From Mary Cowden Clarke to Contemporary Young Adult Novels: (Re)constructing Gender and Sexuality in Adaptations of As You Like It and Twelfth Night

Laurie E. Osborne, Colby College


In "From Mary Cowden Clarke to Contemporary Young Adult Novels: (Re)constructing Gender and Sexuality in YA Adaptations of As You Like It and Twelfth Night," I analyze how YA fictions linked to As You Like It and Twelfth Night rework the crucial yoking of sexual and gender identity that Cowden Clarke identifies from a distinctly Victorian perspective on female sexuality in her 1848-50 novellas, The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines. Contemporary YA Shakespearean adaptations of these two comedies reflect upon the distinctive social and ethical issues that occupy Cowden Clarke, such as same-sex friendships, cross-gender identification, and the multiple consequences of sexual attraction. However, they also explore current issues in gender identity and sexuality while expanding and testing the several temporal and aesthetic frameworks that Shakespeare now inhabits. Current adaptations use Shakespeare to characterize gender as performance and, in turn, to investigate the implications of those performances. Some of these extend the scope of adapting As You Like It and Twelfth Night so that alternative sexual and gender identities have their own narrative space. In effect, these novelists displace homoeroticism, as Cowden Clarke does, but they in turn dismiss those dislocations. With these novels, this essay argues that YA fiction embraces important differences produced by a contemporary willingness to reframe the possible relationships between gender identification and sexuality, in part by negotiating historical changes in that relationship through complex explorations of Shakespearean temporalities.

In the preface to the 1891 American edition of The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines, Mary Cowden Clarke contextualizes her novellas by noting that "[f]orty years ago, these Tales were written in all the glow of having finished the sixteen years' labor in completing the 'Concordance to Shakespeare'" (Clarke 1891, 1:v). Cowden Clarke first published "these stories of pure imagination and sentiment" from 1850 through 1852 and identifies her imagined childhoods of nineteen women from Shakespeare's plays as "an attempt likely to further her desire of still promoting the study and enjoyment of our great Poet Teacher." In order to draw new readers to Shakespeare, not only do these novellas address the female characters' development from childhood through adolescence, but they also speak to different readers than do Lambs' Tales from Shakespeare, designed for younger children.
While Cowden Clarke openly acknowledges that "the word 'Girlhood,' in their title, may perhaps have induced some idea that these are juvenile tales," she also asserts that the "grown reader" will appreciate them more "than the youthful reader, who chiefly notes 'the story' when perusing a book" (Clarke 1891, 1:v-vi). Nonetheless, by highlighting the adventures of often orphaned or motherless children, Cowden Clarke intrigues adolescent female readers, like those she addresses in her later article for The Girl's Own Paper (1887). Concurrently she offers to mothers and guardians moral lessons about how best to raise young women. As the number of editions suggests, these fictions succeeded in engaging nineteenth-century readers for many years after their first publication. Addressing characters from Portia in The Merchant of Venice to Imogen from Cymbeline, The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines paved the way for the current Shakespeare-inspired YA novels, targeted at young women but widely known to appeal to older readers, as well.
While the differences between nineteenth-century serially published novellas and our current publishing environment are obviously large, Cowden Clarke's invention of fictional biographies for Shakespeare's female characters provides an invaluable context for both the structural narrative strategies and the ideological rethinking of characters like Rosalind and Viola in Shakespearean YA fiction. Ultimately, both differences and the occasionally surprising similarities between Cowden Clarke's novellas and current YA novels illuminate how Shakespeare's characters continue to provide a site for exploring and even orchestrating the emergence of adult female identity.1
Contemporary adaptations of canonical texts such as Shakespeare, according to John Stephens and Robyn McCallum, can be retellings that convey prevailing patriarchal values and ensure the continuity of high culture in a new generation, goals that Cowden Clarke clearly embraced. Anticipating Erica Hateley's (2009) arguments, Stephens and McCallum suggest that retellings often use "androcentric, ethnocentric, and class-centric" narratives "to induct audiences into the social, ethical, and aesthetic values of the producing culture" (Stephens and McCallum 1998, 253). However, Stephens and McCallum also note that "any retelling will be influenced by the cultural context in which it is retold and by the changes in register, narrative tone, and point of view which seek to ensure the accessibility of those cultural values and aspects of social heritage that a text seeks to inculcate" (Stephens and McCallum 1998, 254). The necessary dialogic relationship that develops between adaptations and original canonical texts can produce what they call "reversions," adaptations that subversively intervene in the ideologies of canonical text. In the context of Cowden Clarke, YA Shakespearean novels expose a shift from retelling to reversion. YA fiction reflects upon ongoing social and ethical issues that preoccupy Cowden Clarke, such as same-sex friendships, cross-gender identification, and the multiple consequences of sexual attraction. However, by exploring contemporary gender identity and sexuality, they also expand and test the several temporal and aesthetic frameworks that Shakespeare now inhabits.
On the most general level, Cowden Clarke's tales signal important distinctions between fictional time and Shakespearean dramatic time. As one of her early reviewers suggests, the novelist's use of time outstrips what Shakespeare can portray on stage:
[T]he lowest attention to dramatic unities leaves but scant mental elbow room for the free display of power. Hints upon which chapters could be written, suggestions shadowing forth whole romances . . . are used, thrown down, and left behind almost before we have time to ascertain their value. The story must go on. Years have to be condensed into two short hours of mimetic reality, and there is no time for moralising on speculation. (Review of The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines [1850])
This reviewer notes that it falls to "the novelist alone to work out the details of life — to show event hanging upon event, till the great chain of life is complete" and especially praises Cowden Clarke as suited for the task. Motivations and moralizings, the factors inspiring Shakespeare's characters and the lessons to be drawn from them, are the distinctive strengths of the novel form and the rewards of the difficult challenge she has set herself, according to Cowden Clarke's contemporary reviewers.
In pursuit of these rewards, Cowden Clarke invents childhoods for Rosalind and Celia, Olivia, and Viola that incorporate as many unexpected perils and new characters as the most adventurous of the twenty-first century YA novels.2 However, her heroines' new exploits cease when the plays start. In fact, Cowden Clarke frequently closes her tales by recommending that the reader turn to Shakespeare's play. When she completes Viola's tale with her opening lines in the play, "What country, friends, is this?" Cowden Clarke ventriloquizes her own submission to Shakespeare in Viola's self-silencing response to Orsino: "For the rest, 'My lord would speak, my duty hushes me'" (Clarke 1891, 5:232). Cowden Clarke's Shakespearean girlhoods are securely located before the events of the play, explaining the female characters but supposedly not changing them. Even so, Cowden Clarke's "inventing and penning" of her tales opened up temporal possibilities that YA narratives currently elaborate (Clarke 1891, 1:v; see Koss and Teale 2009, 565). YA Shakespeare novelists from the last twenty years frequently offer sequels or blend prequels with concurrent alternate narratives, expanding narrative time and surrounding Shakespeare's plays.3
More important, juxtaposing what interested a mid-Victorian critic about Shakespeare's women with what engages current YA writers underscores how adapting Shakespeare's works, especially for adolescent female readers, has changed. Questions raised by the plays — like the fate of Rosalind and Celia's mothers, the origins of their fathers' conflict, the deaths of Olivia's father and brother, Viola's missing clothes, and so forth — still provoke the fictional renovations of Shakespeare's female characters much as they motivated Cowden Clarke "to place the heroines in such situations as should naturally lead up to, and account for, the known conclusion of their subsequent confirmed character and after-fate" (Clarke 1891, 1:viii). However, following four centuries of dramatic, cinematic, and fictional Shakespearean adaptations, including Cowden Clarke's, current novelists embrace the questions related to these characters' "after-fate" beyond Shakespeare's plays as well. As a result, YA adapters now generate alternative narratives.
Specifically, YA novelists identify and re-envision the gender constructions and sexual desires at work in As You Like It and Twelfth Night through narrative choices that resonate with and revise the strategies, interests, and inventions of Cowden Clarke. While reinforcing the importance that she accorded both female characters and readers, their novels expand on Cowden Clarke's approach to include current sexual and personal agency. As a result their gender-focused Shakespearean "reversions" not only reflect and support social change for young female readers but also illuminate the mechanics of fictionalizing Shakespeare. By re-inscribing the tensions between advancing female education and conserving sex and gender roles in The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines, YA Shakespearean novels based in As You Like It and Twelfth Night expose most vividly the faultlines that persist between progressive education and retrograde gender roles and sexual potential.

