Comparison of Cross Dressing in The Twelfth Night and Yi Zhong Yuan

Bo-wen LIU


The device of cross dressing is adopted both by Renaissance writer Shakespeare and Chinese writer Li Yu in late Ming and Early Qing dynasty. This paper makes a comparison between Shakespeare’s work The Twelfth Night and Li Yu’s Yi Zhong Yuan (The Desired Ideal Matches), in which the female protagonists are dressed in men’s cloth. The two female protagonists transgress into men’s world by cross dressing, showing the ambiguity of gender identity and challenging the dominant system by men. However, they owed different attitudes towards cross dressing and different level of masculinity. Traced back into the concept of gender in two cultures, we may find an answer to this difference.
Key Words: cross dressing; gender; Renaissance; imperial China

Résumé: Le procédé du travertisme est adopté à la fois par un écrivain de Renaissance, Shakespeare, et un écrivain chinois Li Yu, à la fin de la dynastie des Ming et au début des Qing. Ce document établit une comparaison entre l”oevre de Shakespeare, La Nuit des Rois et celui de Li Yu, Zhong Yi Yuan (le Couple idéal désiré), dans lesquels les héroïnes se sont habillées en homme. Les deux héroïnes entrent dans le monde des hommes par le moyen de travertisme, tout en montrant l'ambiguïté de l'identité sexuelle et la contestation du système dominant par les hommes. Toutefois, elles ont des attitudes différentes vis-à-vis du travertisme et sont de niveau différent de la masculinité. En remontant au concept de sexe dans ces deux cultures, nous pourrions trouver une réponse à cette différence.
Mots-Clés: travestisme;sexe; Renaissance; Chine impériale

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