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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 van de Pol.
Macmillan, 128 pp., £27.50, February 1989, 0 333 41252 4
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... the way otherwise obscure people perceived and constructed, and sometimes even tried to change, their sexual identity. By combing through a selection of Dutch archives of the 17th and 18th centuries, Dekker and van de Pol 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 ...

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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... and steeliness Bulkley demonstrated in her long impersonation, it’s equally plausible that the idea of disguising herself as a man was her own and that it was her decision to join the army. As RudolfDekker and Lotte van de Pol demonstrated in The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe (1989), women like her could call on precedents recounted in books such as The Female Soldier ...
18 August 1994
Essays, Mainly Shakespearean 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 386 pp., £40, March 1994, 0 521 40444 4
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English Comedy 
edited by Michael Cordner, Peter Holland and John Kerrigan.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 521 41917 4
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... wrote as if they were middle-aged – to the magnificent ‘Wrying a Little’, on Cymbeline, Jacobean marriage law and female desire, are nourishing to the spirit. Livy, Machiavelli, Ford, Dekker, Heywood and Jonson all figure in the book, but the main recurring subject is Shakespeare. It is, moreover, good to see the publication of this book marked by an accompanying Festschrift – a volume ...

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