Friends and Lovers

In "Rosalind and Celia; The Friends," Cowden Clarke defines friendship and patriarchal abuses as key issues for her heroines, in the process downplaying the cross-dressing and gender play that dominate Shakespeare's comedy. First and foremost, the tale explores the growth and influence of close female relationships, principally in Rosalind and Celia but also through their newly devised friendship with Flora de Beaupré, whose adventures take over the tale. Second, Cowden Clarke dissects the deleterious consequences of unchecked patriarchal power and rivalry exemplified in Frederick and his grief-stricken elder brother but carried through most vividly in Raoul de Beaupré's tyrannical demands on Flora. These features generate a tale that only ventures into gender disguise toward the end and only briefly and belatedly treats homoerotic play in an incident that Cowden Clarke's sister, Sabilla Novella, omits from the 1884 single-volume collected tales (Cowden Clarke 1884). In the original novella Rosalind and Celia disguise themselves once, as veiled women, to rescue Flora, and Flora herself cross-dresses as a last resort to escape her brother. Cowden Clarke associates these characters' emergence into female adulthood with same-sex friendship and separates that process from the potential for homosexual desire registered in Shakespeare's comedy.
Drawing on a school performance of As You Like It, a standard scenario for YA Shakespeare, Andrew Matthews's The Flip Side (2001) and Lauren Bjorkman's My Invented Life (2009) also explore adolescent gender alliances and emerging sexual desire. However, they focus on cross-dressing and homosexuality rather than invoking them only to dismiss them, as Cowden Clarke's novella does. In part by intensifying their protagonists' experiences with first-person rather than the third-person narration that Cowden Clarke uses, these novelists deepen consideration of gender identity and sexuality in their protagonists' contemporary accounts of adolescence and its conflicts. For both novels, performances of Shakespeare's comedy precipitate crises in gender identity and sexual orientation, but Matthews's novel emphasizes gender identity, while Bjorkman's concentrates on sexual identity and desire.
Figure 1. The Flip Side
Figure 1. The Flip Side
In The Flip Side, the cross-dressing suggested by a fellow student, who "reckon[s] Shakespeare must have been some sort of perv" (Matthews 2001, 13), provokes the novel's revelations and conflicts. Though Rob's resulting performance as Rosalind follows through with the idea that "Shakespeare's mucking about with stereotypes in this scene" (Matthews 2001, 25), Rob himself experiences an unexpected form of gender liberation:
All of a sudden I felt something leap from my subconscious mind and take over, and Rosalind was me. Robert went missing in action and Rosalind was in charge, and, boy, did she ever enjoy herself! The dress had unlocked her and she made the most of her freedom. It wasn't enough for her to twist Orlando like a pretzel around her finger. Rosalind was confident, feisty, sharp-tongued — everything that Robert wasn't. Part of me was thinking, what's got into you, Rob? — but the real question was what had gotten out? (Matthews 2001, 35)
Rather than offering a window into homoeroticism, Rob's cross-gender performance empowers him and advances his heterosexual relationship with Milena, who finds "Rosalind" more interesting and approachable. While his transvestitism indirectly provokes his best friend Kevin into coming out, the novel concentrates on Rob's self-discovery as Rosalind and his partnership with Milena in creating "Rosalind" effectively. Matthews concentrates on the heterosexual couple, even limiting the homoeroticism of "Rosalind"'s friendship with Milena. As a result, The Flip Side only superficially explores the performance of female gender identity.
In some ways, Matthews's novel adheres to the combination of homosocial flirtation and suppression of homosexual desire that recent critics have identified in As You Like It's treatment of Rosalind, Celia, and Orlando (Tvordi 1999; DiGangi 1996). In fact, the novel even dissipates Rob's Rosalind identity as thoroughly as the play erases Ganymede. When he chooses to cut his hair and pursue Milena as himself, "Rosalind" effectively disappears. Although he withholds information about his (possible) later cross-dressing, telling his readers "don't bother to ask if I ever dressed up as Rosalind for Milena again, because I'm not about to tell you" (Matthews 2001, 172), Rosalind's days are clearly over, as is Rob's minimal experience of girlhood. In Matthews's adaptation, as in Cowden Clarke's, testing the boundaries of gender provokes a recoil into heterosexual pairing that apparently secures gender.
Despite using a similar narrative occasion — a high school performance where the first-person narrator has been cast as Rosalind — Lauren Bjorkman's My Invented Life (2009) more closely engages with both Shakespeare's comedy and the narrative interests identified in Cowden Clarke's novella. In this novel, As You Like It enables a rich examination of how female alliance and gender identity intersect with sexual desire. Beyond the heroine Roz's talent for cursing in Shakespearean insults and dropping lines from various plays, the novel centers around two concerns related to the comedy: strong female allegiances and the discovery of erotic agency through performance. Bjorkman's Roz is most interested in restoring her close relationship with her sister "Eva the Diva" and, later, in exploring her own sexual identity as a possible lesbian. The novel scrutinizes intense female-female friendships, as Cowden Clarke's novella does, but, more important, it recasts gender disguise as sexual disguise.
Figure 2. My Invented Life
Figure 2. My Invented Life
When Bjorkman shifts the central emotional conflict in Shakespeare's play from Rosalind's loss of place and heterosexual alliance to Celia's loss of intimacy with her cousin, she follows Cowden Clarke's narrative choice of concentrating her readers' attentions on shared female experience: "between the little ones themselves, the affection grew to be as strong, and undivided, as that which the mother felt towards them. As they grew older, they learned the same lessons, and played at the same games; they studied, as they sported — together" (Clarke 1891, 3:213-14). In the novella, Rosalind, not Celia, first expresses the idea that their "[r]elationship hath some natural links of its own, doubtless; but there is a voluntary affiancing of two kindred beings, — kindred in more than blood, kindred in spirit, in heart, in mind, in soul, — that wields them together into one. All the sledge-hammers of the world . . . would fail in sundering such steeled affection" (Clarke 1891, 3:222). In contrast, Bjorkman's Roz understands the enormous value of female alliance because of its absence, lamenting that Eva "used to tell me everything about everything" (Bjorkman 2009, 5). In effect, Roz becomes Celia, the rejected close female relative to Eva, who becomes Rosalind in love and beyond Celia's reach. Just as Celia chooses class disguise over cross-dressing, perhaps in identification with Rosalind's lowered social status, Roz eschews gender disguise for sexual disguise as a lesbian, because she has guessed — accurately, as it turns out — that Eva is in love with a girl.
