FREN 4474 Venal Muses: Prostitution in 19th C French Literature (Spring: 3 )
Prostitution was an important topic in the art and literature of 19th-century France. Prostitutes of all types (martyrs, avengers, seducers), swarmed the pages of classic French novels from Hugo to Zola, and they undressed on canvases by Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Degas. This course examines the representation of prostitutes in 19th-century France, analyzing the fascination it held for novelists and artists alike. What social anxieties were conveyed by this obsession? Did prostitutes’ idiosyncratic lifestyle destine them to special attention? What was their role in creating romantic, realist or naturalist aesthetics? How did the workers of the “world’s oldest profession” come to illustrate the idea of modernity?
Instructor(s): Larysa Smirnova
Last Updated: 18-Oct-17