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Sexual DissidenceAugustine to Wilde, Freud to Foucault$
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Jonathan Dollimore

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198112259

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198112259.001.0001

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Early Modern: Cross-Dressing in Early Modern England

Early Modern: Cross-Dressing in Early Modern England

(p.284) 19 Early Modern: Cross-Dressing in Early Modern England
Sexual Dissidence

Jonathan Dollimore

Oxford University Press

Humanist transgression in the name of authenticity has never been able to comprehend the kind of transgression peformed in the name of inversion, perversion, and reinscription. ‘Inversion’ could signify reversal of position and/or reversal of direction, both being inimical to effective government and social control. So it is worth recalling at the outset of this discussion that it is in these senses that the female cross-dresser of early 17th-century England could be described as an ‘invert’ or ‘pervert’. One might also usefully recall that to cross is not only to traverse, but to mix and to contradict; also that cross-dressing potentially involves both inversion and displacement of gender binaries. The controversy over dress was no less complex than the social shifts which provoked it.

Keywords:   humanist transgression, inversion, perversion, cross-dressing, displacement, dress, England, reinscription, authenticity

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