Whereas Cowden Clarke's novella insists on the formative and complicated influence of patriarchal control on Victorian female adolescent identity, Bjorkman's novel uses Shakespeare to speak to the primacy of sexuality for current girlhoods, an issue that Jennifer Flaherty takes up in depth in her analysis of YA Ophelia novels. While offering her sister daily "lesbian updates" to assure her that coming out is not that complicated, Roz must navigate several encounters with homophobia, soon discovers her own potentially sexual interest in "eyeliner Andie," and begins questioning what desire is and whether she herself might actually be lesbian. Despite exploring identity through clothing, as Matthews does, Bjorkman focuses more on the disrupted relationship between Roz and Eva and the many different forms that adolescent sexuality can take.
In these difficulties, Shakespeare serves as both a defense and an opportunity for Roz and Eva. When Roz begins to discover — and share with her sister — how difficult her role is becoming, Eva invokes Shakespeare's comedy:
"I have an idea." Her eyes glitter with mischief like the old Eva. "Tell everyone that when you were making out with your girlfriend you made a discovery." I rise to the bait. "What did I discover?" "Your girlfriend is actually a boy who dresses like a girl. For fun. So you're hetero after all." I crack up because she's being the old Eva and it feels good. (Bjorkman 2009, 63-64)
While reframing for her sister a version of Shakespeare's plot that will enable Roz to relinquish her lesbian identity, Eva also hints at her own discovery that she loves her best friend Carmen. In Bjorkman's novel, the intensity and difficulties of female friendships — Eva and Roz's, Eva and Carmen's, and Roz and Andie's — influence Roz's self-awareness and identity even more than her longstanding crush on Eva's boyfriend Bryan or her persistent internal narrations of imagined melodramatic scenarios that she then retracts. Using first-person perspective, present-tense, and alternative narratives, Bjorkman updates and deepens the importance of female alliances that Cowden Clarke elaborates within her novellas.
Moreover, as in Cowden Clarke's novella, a minor extra-Shakespearean gender disguise becomes an opportunity for hidden provocation and surveillance of desire. Cowden Clarke's cross-dressed heroine Flora uses her male disguise first to flee her brother's machinations and later to provoke — and punish — homoerotic desires in the female gossip who planted doubts about the sexual fidelity of Flora's husband. In Bjorkman's novel, Roz only cross-dresses on stage, but Eva and Carmen together create and enact the neighborhood's Peeping Tom, leaving Birkenstock footprints and gum wrappers as evidence of "his" transgressive interest in other people's private and sexual activities. Their prank leads to Eva's realization of lesbian love, which is immediately punished by the breach between Eva and Carmen. Moreover, uncovering that gender disguise and its consequences helps Roz solve the mystery of her sister's withdrawal. As in Cowden Clarke's tale, a relatively minor cross-dressing narrative contributes significantly to the resolution. Whereas The Flip Side downplays homosexuality in favor of gender ambiguity, Bjorkman uses an almost invisible gender disguise as the catalyst that reveals, temporarily disrupts, and ultimately enables Eva's lesbian identity.
While sharply contrasting with both recent novels' greater openness about homosexuality, Cowden Clarke's novella underscores how the intersections of gender identity and sexual desire can collapse into heterosexual pairing as readily as they do in Shakespeare's comedy. In Cowden Clarke's novella, heteronormative romantic closure anticipates the role that Linda Christian-Smith argues romance plays for young women in current YA fiction: "While there are aspects of romance that elevate the individual, it is also an experience through which girls negotiate the parameters of their power and authority. Romance ultimately involves the construction of feminine identity in terms of others, with boys in the powerful position of giving girls' lives meaning" (Christian-Smith 1987, 388). In My Invented Life, Roz encounters such problematic self-definition and conflicted sexuality when the much-desired Bryan offers a condom rather than the ring she anticipates. Roz's instant rejection of this unromantic offering, combined with the array of other female relationships that preoccupy her, suggests that power interactions with young men are only part of the picture. Eva struggles with her romantic love for Carmen; Roz worries about her attraction to "eyeliner Andie," Bryan, and later Nico; and, most interesting, Andie seems most romantically invested in her relationship with the couple that she seeks to create between Roz and Nico. In this range of interactions, all enabled by As You Like It in production, Roz recognizes that neither gender identity nor sexual attraction takes fixed, "normative" forms.
However, despite this plurality of orientations at the end of the novel, Roz's happy ending involves a long stage kiss and a boyfriend. Like Rob in The Flip Side, Roz ends up as half of a heterosexual couple, even though "the best bit is the last bit. Eva and I are real sisters again" (Bjorkman 2009, Epilogue 225). The adventures in Cowden Clarke's novella may use gender disguise and homoeroticism more overtly to further heterosexual union, but the As You Like It YA novels also close with heteronormative resolutions.4 In the process of their narratives, however, these novelists use Shakespeare to complicate the ways that heterosexual romance determines both male and female adolescent identity and to test the range of sexual desires that potentially underpin such relationships. In fact, Matthews's novel shows heterosexual romance enforcing male gender identity — through a "masculine" haircut and motorcycle leathers — an unusual case of romance constraining male characters' flexibility and identity formation. Still more expansively, Bjorkman's novel underscores how romantic ideology fails to account fully for the resolution of identity issues or sexual complexities.

