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The Book of the Courtesans: A Catalogue of Their Virtues Hardcover – 22 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; Reprint edition (22 Feb. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333900545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333900543
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.6 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,792 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Her prose drips with languorous appreciation of these voluptuaries... I intend to give a copy to all my singleton friends. -- Rowan Pelling, Mail on Sunday

‘A eulogy to femininity, an essay on what sets certain women apart …Surrender to it: The Book of the Courtesans is as seductive as the women it describes’ -- Lucy Moore, Sunday Times

‘Chock-full of shimmering facts about a particularly captivating breed of early celebrity’ -- Observer

‘Packed with terrific anecdotes. Griffin’s heroines are often larger than life, with appetites to match' -- Edwina Currie, New Statesman

‘The fabled splendours of the courtesan lifestyle are vividly depicted in Susan Griffin’s fascinating book’ -- Val Hennessy, Daily Mail

Book Description

An unprecedented, provocative look at the extraordinary world of the great courtesans, from Veronica Franco, who graced the palazzi of sixteenth-century Venice, and Madame de Pompadour, the arbiter of all things fashionable at Versailles, to La Belle Otero of the Grand Boulevards of fin-de-siecle Paris, who frequently sported jewel-encrusted garters, and Marion Davies who took Hollywood by storm. The Book of the Courtesans enticingly illustrates the intricacies of their lavish lifestyles and their incredible life stories and further reveals how these cunning women seized the opportunity to become the West's first female liberators, free to choose their own lovers and command remarkable respect. 'A manifesto for flirtation. After all, the qualities that the courtesans exploited to achieve influence and riches are still those that are most likely to ensnare a man today. I intend to give a copy to all my singleton friends' Rowan Pelling, Mail on Sunday 'A eulogy to femininity, an essay on what sets certain women apart. Surrender to it: The Book of the Courtesans is as seductive as the women it describes' Lucy Moore, Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A very good book, although it has it's faults. The minds and deeds of the courtesan, has to be an overwhelming subject, especially when writing about something that happened well over one hundred years ago. Although we still have these women in a slightly different mode today, the psychology of recognition by others is a hard one to compile. This book is a brave attempt to explain why, what, and where these women did what they did. Temper this with disease and illness as they plied their trade and lives, makes for an interesting social situation.
A good read for the serious subject reader, no risque stuff here, just the simple way of these ladies making a living at the expense of men who should have known better.... and society accepting it readily, but circumstance dictated the situation in those days, and this book tries to explain that.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mrs G. Richards on 26 Feb. 2003
Format: Hardcover
I absolutely loved this book! It has been said that the term courtesan conjures up two images: firstly of rich, pampered women who lived in luxury and without any thought for others and secondly, beautiful and strong women who have approached their lifestyle with hard business heads and beautiful faces. I think they are both - beautiful as well as head strong and often very shrewd. The most fascinating aspect of the book is that many of the women mentioned were born into poverty and, sadly, many died the same way, and often at a young age. I could not read this book fast enough and at the same time dreaded it ending.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1 review
This is the book.... 30 July 2011
By Lotus Blossom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been looking for a book that went into detail about the lives of the Courtesans - how they lived, their impact on society, etc - having read Simply Irresistible by Ellen T. White I found myself wanting more. While scanning through amazon.com one day, looking for more books about Courtesans I came across The Book of the Courtesans by Susan Griffin. At first I though it was a love novel but as I read the description I realized it was not a love novel but a non-fiction book about the lives and times of some of the worlds greatest Courtesans. So I ordered it, and it took what seemed like for ever to arrive, until I realized that it was being shipped from England. I've just started to read this book and find myself completely fascinated and captivated. The stories about many of the different Courtesans are well developed, showing how much research and time the author spent on this book. I would highly recommended this book to any woman, who longs find the balance between being feminine and a feminist.
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