The Roaring Girl

The Roaring Girl

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The titular “Roaring Girl” of Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker’s comedy is Moll Cutpurse, a fictionalized version of Mary Frith, who attained legendary status in London by flouting gendered dress conventions, illegally performing onstage, and engaging in all manner of transgressive behavior from smoking and swearing to stealing. In the course of The Roaring Girl’s lively and complex plot of seduction and clever ruses, Moll shares her views on gender and sexuality, defends her honor in a duel, and demonstrates her knowledge of London’s criminal underworld. This edition of the play offers an informative introduction, thorough annotation, and a substantial selection of contextual materials from the period.

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