Sexuality and Similarity

Because of Twelfth Night's youthful cross-gender twins and more varied, overt homoerotic relationships, this play inspires even more complex adaptations for both Cowden Clarke and current YA novelists. In fact, the comedy stands out as the only play that motivated Cowden Clarke to write two different tales, "Olivia; The Lady of Illyria" and "Viola; the Twin." The former attends more closely to Olivia's fragile brother, Cynthio, and his thwarted love for his adoptive sister, Astrella, than it does to Olivia herself. The latter concentrates on the close relationship between the twins, simultaneously playing up their resemblance and insisting on their gender differences. For example, early in the tale, Sebastian passes himself off as Viola to take a punishment that she will find especially painful. While his lesser vulnerability to pain defines his masculinity, his occupation of her place signals his deep similarity to his twin sister. YA Twelfth Night novelists potentially face the same challenges that Cowden Clarke does: defining gender when two characters are posited as otherwise physically identical and dealing with the actual or inadvertent homoeroticism that results from their similarities.
Unlike "Rosalind and Celia; the Friends," Cowden Clarke's "Viola; the Twin" repeatedly addresses the homoerotic potential in Shakespeare's play, typically by deploying Sebastian as a gender substitute who rescues Viola from sexual threat. At one point while the children are staying with their aunt, she asks them both to dress as girls, an early instance of cross-dressing that leads their loutish cousin to continue his sexual assaults on Viola, with unexpected results:
While Sebastian was awaiting them, Gabino entered the room. He saw, as he thought, the figure of Viola, standing at the window, half hidden . . . He stole behind her, exclaiming as he seized her in his arms, and strove to snatch a kiss: — "Limed at last, my pretty dear." To his infinite surprise, he received a box on the ear. (Clarke 1891, 5:204)
This cross-dressing incident registers sexual attraction only to dismiss it punitively and define homoeroticism as impossible, much as Flora's self-revelation to the gossip in "Rosalind and Celia" does. Cowden Clarke brings together gender identity and homoerotic desire, relying on Sebastian's heteronormative masculinity to stall sexual desire and identifying Viola's femininity with sexual vulnerability.
Later in the tale, Cowden Clarke reinforces this combination of arousing homosexual desires and then using heteronormative gender to suppress them when Viola receives unwelcome sexual attentions from a marquis.5 When Sebastian subsequently challenges him to a duel, the marquis takes the brother for the sister, cross-dressed for an assignation. He attempts to embrace "her," even though Cowden Clarke's omniscient narrator observes that, "though so delicately formed as to be well-nigh girlish in figure, and so beautiful of feature and complexion as to look almost femininely handsome in face, Sebastian was essentially manly" (Clarke 1891, 5:223). Even when forcibly rebuffed, the marquis finds "the countenance and figure before him . . . so perfectly identical with those of the lady he had encountered yesterday, yet so strongly contrasted in their present demeanour, with the feminine gentleness of hers in their previous bearing; that he stood as in a dream, unable to reconcile images so perplexingly at variance, yet so singularly the same" (Clarke 1891, 5:224). Whereas Cowden Clarke's novella about Olivia concentrates most closely on establishing, in the person of her effeminate brother, Olivia's deep sympathy for delicate, feminine men, "Viola; the Twin" explores Sebastian's homoerotic appeal principally through his repulsion of sexual advances ostensibly directed towards Viola. These tactics simultaneously augment the male homoeroticism in the play and defuse those attractions with Sebastian's "manly" defense of his suitably demure, wholly feminine sister. Viola's own homoerotic appeal, so central to the play, is wholly absent in Cowden Clarke's narrative.
While Cowden Clarke's twofold treatment of this play may be predictable, since her tales address a number of paired Shakespearean heroines, including Rosalind and Celia, the recent flurry of YA Twelfth Night novels is surprising amidst the avalanche of YA Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Macbeth novels. Five Twelfth Night novels have come out from major publishers since 1992, four of them in the last ten years: Paula Boock's Dare Truth or Promise (1992; reprint, 1997), Sophie Masson's Malvolio's Revenge (2005), Elizabeth Hand's Illyria (2007; reprint, 2010), Celia Rees's Fool's Girl (2010), and Lev A. C. Rosen's All Men of Genius (2011).6 These YA novelists resemble Cowden Clark in favoring third-person narration over the first-person narration used in The Flip Side and My Invented Life; they also uniformly prefer Viola and relegate Olivia to supporting character status, a choice that echoes Cowden Clarke's concentration almost entirely on Cynthio and his beloved Astrella in Olivia's tale. However, most of these novels feature gender definition and sexual awakening as openly and explicitly as the As You Like It teen novels do. Furthermore, the wide-ranging negotiations between gender and sexual identity inspired by Twelfth Night foster a wide range of narrative possibilities beyond Cowden Clarke's prequels.

