Common Women : Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England (Google eBook)

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Jan 31, 1996 - Social Science - 232 pages
1 Review
"Common women" in medieval England were prostitutes, whose distinguishing feature was not that they took money for sex but that they belonged to all men in common. Common Women: Prostitution and Sexuality in Medieval England tells the stories of these women's lives: their entrance into the trade because of poor job and marriage prospects or because of seduction or rape; their experiences as streetwalkers, brothel workers or the medieval equivalent of call girls; their customers, from poor apprentices to priests to wealthy foreign merchants; and their relations with those among whom they lived. Common Women crosses the boundary from social to cultural history by asking not only about the experiences of prostitutes but also about the meaning of prostitution in medieval culture. The teachings of the church attributed both lust and greed, in generous measure, to women as a group. Stories of repentant whores were popular among medieval preachers and writers because prostitutes were 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 within medieval culture, prostitution as an institution was central to the medieval understanding of what it meant to be a woman. This important work will be of interest to scholars and students of history, women's studies, and the history of sexuality.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Common Women Prostitutes and Whores
3
Brothels Licit and Illicit
32
Becoming a Prostitute
48
The Sex Trade in Practice
65
Marriage Sexuality and Marginality
84
Saints and Sinners
102
Sexuality Money and the Whore
131
Bibliography
189
Index
215
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 194 - David Lorenzo Boyd and Ruth Mazo Karras, "The Interrogation of a Male Transvestite Prostitute in Fourteenth-Century London," GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1, no.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

Bibliographic information