Lower Class Prostitutes and the Law

Literary Representations
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




Prostitution and Authority: A Question of Morality

Believe it or not, there are many similarities between prostitutes and authority figures. Both are social constructs, created out of a seeming necessity and desire. Yet, for hundreds of years, the question of morality has been raised time and time again on the subject of prostitution. Indeed, both prostitution and authority (the police in particular) have found themselves to be in effect, a social contradiction, emphatically supported by some and decidedly rejected and looked down upon by others. There is no question that one could write pages upon pages about the social history and acceptance of both prostitution and the justice system. Prostitution has always been regarded as a question of morality, and authority figures as a means of checking the spread of "morally tainted" prostitutes.

Hopefully, this portion of the site will help to reinforce the idea that there was a different class of prostitute for every class in Paris at the time. I will be focusing specifically on lower class prostitutes, and their function in Parisian society, as well as their relation to authority.

In these pages, you'll find an in-depth look at the relationship between the police and the lower class prostitutes in mid 19th century Paris, the time of Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. This site contains Hugo's own views on authority during the time of Les Mis, the realities of the police in Paris at the time, as well as a closer look into the lives of lower class prostitutes

Feel free to peruse the site...and don't worry, it's all G (OK, well, maybe PG) rated. So, without further ado, here are the Old French Whores!

In this site you will find:

Representations of Authority in Les Miserables
The Hierarchy of Authority in !9th C. Paris
The Arresting of Prostitutes
Lower Class Prostitutes v. Courtesans and Lorettes
Prostitutes in Prison
Life in the Brothel
The Life of a Streetwalker

and much more! Have fun!

Go on to the first page about Jean Valjean!

I'm not a prostitute, but I did make this webpage. Questions? Comments? Email me!