Common Women Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England

ISBN-10: 0195124987
ISBN-13: 9780195124989
Edition: 1998 (Reprint)
Authors: Ruth Mazo Karras
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Description: "Commom women" in medieval England were prostitutes, whose distinguishingfeature was not that they took money for sex but that they belonged to all menin common. Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England tellsthe stories of these  More...

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Book details

List price: $56.00
Copyright year: 1998
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 4/23/1998
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 232
Size: 9.21" wide x 6.10" long x 0.71" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

"Commom women" in medieval England were prostitutes, whose distinguishingfeature was not that they took money for sex but that they belonged to all menin common. Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England tellsthe stories of these women's lives: their entrance into the trade because ofpoor job and marriage prospects or because of seduction or rape; theirexperiences as streetwalkers, brothel workers or the medieval equivalent of callgirls; their customers, from poor apprentices to priests to wealthy foreignmerchants; and their relations with those among whom they lived.Common Women crosses the boundary from social to cultural history by asking notonly about the experiences of prostitutes but also about the meaning ofprostitution in medieval culture. The teachings of the church attributed bothlust and greed, in generous measure, to women as a group. Stories of repentantwhores were popular among medieval preachers and writers because prostituteswere the epitome of feminine sin.Through a sensitive use of a wide variety of imaginative and didactic texts,Ruth Karras shows that while prostitutes as individuals were marginalized withinmedieval culture, prostitution as an institution was central to the medievalunderstanding of what it meant to be a woman. This important work will be ofinterest to scholars and students of history, women's studies, and the historyof sexuality.

Introduction: Common Women, Prostitutes, and Whores
Prostitution and the Law
Brothels, Licit and Illicit
Becoming a Prostitute
The Sex Trade in Practice
Marriage, Sexuality, and Marginality
Saints and Sinners
Conclusion: Sexuality, Money, and the Whore
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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