Ed. by Havelock Ellis
London: Vizetelly, [1890?]
The subject of this play is Mary Frith, known as Moll Cutpurse the notorious pickpocket and fence, who challenged contemporary gender roles by wearing men’s clothing and regularly smoking a pipe. This edition, published by Vizetelly & Co in their Mermaid Series of reprinted plays, is edited by Havelock Ellis, the co-author of the first English text on homosexuality Sexual Inversion (1897). The publication of the Mermaid series was interrupted in 1888 when Vizetelly was prosecuted for obscenity for publishing Zola’s the Earth; taking advantage of this scandal, the Mermaid texts were alluringly advertised as “unexpurgated”.