Writing with a Vengeance: The Countess de Chabrillan's Rise from Prostitution

Writing with a Vengeance: The Countess de Chabrillan's Rise from Prostitution

by Carol A. Mossman

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Writing with a Vengeance examines the life and works of a nineteenth-century French courtesan, Céleste Vénard, later the Countess de Chabrillan. A notorious Paris courtesan, Chabrillan married into the nobility, taught herself to write (penning two series of memoirs) and, upon being widowed, wrote novels to support herself - ten, between 1857 and 1885. These novels and memoirs constitute exceptional literary and historical documents, particularly as very few sex workers before the twentieth century have left written records of their lives.

Writing with a Vengeance intertwines the courtesan's autobiographical account of the horrors of her life on the streets with that era's political, medical, and cultural discourses surrounding prostitution. Though French society both silenced and refused to pardon the prostitute, Carol Mossman's literary analysis of Chabrillan's novels contends that it is through the process of writing itself that she arrived at self-forgiveness and ultimately refashioned for her damaged self a new identity and narrative.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442697195
Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date: 10/03/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 224
File size: 3 MB

About the Author

Carol Mossman is Professor of French and Director of the School of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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