the issue of gender; it is also the search for your individuality.

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