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Erotic Exchanges: The World of Elite Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century Paris (Anglais) Relié – 6 décembre 2013

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10 internautes sur 10 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Highly recommend! 14 janvier 2014
Par classicmaiden - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is an expertly written Academic work, looking at elite prostitution as a form of work and placing the importance of this work in our understanding of women's history and sexuality in eighteenth-century Paris, both culturally and socially. The police had a department called Département des femmes galantes dedicated to reporting the lives of dame entretenue (kept women). It was a way for them to avoid scandal, which also meant that their focus was not so much in helping women in the Demimonde, but controlling it and wielding power over it.

At this time, it was important for girls and women of all walks of life, to work, to be wallflowers and then get successfully married. In many cases when the girls and women got deflowered before their marriage, it meant they could lose their job or/and not get successfully married. Virginity and youth was revered, and that is also why so many kept women and prostitutes were teenagers when they first started out - some not more than twelve years of age. There were many parents who were struggling financially who sold their girls to prostitution, often against their girl's will. In this time, parents had enormous power and rights over their children and the police rarely stepped in. Even if what the parents were doing was illegal; it wasn't always a question whether something was illegal or not, but more about avoiding scandal and making sure things were running smoothly, without too much notice. (It was surprising to see first hand through the reports the amount of network the police had and how much they actually knew.)

When a girl was successfully enrolled with a Madam, the goal was to find a patron they could become a mistress for. It meant security in that the girl would have a monthly salary, a household, and would have a "degree of agency and a potential for financial success." It also meant that their bodies were not "common to all", as was the case for a "fille du monde, or a prostitute". Many were theater performers and some worked in fashion, and would sometimes find patrons this way; the salaries for dances, for example, at the Opéra or at Comédie Française, were incredibly low and they struggled. There is so much more I could say about this book, but Nina Kushner did an excellent job of explaining the central arguments of the book in the beginning of the book.

Throughout the book, you come to understand how life was socially and culturally for these women at this time in history. If you're interested in women's history and social history, I would highly recommend this book. Though a word of warning, this is an academic work which means that the book can be a bit of a challenge and not so accessible to read. It's an interesting subject, or it can be if written well. I think Nina Kushner excelled at being very clear throughout the book. She weaves quite a complicated tale, but it felt very level-headed and understandable in the writing, I thought.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Erotic Exchanges 15 mars 2014
Par Geonomeak - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
A very scholarly and detailed investigation of the circumstances that the more exclusive kept women of 18th century Paris. I had no idea that the Parisian police kept track of so many women and their patrons, predating the Stasi and our current NSA, and it is amazing that so many of these records have survived. The role of women in that society and in those times was quite precarious and in many ways simply awful. This book discusses the many aspects of the few available means of survival for some women. It was a surprise to find that the Theatre, Opera and Ballet played such a role in in grooming and preparing a 'resume' for young women to enter into liaisons with upper class 'gentlemen'. It put a fresh light on the works of Degas and Lautrec et al.
This book does not read like I thought it would based upon the title (and ... 21 juin 2015
Par Bob Miller - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book does not read like I thought it would based upon the title (and cover which is adapted for the subject). Rather, at times it reads like a matter-of-fact accounting authored by a surveillance agency hired to spy on an illicit activity whose membership more closely resembles an under-cover agent getting too close to the subjects. Perhaps the limited recorded data (reports generated by the police) prevented the author from being a little more descriptive; but you would think she could have found more sources to supplement these dry parts of the book. Having said that, I was most impressed with Kushner's theories regarding "sexual capital" and the various means through which it was achieved. The perceived value of virginity and brevity of sexual capital, and how some prostitutes could "milk" and extend the value (multiple patrons, developing networks, etc.), was well covered. She fairly discusses the stigmas and problems associated with the profession (including STD's) and still manages to provide a glimpse into the "heart love" experienced by a few woman in the business. In short, she nicely covers the origins of the girls, the pitfalls that exist and the benefit of the "Demimonde". Finally, this book helped me to better understand why an organized system of hierarchy not only served to protect prostitutes from the perils of street-walking, it also enabled them to be in control of their bodies (sexual capital). I think woman should have this right under all circumstances. I really liked this book.
2 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Two Stars 5 octobre 2014
Par John Pike - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Text book boring. First 1/3 of book just copied all the arcane laws that intertwined in the 18th. Century.
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