Performance and Desire

When Paula Boock's Dare Truth or Promise and Elizabeth Hand's Illyria use high school performances of Twelfth Night as the occasion for exploring the emergence of female sexuality, these novelists underscore how current YA adaptations use theatrical performance to illuminate key struggles in young adulthood. While Hand's novel attends more closely to Viola/Maddy's sexual awakening with her cousin Rogan in the context of their talents as performers, Boock uses the performance of the comedy as the occasion for two young women falling in love with each other and facing all the parental and societal challenges that face a newcomer to same-sex desire. In both novels, Twelfth Night supplies the narrative occasion for the sexuality so crucial to twentieth-century adolescent female identity (Christian-Smith 1987, 376-79; Flaherty 2014).
Figure 3. Dare Truth or Promise
Figure 3. Dare Truth or Promise
The minor but illuminating role that Twelfth Night takes in Dare Truth or Promise reinforces the novel's larger representation of comedy as the means for expressing social prejudices in order to challenge them. Early in the novel Louisa (Louie) and a friend exuberantly entertain their peers with a comedy show that features insulting ethnic and homophobic jokes. However, the pair immediately turn their audience's laughter inside out with images that challenge their listeners' complicity in denigrating vulnerable groups; their show encourages the youthful audience to think more deeply about how racist and homophobic humor work. Deploying bias self-consciously as intellectual provocation rather than the misguided marker of realism that Thomas Crisp finds in many gay teen novels (Crisp 2009, 335-36), this early performance foreshadows the importance of Shakespeare's comedy in the novel.
Twelfth Night leads to Louie's involvement with Willa when the pair bond over a fencing lesson that Louie needs in order to play Viola. By the time the play is in production, the situations in Twelfth Night resonate with Louie in ways that enhance both her performance and her insight into the secrecy involved in loving Willa:
And that was what it must be like for Viola all the time, she thought suddenly. Keeping control of herself and the situation was vital. Always lying, pretending to be a boy servant to Orsino when in fact she had fallen in love with him. The fabric of her existence threatened to fall apart should she let her true feelings show — she could be out of a job, a home, and have lost all chance of being with the one she loved. And it was also like her and Willa — hiding that secret that nevertheless bubbled and fizzed inside you, knowing that you loved where it was forbidden to love. (Boock 1997, 83)
Boock eschews the obvious homoerotic parallel of casting Willa as Olivia in favor of this moment where Louie empathizes fully and painfully with Viola's dangerous secrecy and exhilarating sense of personal risk. Louie's identification with Viola also implicitly counters the heterosexual underpinnings in Shakespeare's comedy, replacing the hidden heteronormative relationship beneath Viola's disguise with Louie's own homosexual love affair. Boock adapts the erotic secrecy and potential abuses of comedy in Twelfth Night so that her novel can delve more deeply and directly into the homoerotic love that Shakespeare and Cowden Clarke hint at and dismiss.
Although Twelfth Night empowers adaptations like Boock's that open up the range of possible sexual identities for girls, the comedy also inspires adaptations that follow Cowden Clarke's lead in acknowledging homosexual desires only to defuse or displace them. For example, Elizabeth Hand's Illyria confines its allusions to homosexuality in theatrical contexts. Maddy comments that the magic of their production is so contagious that "Olivia didn't just come on to my Viola disguised as Cesario: she began to look suggestively at Maria, too" (Hand 2010, 82), and a later reference to her "drawn-out affair with a married woman, an actress I continued to work with, off and on" recalls the Olivia-Viola relationship in a theatrical situation (Hand 2010, 120). These brief allusions domesticate the homoerotic.
Figure 4. llyria (US)
Figure 4. llyria (US)
More intriguing, Hand unwittingly echoes Cowden Clarke by including an incestuous closeness that evokes but downplays the homoerotic aspects of Shakespeare's play. Whereas Cowden Clarke details the intimacy achieved through the similarities and mutual dependence of Viola and Sebastian as twins, Hand creates pseudo-twins, male and female cousins born on the same day to twin fathers and both heir to an oppressive Shakespearean theatrical legacy. Maddy describes her cousin's beauty in terms that could come straight from Cowden Clarke's reports of Sebastian: "he was the most beautiful boy you had ever seen . . . Rogan looked like he'd fallen from a painting . . . His hair was reddish-gold, fine as a baby's hair, and he grew it as long as he could . . . His mouth was wide and surprisingly delicate, the only thing about him that might have seemed girlish" (Hand 2010, 11). As a result of this androgynous attractiveness, Madeline retrospectively attributes to homophobia the brutal treatment that Rogan receives from his five brothers and his domineering father:
I can see now that much of what he endured was probably the result of rampant, if unspoken, homophobia in a large family of boys and the larger tribe of male cousins. Gays weren't invented yet, not in North Yonkers anyway. You were a guy, or you were a faggot. The irony, of course, was that Rogan wasn't gay. He was in love with me, as I was with him. And that was maybe the only thing worse than being gay. (Hand 2007, 8)
With this observation, Maddy articulates the central displacement in Hand's novel, from homosexuality to incest. While Cowden Clarke's Twelfth Night novellas describe Olivia's deep involvement with her brother to anticipate her attraction to the feminine Cesario and work through the extreme mutuality of the male-female twins to prepare the comic resolution and Viola's crucial gender stabilization, Hand's novel posits and explores an even more intense relationship between Maddy and Rogan through its breach and in their reunion.
Moreover, while Cowden Clarke envisions access to Shakespeare as the culmination of girlhood in her characters and in her readers, Hand ties the cousins' entrance into mature adult identity to the painful loss of Twelfth Night. Initially Hand's heroine seeks self-expression in the high school production of Twelfth Night, where she expects — and gets — the lead role and hopes that Rogan will be cast as her soul's twin, Sebastian (Hand 2010, 63-67). However, Rogan's brilliant performance as the singer Feste marks the beginning of their separation. Hand uses their magical toy theater — destroyed after opening night, reconstructed by Rogan at the end of the novel, and, at that point, peopled with all the characters of their lives in Twelfth Night's final scene — to align the emotional resolution of her novel with the comedy's denouement.
Figure 5. Illyria (UK)
Figure 5. Illyria (UK)
At the same time their reunion dissipates the supposed incest when Rogan notes that their parents lied, that cousins can, in fact, marry (Hand 2010, 128). As Hand's novel demonstrates, Cowden Clarke's choice to give Olivia and the dislocated twins familial backgrounds of emotional and erotic intensity reverberates in revised forms within later YA novels.
In these two adaptations, performing Twelfth Night serves as the occasion for representing the enhanced emotions, confusions, and dangers of emergent female desires, as As You Like It does for Bjorkman. For Boock and Hand, however, Shakespeare's comedy also enables explorations of the anxieties surrounding how personal ambitions and family expectations conflict with young adult sexual desires, whether heterosexual or homosexual. In both novels these general concerns result in key additions to the Viola-figures' experiences that strongly resemble the choices that Cowden Clarke makes in her novellas: more extensive interactions with parents and parental substitutes such as aunts; self-discovery through sexual desire; and investment in intensely private and passionate youthful relationships.

