Courtesans

Objects of Consumption and Opulence

Literary Representations
Hugo
Balzac
Lorettes and society

Lower Class Prostitutes and the Law
Representations in Les Miserables
Realities of Authority in Paris
Brothels and Streetwalkers


The Privileged Class: Courtesans

Defining the courtesan
Visual representations
Courtesans in reality

 

Bibliogrpahy

 

Courtesans were never short on lovers. Though many of them also had other professions, mainly in the theaters or dance halls, they did not need to work out of fear of someday being desolate. Courtesans were some of the wealthier people of the time and this was largely due to the fact that men were in constant demand of what they offered.

When a man took on a courtesan it was a status symbol as well as a way to engage in sexual acts. Because courtesans were often very well educated they could hold up an argument with most men. They were intelligent and well taught in all areas of daily life.

Courtesans were found all over Paris because they were in constant demand. They were a symbol of richness for any man. Oddly enough men found with courtesans what they did not allow their own wives to have. Men kept their own wives demure and docile while they spent a great deal of their time with courtesans who were certainly none of the above. A fiery temper was actually an asset for a courtesan, men liked to find a female companion with pizzazz who was smart and of course beautiful, while they took wives who came from wealthy families as wives.

Courtesans had wealth and affluence as well as being objects of consumption. It was partially due to the wealth and affluence of these women that men consumed what it was that they had to offer. They were never worried about going out of work. Even when they aged and perhaps lost some of their previous beauty and fire they either tuned to the elderly set of gentlemen or retired and lived in luxury. Sometimes they opened a salon and became well known and respected.

Throughout the nineteenth century courtesans remained objects of consumption and opulence. Though their profession was looked down upon it thrived simply because they embodied everything that the men of that time wanted.

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