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Love’s Riddle (Abraham Cowley)

17th century English play in which a cross-dressed woman attracts the desire of two shepherdesses, which continues after she is revealed.

LHMP entry

There are as many as 80 early modern dramatic works that feature cross-dressed heroines, with overt motivations ranging from following a (male) lover, avoiding rape, scandal, or death, traveling freely, or as a deliberate expression of gender non-conformity. In roughly 30 of these plays (written between 1580 and 1660), the cross-dressing also precipitates female homoerotic desire in some fashion. This raises the question of how and why this motif was employed.

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