DRAG. A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts. - Roger Baker
DRAG. A History of Female Impersonation in the Performing Arts. (Uncorrected Proof copy).
8vo. 268pp b&w xerox with illustrations in blue wrapper. London: Cassell, 1994.
An advance reading copy of Baker's text on Drag in its xeroxed, annotated form. The book traces 'travesti' from ancient China and Japan to the British traditions of the music hall and the pantomime Dame. 'Men in frocks have been part of the British theatrical tradition since the thirteenth century, when the Church forbade the appearance on stage of women but condoned that of men and boys disguised as the opposite sex. Stage transvestism had a Golden Age during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I but didn't recover when - after the Civil War and the re-opening of the theatres - Charles II insisted that women by portrayed by women.' Baker argues that the age-old theatrical device can be a potent political weapon.