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Women on top

David Underdown, 14 September 1989

The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe 
by Rudolf Dekker and Lotte vande Pol.
Macmillan, 128 pp., £27.50, February 1989, 0 333 41252 4
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... By combing through a selection of Dutch archives of the 17th and 18th centuries, Dekker and van dePol have unearthed 119 cases of women who tried to pass themselves off as men for periods of time ranging from a few days to upwards of a dozen years. They do not pretend that their search has been exhaustive, and ...

A Vast Masquerade

Deborah Cohen: Dr James Barry, 2 March 2017

Dr James Barry: A Woman ahead of Her Time 
by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield.
Oneworld, 479 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 78074 831 3
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... Uncle James: a doctor called Edward Fryer, and the Venezuelan revolutionary General Don Francisco de Miranda, who as a veteran of the American and French revolutions, as well as the Spanish-American wars of independence, certainly possessed the derring-do to hatch such a plot. They speculate that the original plan was for her to disguise herself only during ...


Marina Warner: Baba Yaga, 27 August 2009

Baba Yaga Laid an Egg 
by Dubravka Ugrešić, translated by Ellen Elias Bursác, Celia Hawkesworth and Mark Thompson.
Canongate, 327 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84767 066 3
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... the time were usually middling-young women who had left the game themselves as soon as they could. Lotte vande Pol discovered this surprising piece of demographic history while examining court records for her 1996 study of prostitution in Amsterdam (the city’s court records are the fullest in the world on this ...

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