Les Grandes Horizontales

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9780747562214: Les Grandes Horizontales

Marie Duplessis, Cora Pearl, La Paiva and La Presidente, the four women whose lives and legends are examined in this fascinating book, were all representatives of the golden age of the French courtesan. In the reign of Emperor Napoleon III the opulent and pampered demi-monde became almost indistinguishable from the haut-monde, with mythical reputations growing up around its most glittering and favoured celebrities. Marie Duplessis became the prototype of the virtuous courtesan when Alexandre Dumas Fils portrayed her as Marguerite Gautier in La dame aux Camelias. Apollonie Sabatier, known as La Presidente, put men of letters and other arts at ease amidst the gracious manners and bawdy talk of her salon and was immortalised by sculptor August Clesinger and poet Charles Baudelaire. Through prejudiced eyes, the Russian Jew La Paiva appeared intent to prey on rich young men of Paris. Covetous onlookers resented her ability to amass and display great wealth, most notably in the design and building of her opulent hotel in the Avenue of the Champs Elysees. The English beauty who called herself Cora Pearl was another 'foreign threat', with her athletic physique, sixty horses and ability 'to make bored men laugh', including Prince Napoleon. Virginia Rounding disentangles myth from reality in her lively, thought-provoking study. Nineteenth-century Paris comes to life and so do its most distinguished and declasse inhabitants.

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About the Author:

Virginia Rounding is a translator and writer living in London. This is her first book.

From The New Yorker:

Nineteenth-century Paris was famous for its highly formalized system of prostitution. The élite of this demimonde were courtesans who entertained aristocrats, artists, and writers such as Dumas and Baudelaire. Rounding focusses on four such cocottes—Apollonie Sabatier, Marie Duplessis, the Englishwoman Cora Pearl, and a Russian Jew known as La Païva—paying particular attention to the legends that surrounded them. Cora Pearl was said to have had herself served up on a silver platter, decorated only with parsley; after La Païva's death, her besotted husband, a Prussian count, reportedly had her embalmed in a glass jar in his castle. Rounding presents a seductive vision of women whose talent for social, financial, and sexual machination allowed them to navigate Second Empire Paris, and whose acts of self-creation and the works of art they inspired have endured longer than the details of their lives.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker

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Virginia Rounding
Editore: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2003)
ISBN 10: 0747562210 ISBN 13: 9780747562214
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Descrizione libro Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 0747562210

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Rounding, Virginia
Editore: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2003)
ISBN 10: 0747562210 ISBN 13: 9780747562214
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Descrizione libro Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, 2003. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110747562210

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