Galatea, Transgender, Lyly, Early Modern, Play


John Lyly's Galatea centers the role that gender expression plays in both communal interactions and interpersonal relationships. I argue that the way in which Galatea and Phillida present themselves within the play parallels the modern interpretation of transgender theory as outlined by Judith Butler. The actions that the two take are in service of manufacturing the kind of gender expression that breaks from conventional norms. While still rooted within fundamentalist dynamics, Lyly breaks free of bioessentialist understandings of gender in favor of a more liberating approach.