Synopses & Reviews
Fascinating tales of cross-dressing and debauchery in early-nineteenth-century America
This is the first complete modern edition of The Female Marine, a fictional cross-dressing trilogy originally published between 1815 and 1818. Enormously popular among New England readers, the tale in various versions appeared in no fewer than nineteen editions over a brief four-year span. This new edition appends three other contemporary accounts of cross-dressing and urban vice which, together with The Female Marine, provide a rich portrayal of prostitution and interracial city life in early-nineteenth-century America.
The alternately racy and moralistic narrative recounts the adventures of a young woman from rural Massachusetts who is seduced by a false-hearted lover, flees to Boston, and is entrapped in a brothel. She eventually escapes by disguising herself as a man and serves with distinction on board the U.S. frigate Constitution during the War of 1812. After subsequent onshore adventures in and out of male dress, she is happily married to a wealthy New York gentleman.
In his introduction, Daniel A. Cohen situates the story in both its literary and historical contexts. He explains how the tale draws upon a number of popular Anglo-American literary genres, including the female warrior narrative, the sentimental novel, and the urban expose. He then explores how The Female Marine reflects early-nineteenth century anxieties concerning changing gender roles, the expansion of urban prostitution, the growth of Boston's African American community, and feelings of guilt aroused by New England's notorious unpatriotic activities during the War of 1812.
"As a text for classroom adoption, The FemaleMarine is wonderfully readable and intellectually provocative. It should find ready audiences in scholars and students working on women's history, American culture, and crossdressing". -- Elizabeth Young, Mount Holyoke College
Here is the first complete modern edition of THE FEMALE MARINE, a fictional cross-dressing trilogy originally published between 1815 and 1818. The alternately racy and moralistic narrative recounts the adventures of a young woman who serves as a man on the CONSTITUTION during the War of 1812. Daniel Cohen's Introduction situates the story in its literary and historical contexts. Illustrated.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -193) and index.