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James IV (Robert Greene)

16th century English play in which a cross-dressing female knight is wounded and the woman who nurses her falls in love with her with flirtatious encouragement.

LHMP entry

There are as many as 80 early modern dramatic works that feature cross-dressed heroines, with overt motivations ranging from following a (male) lover, avoiding rape, scandal, or death, traveling freely, or as a deliberate expression of gender non-conformity. In roughly 30 of these plays (written between 1580 and 1660), the cross-dressing also precipitates female homoerotic desire in some fashion. This raises the question of how and why this motif was employed.

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