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16th century English play that may be a direct source for Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, in which a woman disguises herself as a man to distract the affections of her (male) lover’s new love interest.

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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