Carnal Commerce in Counter-Reformation Rome (New Studies in European History)

Carnal Commerce in Counter-Reformation Rome (New Studies in European History)

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Tessa Storey
Cambridge University Press, 2/21/2008
EAN 9780521844338, ISBN10: 0521844339

Hardcover, 316 pages, 23.4 x 16 x 2.3 cm
Language: English

Focusing on the period 1566–1656, this original and lively study sheds light on the daily lives and material culture of ordinary prostitutes and their clients in Rome after the Counter-Reformation. Tessa Storey uses a range of archival sources, including criminal records, letters, courtroom testimonies, images and popular and elite literature, to reveal issues of especial concern to contemporaries. In particular, she explores how and why women became prostitutes, the relationships between prostitutes and clients, and the wealth which potentially could be accumulated. Notarial documents provide a unique perspective on the economics and material culture of prostitution, showing what could be earned and how prostitutes dressed and furnished their homes. The book challenges traditional assumptions about the success of post-Tridentine reforms on Roman prostitution, revealing that despite energetic attempts at social disciplining by the Counter-Reformation Popes, prostitution continued to flourish, and to provide a lucrative living for many women.

List of figures
List of maps
List of tables
Notes on the text
1. Themes and issues in literature and image
2. The social and cultural context
3. Debating prostitution
4. Policing prostitution
5. A profile of Roman prostitutes
6. Becoming a prostitute
7. The business of prostitution
8. At home
9. 'Because we are all of the flesh'
prostitutes and their clients
Conclusion. Continuity and change
prostitution after the Reformations
Appendix 1. Origins of prostitutes living in Rome
Appendix 2. Notes on the registers consulted from the Archivo del Vicariato di Roma

'This is an outstanding book. ... Although it focuses on Rome, the work is well-contextualized both in the Italian peninsula and Europe more broadly through a masterful use of other scholars' work. The prose is delightful - erudite yet never stodgy nor pedantic. The archival base is broad and supported by other types of sources. Storey contributes to the historiography of prostitution and the Reformation in a way that will indubitably exert considerable influence on our understanding of these issues and the future work of other scholars considering these topics.' Renaissance Quarterly