This book looks at the highly publicised, sensational trials of several young female protagonists in the period 1918-1924. These cases, all presented by the press as morality tales involving drugs, murder, adultery, miscegenation and sexual perversion, are used as a prism through which to identify concerns about modern femininity. The book first examines a libel case, brought by a well-known female dancer against a maverick right-wing MP for the accusation of lesbianism. One aspect of this libel trial involved the drawing up of battle-lines in relation to the construction of a new, post-war womanhood. The book then looks at two inquests and three magistrate-court trials that involved women and drugs; young women in relationships with Chinese men were also effectively in the dock. One way of accessing court proceedings has been via the account of the trial published as part of the Notable British Trial Series. There are no extant trial transcripts. But there are prosecution depositions lodged at the National Archives, much press reportage, and a number of relevant memoirs, all giving a keen sense of the key issues raised by the trial. The book also focuses on an extraordinary divorce case, that of Christabel Russell, involving cross-dressing, claims of a virgin birth, extreme sexual ignorance, and a particular brand of eccentric modern femininity.
; and confrontation and conflict caused by rejection or refusal of expected familial and/or gender roles. All of these themes concern problematic situations induced by a fundamental rift between the world of sainthood and the real world, set in the trajectory of family, personal relationships, and identity. Examples in the Scottish Legendary abound. The compilation features the cross-dressing saints Eugenia, Thais, Pelagia, and Theodora (Eugenia to follow her Christian pursuits; Thais, Pelagia, and Theodora to do penance). Alexis leaves his newlywed wife and his
Henry Wotton, however, who ‘survives’ the text, sustains his philosophy of the surface and consistently resists the induction of depth, directing his discriminating eye purely at the visible. Wearing the trousers: cross-dressing and colonialism The dandy’s feminine counterpart was the cross-dressed woman: references to women in conventionally masculine
. (Amante has managed to find a man’s suit of clothes stored in the loft.) Marjorie Garber’s groundbreaking text Vested Interests explores various modes of cross-dressing throughout history. In her investigation of the nineteenth century, Garber is correct to point out that the term ‘third sex’ was used to indicate both homosexuality and cross-dressing: ‘the “third” is that
, regarding the latter as at the least inferior and often as evil.’ Hence, by reducing nonwhite individuals ‘to their bodies and thus to race’, white people become, by contrast, ‘something else that is realised in and yet is not reducible to the corporeal, or racial.’ 16 Theorising the cross-dresser How does cross-dressing fit into all this? Is cross-dressing a form of passing? For Judith Halberstam, writing on female masculinity: the notion of passing is singularly unhelpful. Passing as a
the field of the history of the body and the history of the self, as well as with the history of same-sex sexuality, cross-dressing and hermaphroditism. Franz Ludwig von Neugebauer’s collection of hermaphrodite case histories Franz Ludwig von Neugebauer’s Hermaphroditismus beim Menschen (‘Hermaphroditism in Humankind’), published in 1908, is an amazing book: almost 750 pages in length, it contains references to 1,885 publications from antiquity to 1908 on hermaphroditism and the 1,257 cases of hermaphrodites described in these publications.5 It is written in German
commentary, as well as personal memoirs. In Chapter 4, on Marguerite Fahmy, there are no extant trial transcripts, but there are prosecution depositions lodged at the National Archives, much press reportage, and a number of relevant memoirs, all giving a keen sense of the key issues raised by the trial. Chapter 5 centres on an extraordinary divorce case, that of������������ Christabel Russell,�������������������������������������������������������������������� involving cross-dressing, claims of a virgin birth, extreme sexual ignorance, and a particular brand of eccentric
describes a blackface troop, perhaps also involving cross-dressing. A play was staged at 76 Novelty fair the Olympic Theatre titled The Special in which the lead female character crossdresses as a special for romantic intrigue, further playing with the idea that the specials’ physique was wanting, or even effeminate if a woman so easily passed for one.32 The punning lyrics of The Special Constables, a comic song ‘sung with unbounded applause’, again played with gender. It describes a group of hapless specials as they go about their duties. In the character of a
Ribald tales of cross-border smuggling provide comic relief from the grim conditions described in the preceding chapter. This chapter introduces rogues and child smugglers; cross-dressing flour smugglers and violent, organised smuggling operations. It reveals the different means of transport availed of by smugglers – foot, road, rail, donkey – and assesses the risk attached to each. There are new oral accounts and customs records relayed here which tell the story of RAF men smuggling tights and lipstick; teenage girls caught with pram-fulls of bread and contraceptives; and diligent customs officers. A significant gap in knowledge surrounding the economic conditions driving smuggling in this period is addressed. Unlike the Economic War (1932-38) it was disparity in supply of basic goods under separate rationing systems which drove demand and the illegal trade, not price (which was the decisive factor in cattle smuggling in the previous decade). For the first time, the disproportionate number of women (housewives, schoolgirls, female combatants) involved in smuggling is revealed.
Twelfth Night subverts Sebastian’s statement ‘nature to her bias drew’ (5.1.258) by implying that sexual roles are not necessarily immutable or explained by ‘nature’ alone but have an element of ‘nurture’ or counterfeiting and social construction. 11 Meanwhile, Beaumont and Fletcher’s The Loyal Subject , again representing a male-to-female cross-dressing, draws on Twelfth Night but reverses