Untangling Time

In addition to elaborating performance's role in gender and sexual identity, two other Twelfth Night YA novels rework and outstrip the temporal manipulation that Cowden Clarke initiated in her novellas. Their choices expose the challenges of chronological circularity in narrative Shakespearean adaptation, especially for historical fiction. Most strikingly, Celia Rees inverts the logic Cowden Clarke pursues: Twelfth Night's events constitute the past that leads into the subsequent adventures in Fool's Girl rather than a Shakespearean future toward which Viola and Sebastian are inexorably moving. Her heroine, Violetta, is the orphaned daughter of Orsino and Viola, which locates the narrative solidly in the aftermath of Shakespearean events. Nonetheless, the ongoing plot halts for a hundred pages so that characters — Violetta, Feste, Maria — can recount prior events (Rees 2010, 48-148). That past includes both the story of Twelfth Night and the aftermath of its closing marriages. At the same time, this novel also positions itself as the prequel to the comedy: Shakespeare actually writes Twelfth Night at the end of the novel, using the story of Violetta's mother Viola as his source. Thus, Fool's Girl neatly covers several possible temporal relations with Shakespeare's plays while setting Shakespeare himself to work in concert with his future characters, their children, and the pasts of both.
Figure 6. Fool's Girl
Figure 6. Fool's Girl
With the historical past of Illyria inspiring Shakespeare to create Twelfth Night after Violetta's own adventures, Rees constructs a narrative circularity that neatly underscores the temporal conundrum that The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines first creates: Cowden Clarke's tales obviously grow from Shakespeare's creations while narratively and imaginatively preceding them. Her novellas most intrigued their readers because, as one reviewer puts it, "we feel it impossible that his heroines could have thought, spoken, or acted otherwise than she makes them think, speak, and act in her sketches; the circumstances in which she has chosen to place their infancy and girlhood, seem fully to account for their conduct in the dramas of her great master" (Review of The Girlhood of Shakspere's Heroines [1851]). While Cowden Clarke's early adaptations imply the essential narrative circularity of the Shakespearean prequel as her invented girlhoods "[carry] out the hints afforded by the Great Poet himself" ("New Books" 1851, 51), the multiple levels of Rees' novel expose the temporal complexity implicit in all these "reversions."
Rees's novel also uses this narrative structure in ways that echo and outdo Cowden Clarke's construction of motivated but domesticated homoerotic desires. Interweaving past with current narration acknowledges the homoerotic implications of the play's interactions but distances them from Rees's own narrative. Violetta's flight to London with Feste, her efforts to engage Shakespeare's help, and her plan to perform on stage are all motivated by her Uncle Sebastian's usurpation of Orsino's dukedom. His villainy is in turn driven partly by his wife Olivia's homo-erotically charged relationship with her sister-in-law Viola: "My Lady Olivia and Viola were as close as sisters, closer. They were always together . . . They lived in each other's eyes and could not bear to be separated for even a day" (Rees 2010, 51). Olivia's death after following Viola's ghost off a balcony essentially confirms this implied homoerotic relationship. Sebastian's homoerotic alliance with Antonio also continues, with the pirate aiding his palace coup. In essence, Rees's novel imagines that the homoerotic dynamics in Shakespeare's play persist into the lives of the two families formed at the comedy's conclusion.
However, all these same-sex tensions are confined to the elder generation: vilified in Sebastian's relationship with Antonio, killed off in Olivia and Viola, and chronologically distanced from the core narration. In much the same way that Cowden Clarke implies homoerotic attraction to Sebastian so that he can rescue Viola and restore her to heterosexual propriety, Rees uses the homoerotic past as the background conflict, both exploited by the vengeful Malvolio and "cured" by Violetta's appropriately heterosexual and dynastic relationship with Stephano, Sebastian and Olivia's son. Violetta's restoration to power through marriage wholly accords with Linda Christian-Smith's contention that romance decisively contributes to adolescent female identities and their access to power in YA fiction (Christian-Smith 1987).
Like Rees, Sophie Masson explores the consequences of the thwarted steward's promised vengeance; Malvolio's Revenge (2005) is named for the sequel play that Theo Frentham has created. Twelfth Night figures both in the sequel-play and in the adventures that the major protagonist Toby encounters because of Isabelle. In part because her mother and father played roles in an amateur Twelfth Night, Isabelle turns to performance, on stage and off, to pursue the truth about her parents' deaths. Despite lifting the names of Shakespeare's contemporaries and offering frequent allusions to the play, Masson's novel concentrates on this past mystery, set in nineteenth-century New Orleans high society. Isabelle's father, it turns out, killed himself to escape being blackmailed because his wife Violette was the natural daughter of the original lord of Illyria and a Creole nurse. Isabelle's role-playing resonates with her hidden heritage as the daughter of a woman performing a part on and offstage, reinforcing the combined value of theatrical performance and romance in female identity formation.
Figure 7. Malvolio's Revenge
Figure 7. Malvolio's Revenge
Masson's novel also illuminates the intertextual nature of current Shakespearean YA adaptation beyond the blending of drama and fiction evident in all the adaptations explored thus far. Even though the novel differs from Cowden Clarke's gynocentric adaptation in adopting the youthful, love-struck male perspective of Toby to explore the mysterious girlhood of Isabelle, Masson strongly parallels Cowden Clarke in interweaving not only literary forms but actual sources. Positing Cowden Clarke's sexual naiveté and noting the resemblances between the novellas' sexual misadventures and nineteenth-century novels, George Gross argues that Cowden Clarke's "imagination [was] set in motion by her reading" (Gross 1972, 44). According to Gross, Cowden Clarke's encounters with Samuel Richardson's Sir Charles Grandison and Maria Edgeworth's stirring novels inspired her adaptational strategies. For example, he argues that Viola's near escape from sexual predation signals Clarke's "delighted fascination" with the imagery of ravishment in Richardson's novel, which she first encountered as a young girl (Gross 1972, 45). Cowden Clarke's echoing of these sources suggests that adapting Shakespearean girlhoods may derive from the creative intersection of the adapters' own early reading and the impetus provided by Shakespeare's dramatic characters and situations.
While Cowden Clarke herself never directly acknowledges this convergence of sources in her adaptations, Masson ultimately does. The overt canonical presence of Shakespeare in Malvolio's Revenge hides the influences of Masson's early reading, which she only acknowledges in her final author's note: "I was also inspired by one of my favourite childhood books, the wonderful nineteenth-century French historical novel, Capitaine Fracasse, by Theophile Gautier, which I read many, many times!" (Masson 2005, 327). Her account identifies Shakespearean adaptation as a process as much tied to the author's girlhood reading as to the adolescence of the characters envisioned. Gautier's Capitaine Fracasse, hidden within Masson's novel, parallels the concealed ancestry of Isabelle, whose name comes from "this rollicking, romantic novel." Isabelle's hazardous Creole heritage is embedded within the faded aristocracy of her family and home just as Gautier's novel, which inspires the lively, peripatetic plot of Malvolio's Revenge, is masked by the cultural aristocracy of Shakespeare. In effect, Masson deploys the narrative pleasures of an adventure tale within a Shakespearean frame much as Cowden Clarke draws on her youthful reading pleasures to flesh out the girlhoods of Viola, Olivia, and other Shakespearean women. As a result, Masson imbues her adaptation of Twelfth Night with hair's breadth escapes and dangers that rival Cowden Clarke's invented perils in "Viola; The Twin." Like Cowden Clarke, current YA novelists expand the horizons of their reversions of Shakespeare through the lens of their own reading, but, perhaps because of the long history of novelizing Shakespeare, YA novelists like Masson reflect more self-consciously on their influences than Cowden Clarke does.
Masson's creative blending of setting, Shakespeare, and childhood adventure story underscores a recurrent feature of contemporary YA Shakespearean adaptations: the merging of sources. In "Historical Fiction Mash-Ups: Broadening Appeal by Mixing Genres," Melissa Rabey argues that the effect in YA fiction is more collaborative than postmodern because the creative intermingling does not flatten or erase the original works thus invoked; these novelists are "more focused on simply combining unlikely elements to tell a richer, more complex story" (Rabey 2010, 40). Neither postmodern pastiche nor fan-fiction, Shakespearean young adult novels celebrate the playful cunning of their combinations, often undertaken to enrich Shakespeare's dramatic form with more extensive narrative contexts. Moreover, as in the case of Stephens and McCallum's assessment of Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies (2002), "This is a textuality which demolishes museum walls, breaking down distinctions between high culture and low culture texts, and reminding readers that they inhabit a culture of great complexity, capable of making meanings in many different ways" (Stephens and McCallum 1998, 267). Such reversions can even more pointedly interrogate the crucial roles of gender and sexual desire in the girlhoods of their heroines.

