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Introduction: Wearing the Codpiece

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Abstract

In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, one of Shakespeare’s earliest plays, the heroine Julia and her maid Lucetta contemplate the best way for a woman to convincingly dress as a man:

LUCETTA: What fashion, madam, shall I make your breeches?

JULIA: That fits as well as “Tell me, good my lord,

What compass will you wear your farthingale?”

Why, e’en what fashion thou best likes, Lucetta.

LUCETTA: You must needs have them with a codpiece, madam.

JULIA: Out, out, Lucetta. That will be ill-favoured.

LUCETTA: A round hose, madam, now’s not worth a pin

Unless you have a codpiece to stick pins on.

JULIA: Lucetta, as thou lov’st me let me have

What thou think’st meet and is most mannerly.

But tell me, wench, how will the world repute me

For undertaking so unstaid a journey?

I fear me it will make me scandalized.1

Keywords

Gender Identity National Identity Male Actor Audience Member Male Role 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Elizabeth Klett 2009

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