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Sword in hand: the cross-dressed, fighting woman as a symbol of equality in the plays of Aphra Behn

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dc.contributor.author Dee, Carol
dc.date.accessioned 2011-09-19T23:07:04Z
dc.date.accessioned 2022-10-30T22:44:51Z
dc.date.available 2011-09-19T23:07:04Z
dc.date.available 2022-10-30T22:44:51Z
dc.date.copyright 2003
dc.date.issued 2003
dc.identifier.uri https://ir.wgtn.ac.nz/handle/123456789/26396
dc.description.abstract This thesis aims to demonstrate the distinctiveness of Aphra Behn's theatre, through an examination of her depictions of cross-dressed women who wield a sword. Behn made extensive use of cross-dressing; indeed, in almost almost half of her plays a female character dons male costume. Other Restoration writers also created such roles, though not to the same extent as did Behn. The usual explanation for the widespread popularity of cross-dressing is that the women's legs were a source of titillation for the men in the audience, the opportunity for a display of female legs and sexy roguishness Jessica Munns, "Change, skepticism, and uncertainty", in The Cambridge Companion to English Restoration Theatre, (ed.) Deborah Payne Fisk, Cambridge, 2000, p. 145. This salaciousness may perhaps have been exaggerated as John Crowne wrote Calisto specifically for the ladies of the court and included two cross-dressed roles. See David Roberts, The Ladies: Female Patronage of Restoration Drama, Oxford, 1989, p. 109. This may have been a factor, especially when considering those productions mounted with an entirely female cast for no better reason that to improve the box office take, but there seems to have also been an enjoyment of the parodying of male behaviour that such depictions entailed. Certainly Pepys was full of admiration for Nell Gwyn's performance in Dryden's Secret Love, as he wrote March 2nd 1666. "Nell ... hath the motions and carriage of a spark the most that ever I saw any man have. It makes me, I confess, admire her." The Diary of Samuel Pepys (eds.) Robert Latham and William Matthews, London, 1974, Vol. VIII, p. 91. en_NZ
dc.format pdf en_NZ
dc.language en_NZ
dc.language.iso en_NZ
dc.publisher Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
dc.title Sword in hand: the cross-dressed, fighting woman as a symbol of equality in the plays of Aphra Behn en_NZ
dc.type Text en_NZ
vuwschema.type.vuw Awarded Research Masters Thesis en_NZ
thesis.degree.grantor Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington en_NZ
thesis.degree.level Masters en_NZ

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