Laura's Reviews > Medieval Prostitution

Medieval Prostitution by Jacques Rossiaud
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Nov 29, 07

bookshelves: history
Read in November, 2007

An interesting read, although it does get a little heavily into intellectual history, which I didn't expect. However, that is one of the strengths of the book - Rossiaud places prostitution in its intellectual context, and traces changing morals, which allows us to understand the changing attitudes and actions towards prostitutes and prostitution. One minor complaint: I thought the book would provide an overview of medieval prostitution, but the title is misleading. It should more accurately be called "Medieval Prostitution in 13-16th century France with a few side-trips to Italy" - there is nothing in here about the rest of Europe. The focus is largely on the 15th century - how we get to the level of permissiveness and integration found from 1430-1480, and the sudden decline in that liberty in the 16th century. Early medieval prostitutes are not examined at all. Still, in its focus of examining the social mores surrounding prostitution in this time period, and the changing social functions of prostitutes, the book is a success.
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