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Prostitute Narratives from the Eighteenth Century

Edited by: Laura J. Rosenthal

Publication Date: August 30, 2008
264pp • Paperback / PDF / ePub
ISBN: 9781551114699 / 1551114690

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This anthology makes available for the first time a selection of narratives by and about prostitutes in the eighteenth century. These memoirs, some written by and some about eighteenth-century prostitutes, offer important insights into female experience and class and gender roles in the period. Portraying the lives of women in both success and hardship, written in voices ranging from repentant to bawdy, the memoirs show the complexity of the lives of the "nightwalkers." For eighteenth-century readers, as Laura Rosenthal writes in her introduction, these memoirs "offered sensual and sentimental journeys, glimpses into high life and low life, and relentless confrontations with the explosive power of money and the vulnerability of those without it." Offering a range of narratives from the conservative and reformist to the unabashedly libertine, this book provides a fascinating alternative look into eighteenth-century culture.


"Nightwalkers is an affordable and useful anthology that would be a fine addition to libraries and classes dedicated to exploring how constructions of women and prostitution were rendered in the long eighteenth century. These narratives quite convincingly prove that the subgenre of the prostitute narrative is an important one to consider" - Linda E. Merians, Eighteenth-Century Fiction

"From the rollicking tale of Sally Salisbury to the moralizing narratives of prostitute reform, the texts expertly presented in this timely collection offer renewed incentive to think through the often counter-intuitive histories of sexuality and class in eighteenth-century Britain. These entertaining popular texts raise fundamental questions about canonical works such as Defoe's Roxana or Richardson's Clarissa. The importance of these prose fictions will be apparent to anyone working on the history of the novel or the theatre, and this collection has the potential to alter how a wide range of literary texts are currently taught.  Laura Rosenthal's judicious selection of texts and her careful annotation will open up new avenues for debate about the intersection of sex, labour and representation not only in eighteenth-century studies, but also in the analysis of British social history more generally." - Daniel O'Quinn, University of Guelph

Laura J. Rosenthal is Professor of English at the University of Maryland College Park. She is the author of Infamous Commerce: Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (Cornell University Press, 2006).

Academics please note that this is a title classified as having a restricted allocation of complimentary copies. While the availability of bound complimentary copies is restricted to desk copies only, electronic complimentary copies are readily available for those professors wishing to consider this title for possible course adoption. Should you choose to adopt the book after viewing an electronic copy we will be happy to provide a bound desk copy.

Table of Contents: [Back to Top]

Captain Charles Walker, The Life, Intrigues, and Adventures Of the Celebrated Sally Salisbury

Anonymous, The Juvenile Adventures of Miss Kitty F[isher]

Anonymous, From The Histories of Some of the Penitents in the Magdalen-House

Martin Madan, An Account of the Death of F.S. Who Died April 1763, Aged Twenty-Six Years

Anonymous, The Life of Miss Fanny Davies, the Celebrated Modern Amazon

Appendix: More Prostitute Narratives from the Eighteenth Century

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2008 • 264pp • Paperback • 9781551114699 / 1551114690

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Broadview Press acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund, and also acknowledges the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. Freehand Books, an imprint of Broadview, acknowledges the support of the Canadian Council of the Arts.