Polishing the Public Sphere: Courtesans and Female Virtue in Eighteenth-Century British Print Culture

Date

2013-08

Authors

Merritt, Lisa D.

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Abstract

Throughout the latter decades of the eighteenth century, popular print culture was a central arena for the negotiation of competing societal discourses. As the cultural narratives of elite libertine enlightenment and middle-class propriety vied for cultural dominance, their respective constructions of women, of acceptable femininity, and of female sexuality became a point of significant contention. This project traces the changing dynamics of that struggle for cultural hegemony through the changing depiction of elite courtesans and female sexuality in popular print culture.

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Keywords

Gender, Sexuality, Print culture, Courtesans, England, Eighteenth century, London

Citation

Merritt, L. D. (2013). <i>Polishing the public sphere: Courtesans and female virtue in eighteenth-century British print culture</i> (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University-San Marcos, San Marcos, Texas.

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