Malcolm McKesson [Edit]

Malcolm McKesson (1909 – 1999) was an American outsider artist known for his ballpoint pen drawings and his erotic fiction. He was the husband of poet Madeline Mason-Manheim.


McKesson’s writing explores themes of gender identity, transvestism, and sado-masochism (meaning sadism and masochism), all of which are developed in his semi-autobiographical erotica novella, Matriarchy: Freedom in Bondage (1997), which is his magnum opus. This book follows the sexual transformation of Harvard undergraduate Gerald Graham, who willingly subjects himself to the authority of the stern Lady Gladys. She teaches him to “curb his manly nature” by forcing him to take on the role and costume of a lady’s maid named Rose. The house is a matriarchy because, as Lady Gladys explains, “in this house all things feminine are blessed, all things masculine are bound in slavery” (p. 46 of the book). Much of Gerald’s training involves elaborate sexual bondage devices. The narrative voice shifts from first person into third person as Gerald subjects himself more and more to Gladys’s authority.

Matriarchy is illustrated by hundreds of detailed ballpoint drawings of vaguely-defined figures, modeled by voluptuous and androgynous masses, and taking place in dim lighting.