Krimmer, Elisabeth. 2004. In the Company of Men: Cross-Dressed Women Around 1800. Wayne State University Press, Detroit. ISBN 0-8143-3145-9
A study of cross-dressed women (or trans men) in history and literature in 18-19th century Germany and surrounding cultures. Most of the summary for this work is provided by guest-blogger Rose Fox.
* * *
(blogged by Heather Rose Jones)
Krimmer’s primary focus is on the motif of cross-dressing women in 18th century German literature (novels, plays, etc.), but as part of the background, she reviews a great many historic cases. The issues of theory that are covered in these opening parts of Krimmer’s work, with the complexities of gender theory and clothing as signifiers of all manner of social classifications, are thoroughly covered in the analysis of chapters 2-5. The present summary is simply a rough catalog of the examples she cites.
1721 in Halberstadt, Germany – Catharina Lincken charged for wearing men’s clothing. Three different male aliases are listed, under which she served as a soldier at various times. Her transgressions also included switching back and forth between Catholicism and Lutheranism. She married a woman named Catharina Mühlhahn.
Court theatrics and masquerades in which women dressed as men (and sometimes vice versa) were held under Empress Elisabeth I of Russia (1741-62) and Princess Amalie of Hessen-Homburg (1774-1846).
Examples are cataloged under several headings:
Travel and Leisure
After women began to take up theatrical roles, it became a fashion for certain types of male roles to be habitually played by female actors, such as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Hamlet. A long list of actresses became known for playing trouser roles in the 18th century and later.