Blending Sources, Bending Genders

By openly interweaving Twelfth Night with The Importance of Being Earnest, Lev A. C. Rosen's YA adaptation of Twelfth Night supports Stephens and McCallum's suggestion that combining sources can result in "reversions" that explore more subversive impulses (Stephens and McCallum 1998, 255). While the novel incorporates many Twelfth Night plot elements — Violet's cross-dressing as her twin Ashton, her plan to study engineering with the Duke of Orsino at Illyria Academy, and the resulting romantic confusions — it also clearly invokes Wilde's play: Orsino's first name is Earnest, Jack Feste is Ashton's friend, and Orsino's ward Cecily enacts much of Olivia's role. For Rosen, Shakespeare's Twelfth Night provides Viola's choice to cross-dress so she can enter an all-male environment and the understated but explicit relationship between Sebastian and Antonio; Wilde supplies the powerful, if superficial, authority of his female characters and the historical context of his homosexuality and experiences of persecution. This combination allows Rosen to enrich gender construction and interweave feminism and homoeroticism.
Figure 8.  All Men of Genius
Figure 8. All Men of Genius
Through the lens of gender inequity, Rosen explores homoeroticism both straightforwardly in Ashton's relationship with the coachman Antony, an openly homosexual version of Sebastian and Antonio from Twelfth Night, and more problematically with the Duke's unwilling attraction to Violet as "Ashton." Violet's engineering interests enable her anachronistic acceptance of homosexuality:
Violet had long known about her brother's inversion, but didn't particularly care about it. She'd always thought that people were like gears: one could spin alone and accomplish something minor, but when two gears fit together perfectly, and rotated in time, they could do so much more. And gears did not have genders. They simply fit or they didn't. Ashton had tried aligning himself with many other gears. Thus far, none had fit quite right, but Violet was sure that one would eventually. (Rosen 2011, 49)
Violet's own unusual gender identification leads her to take an enlightened twenty-first-century Western view of Ashton's right to love whom he pleases, despite the social obstacles of class differences or sexual mores.
In fact, by blending his sources, Rosen yokes the constraints that Violet encounters with the difficulties facing homosexuals. The complexities of Viola's erotic dilemma propel Rosen's Violet beyond the shallow heteronormative views of Wilde's heroines, while the historical account of Wilde's homosexuality and its consequences, in turn, enhances Rosen's representation of homoerotic relationships. Violet first recognizes the injustice of Ashton's situation when he explains that "I am discreet when I need to be. Everyone may know of my proclivities, but I do not advertise them. I do not hold hands with Antony in public, or propose marriage to him. That is the way it is with men like me, and the way it will always be" (Rosen 2011, 269). When Violet compares her defiance of gender proprieties and Ashton's situation, she connects his difficulties overtly with her own goals: "Ashton had no way of fighting for his equality as she did. If he were to perform some grand gesture, as she was currently undertaking, it would still never give him the public acceptance he deserved. It would only result in his being ostracized and most likely imprisoned" (Rosen 2011, 269). While Ashton's need for discretion and his risk of social and legal punishment resonate with Wilde's biography, Rosen also exploits the historical distance to remind his readers indirectly that feminism's achievements potentially foreshadow public acceptance of homosexuality. After all, Ashton's assumptions about the way things "will always be" have proven incorrect.
However, this expansive acceptance of gender equity and, by extension, of varied sexual desires is complicated by Duke Orsino's confused response to "Ashton" and ultimate marriage to Violet. Rosen's Orsino finds "himself oddly drawn to Ashton Adams, not just intellectually, but physically" (Rosen 2011, 102). He wrestles with his own feelings, especially when he finds himself kissing "Ashton" after a heated scientific debate:
He breathed in the silence, frustrated beyond belief at this arrogant student, and pulled at his collar. And then they were kissing. Ernest couldn't say how they got there . . . He had kissed a man. He had kissed a student. He didn't know which was more distressing. (Rosen 2011, 224-25)
Later, the discovery that "Ashton" is Violet and her marriage to Orsino domesticate this homoeroticism, yielding yet another heteronormative resolution. Nonetheless, Rosen's novel shows that enlarging the narrative tactics to include overt blending of sources enables adaptors not only to reflect more deeply on the complex influences on female agency but also to enlarge those insights.
These Twelfth Night novels embrace a wide range of approaches to Shakespeare's comedy, but all five explore experiencing desire and establishing gender and identity as key features of adolescence. Just as important, the majority take Twelfth Night's cross-dressing and overt/covert homosexual attractions as the occasion for re-imagining both gender identity and potentially transgressive sexualities. In doing so, they unwittingly expand upon a constellation of concerns and strategies first narratively explored in Cowden Clarke's "Viola; the Twin," much as The Flip Side and My Invented Life develop the narrative possibilities Cowden Clarke recognizes in "Rosalind and Celia: the Friends."

