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Pope Joan

Legend of a 9th century woman who cross-dressed to take up a (male) religious profession and eventually became pope but was discovered when she gave birth. The legend has some similarities to the “transvestite saint” genre.

LHMP entry

(blogged by Heather Rose Jones)

Krimmer’s primary focus is on the motif of cross-dressing women in 18th century German literature (novels, plays, etc.), but as part of the background, she reviews a great many historic cases. The issues of theory that are covered in these opening parts of Krimmer’s work, with the complexities of gender theory and clothing as signifiers of all manner of social classifications, are thoroughly covered in the analysis of chapters 2-5. The present summary is simply a rough catalog of the examples she cites.

This review will necessarily be somewhat cursory, as the entire book is relevant to the LHMP project. In general, I will summarize data not covered in detail elsewhere, and include references to the rest.

This article looks at gender-status issues in the context of medieval crossdressing motifs (both literary and historical). It begins with a consideration of crossdressing as psychopathology with an essentialist approach (keep in mind this was written in 1974!) then shifts to looking at the role of culture in reactions to crossdressing, especially differences between the reactions to crossdressing men and women.

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