Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Hæc Vir, or the Womanish Man is often conceived of as a satirical pamphlet. Moreover, scholars such as Linda Woodbridge and Simone Chess read the pamphlet as ultimately and explicitly arguing for a normative rendering of gender. Such readings, while acknowledging the rhetorical power and feminist nature of the crossdressed female character Hic Mulier’s arguments, invariably discount them in favor of a supposed return to normalcy. I instead suggest that Hic Mulier’s arguments be read as genuine and potentially altering. I further argue that we should read Hæc Vir as a closet drama. Bending the genre of the pamphlet allows common conceptions of Elizabethan drama to be used, chiefly drama’s ability to hold more than one meaning simultaneously, even when those meanings are contradictory. Doing so will salvage Hic Mulier’s argument and open other pamphlets to also containing multiple meanings.
Montgomery-Anderson, Stephen, ""Custome is an Idiot": How Genre Bending Opens New Meanings for Hæc Vir, or the Womanish Man" (2022). All Theses. 3756.