Lorettes and society
Class Prostitutes and the Law
Representations in Les Miserables
Realities of Authority in Paris
Brothels and Streetwalkers
The Privileged Class: Courtesans
Defining the courtesan
Courtesans in reality
Before the Mirror, Edouard
Manet, 1876. For more on this image click
was in many ways the balancing force for Hugo, his political and moral
dichotomy, as well as his opposite in representations of prostitution.
Through his own use of a contrasting archetype to that of Hugo's fallen
woman, Balzac argued against the decadence and materialism which he
believed bourgeoisie society and courtesans represented.
|Balzac's political stance
as a conservative legitimist put him at distinct odds with Hugo's
democratic republicanism. This antithesis continues into their depictions
of prostitution, with Balzac's archetype being that of the decadent
and pampered courtesan.
By looking at the work of Balzac and Hugo together, it is possible
to gain greater insight into the role of prostitution in society and
the interactions between prostitutes and that society.
For information about Balzac's archetype, click