Women Owning the Epilogue

Recent Shakespearean YA adaptations of As You Like It and Twelfth Night draw on several core concerns in female identity formation that Cowden Clarke identifies and elaborates in her novellas. The narrative elements that Cowden Clarke singles out — like the important role of intimate female friendship in As You Like It or familial intimacy and loss in Twelfth Night — prove central for YA adaptations and, presumably, for YA readers. Even more important, the cross-dressed disguises and implied homoeroticism in the two comedies challenge both Cowden Clarke and today's Shakespearean young adult novelists. Cowden Clarke's deployment of gender to defuse homoerotic desires that she feels compelled to include because of their centrality in Shakespeare's comedies underscores comparable strategies in more recent YA novels. Narrative additions, both in Cowden Clarke's novellas and in current YA fiction, respond to these issues in the plays even though both perspectives and storytelling strategies have shifted.
Current YA novelists also realize the potential in narrative focus and form that Cowden Clarke first identifies. They reach beyond third-person limited omniscient narration to include first-person narrators and multiple narrators; they extend the temporal constraints that Cowden Clarke embraced to write sequels, prequels, concurrent narratives, and even telling combinations of the three. These novels also openly represent their protagonists' interactions with homosexuality in ways that contrast with Cowden Clarke's carefully limited expression and sidestepping of those issues. Although these novels build on the very situations and issues Cowden Clarke first singles out, their multiple perspectives, shifting narrations, historical mash-ups, and homoeroticism 'depart from Cowden Clarke's narrow focus.
Moreover, these YA Shakespeares move beyond Cowden Clarke's groundbreaking fictional childhoods of Shakespeare's women with their own narrative innovations. Current adaptations use Shakespeare to characterize gender as performance and, in turn, to investigate the implications of those performances. Some of these extend the scope of adapting As You Like It and Twelfth Night so that alternative sexual and gender identities have their own narrative space. For example, Roz's repeated narrations of her imagined alternative events in Bjorkman's My Invented Life enable her to grasp the different sexual orientations possible for herself, her sister, and others. Other new narrative choices, specifically the manipulations of time, expose how the temporal paradox of Cowden Clarke's novellas recurs and expands in more recent YA adaptations. Rees's and Masson's historical novels even use their temporal relocations to distance their heroines from their source comedy's homoeroticism, as Cowden Clarke does. Moreover, Hand and Masson incorporate but revise Cowden Clarke's strategy of displacing homoeroticism. The incest in Hand's Illyria and the interracial parentage in Masson's novel both appear as sexual offenses within the social context of their narratives, but both prove to be illusory transgressions: neither the incestuous love nor Isabelle's mixed blood actually pose problems, either in the closure of these novels or the external worlds of their readers. In effect, these novelists displace homoeroticism, as Cowden Clarke does, but they in turn dismiss those dislocations. While these eventual "normalizations" only imply acceptance of homosexual identity, A. C. Rosen's All Men of Genius most actively deploys its narrative innovation — explicit source blending — to engage with sexual as well as gender difference. From the hidden influences present in Cowden Clarke's tale to the belated acknowledgement of source blending in Masson's novel to the overt presentation of Wilde and Shakespeare comingled in Rosen's adaptation, "reversions" that blend sources increasingly open up the potential for creatively expanding the combined effects of gender and sexual interest in young adulthood.
All these narrative developments, and even the occasional concurrent restrictions on sexual identity, build upon Cowden Clarke's initial design in writing fictions about the girlhood of female characters for young women readers. In her lifetime, these popular fictions undoubtedly served several purposes from offering a sensationalist, though essentially conservative sex education (Gross 1978) to identifying Shakespeare as a superior father figure for young Victorian female readers (Barber 2013). In our time, however, Cowden Clarke's novellas are most important as the invaluable context for today's young adult Shakespeare novels — as the background for their narrative choices, the window on their complex interactions with history and perspective, and the index of the cultural pressures and social changes in their accounts of "girlhood."


1.   See Dianne E. Berg's "'I think nothing, my lord': Emptiness, Absence, and Abused Innocence in 'Ophelia, the Rose of Elsinore'" (2014) for a thorough critique of the approach that Cowden Clarke takes.
2.   I would like to thank my research assistant Andrew Wall for his careful reading and notes on these novellas, which have been an ongoing resource in my work on Cowden Clarke's Girlhood, and my research assistants Maddy Wendell and Rachel Bird, for their able proofreading of this essay.
3.   I elaborate on these arguments about Cowden Clarke and YA fiction more generally in "Reviving Cowden Clarke: Rewriting Shakespeare's Heroines in Young Adult Fiction" (Osborne 2015).
4.   In "From Romance to Magical Realism: Limits and Possibilities in Gay Adolescent Fiction" (2009), Thomas Crisp identifies such heteronormativity more broadly in gay teen fiction.
5.   Like Flora's punitive seduction of the gossip, this incident is also eliminated from the 1884 collection of abbreviated tales.
6.   Another YA adaptation of Twelfth Night, Michelle Mankin's Love Evolution — a contemporary rock-and-roll adaptation — was self-published in 2013.


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