AUC Philologica (Acta Universitatis Carolinae Philologica) je akademický časopis publikující jak lingvistické, tak literárně historické a teoretické studie. Nedílnou součástí časopisu jsou i recenze odborných knih a zprávy z akademického prostředí.

Časopis je indexován v databázích CEEOL, DOAJ, EBSCO a ERIH PLUS.

AUC PHILOLOGICA, Vol 2022 No 2 (2022), 39–49

“I Never Lik’d Thee Half So Well In Petticoats”: The Disguise Of Gender In Restoration Drama

Soňa Nováková

zveřejněno: 16. 03. 2023


The arrival of actresses during the Restoration greatly affected the presentation of female characters, since the body of the woman on the stage was heavily sexualised. Actresses concretised the erotics of the Restoration playhouse and theatregoers took much pleasure in seeing actresses perform in roles that were fashioned to exploit the possibilities offered by the presence of women. Dramatists often put women in trousers, in what were known as “breeches roles”, as a way of displaying women’s bodies. Compared to the multi-layered functions of cross-dressing in Renaissance drama, such disguise became frequently a titillating device. However, there are several plays in this period that employ the cross-dressing motif to offer a more subversive critique of conventional attitudes toward female sexuality. This article will focus on Aphra Behn’s The Widdow Ranter (1690) and Thomas Southerne’s Sir Anthony Love (1691), plays which feature an androgynous central figure, a woman whose male dress is not a temporary disguise, a mask, but an expression of her character. Sir Anthony Love/Lucia uses the freedom of male dress to enjoy, express and enrich herself, and lay her own snares. An androgynous figure of a different type plays a prominent part in the comic plotline of Behn’s tragicomic The Widdow Ranter. Ranter swears, smokes a pipe, drinks punch and plans to fight a duel with her lover as a way of courting him. Such Amazon figures are often introduced in Restoration drama only to be ultimately subdued by men. As this article intends to prove, that is not the case in these two plays. However, subverting the double standard by ignoring it is possible only because of the plays’ settings: fantasy France and pastoral America.

klíčová slova: Restoration drama; Thomas Southerne; Sir Anthony Love; Aphra Behn; The Widdow Ranter; crossdressing; disguise; gender

reference (11)

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ISSN: 0567-8269
E-ISSN: 2464-6830

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