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Erotic Exchanges Audiobook

Erotic Exchanges: The World of Elite Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century Paris

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Audible Editor Reviews

"This history brings to life les dames entretenues- women who dazzled and scandalized 18th-century Paris as mistresses of powerful men". (New Yorker)

Publisher's Summary

In Erotic Exchanges, Nina Kushner reveals the complex world of elite prostitution in 18th-century Paris by focusing on the professional mistresses who dominated it. In this demimonde, these dames entretenues exchanged sex, company, and sometimes even love for being "kept". Most of these women entered the profession unwillingly, either because they were desperate and could find no other means of support or because they were sold by family members to brothels or to particular men. A small but significant percentage of kept women, however, came from a theater subculture that actively supported elite prostitution. Kushner shows that in its business conventions, its moral codes, and even its sexual practices, the demimonde was an integral part of contemporary Parisian culture.

Kushner's primary sources include thousands of folio pages of dossiers and other documents generated by the Paris police as they tracked the lives and careers of professional mistresses, reporting in meticulous, often lascivious, detail what these women and their clients did. Rather than reduce the history of sex work to the history of its regulation, Kushner interprets these materials in a way that unlocks these women's own experiences. Kushner analyzes prostitution as a form of work, examines the contracts that governed relationships among patrons, mistresses, and madams, and explores the roles played by money, gifts, and, on occasion, love in making and breaking the bonds between women and men. This vivid and engaging book explores elite prostitution not only as a form of labor and as a kind of business but also as a chapter in the history of emotions, marriage, and the family.

©2013 Cornell University (P)2015 Redwood Audiobooks

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  •  
    Shoshana Hathaway Atlanta, GA 08-07-15
    Shoshana Hathaway Atlanta, GA 08-07-15 Member Since 2012

    blind Kindle TTS user

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Historical examination of the Demimonde"

    Erotic Exchanges (Unabridged)
    ________________________________________

    Author: Nina Kushner
    Narrator:
    Sally Martin
    Provider:
    University Press Audiobooks
    Running Time:
    12 h 24 min

    In Erotic Exchanges, Nina Kushner reveals the complex world of elite prostitution in 18th-century Paris by focusing on the professional mistresses who dominated it. In this demimonde, these dames entretenues exchanged sex, company, and sometimes even love for being "kept". Most of these women entered the profession unwillingly, either because they were desperate and could find no other means of support or because they were sold by family members to brothels or to particular men. A small but significant percentage of kept women, however, came from a theater subculture that actively supported elite prostitution. Kushner shows that in its business conventions, its moral codes, and even its sexual practices, the demimonde was an integral part of contemporary Parisian culture. Kushner's primary sources include thousands of folio pages of dossiers and other documents generated by the Paris police as they tracked the lives and careers of professional mistresses, reporting in meticulous, often lascivious, detail what these women and their clients did. Rather than reduce the history of sex work to the history of its regulation, Kushner interprets these materials in a way that unlocks these women's own experiences. Kushner analyzes prostitution as a form of work, examines the contracts that governed relationships among patrons, mistresses, and madams, and explores the roles played by money, gifts, and, on occasion, love in making and breaking the bonds between women and men. This vivid and engaging book explores elite prostitution not only as a form of labor and as a kind of business but also as a chapter in the history of emotions, marriage, and the family.
    This is the 2nd book I have read from this provider, University Audiobooks, and both books have some excellent traits in common. Each book reads like a reprise of an academic research document, possibly a Doctoral thesis, revamped and restructured, slightly, for nonacademic readers interested in the areas under discussion. In the case of this book, the matter under discussion is the history of the Demimonde, especially with regard to the functions, economically, socially and culturally, of the professional mistresses. While the general topic is certainly erotic, the material contained in the book is not especially so, save by inference.

    However, this in no way detracts from the interest of the material. Anyone interested in the history of the 18th Century, or of France just before the Revolution, will find this a fascinating read, because it provides insight into a sub-culture that, while it has been treated in fiction in various ways, is still a bit of an enigma to the modern world. It was a culture with its own customs, rules, and social hierarchies, and the women who inhabited it had, and used, a broad range of independence at a time when most women had very little, indeed. Many of them had access to, and control of, their own money and property, and they were able to both enter into, and dissolve binding contracts. True, they were, at least technically, on the fringes of society, but this position also provided them the freedom to conduct their lives, mostly under their own control.

    The book is very well written, and the narrator was excellent, obviously completely comfortable with the many foreign (and not just French) names involved. Her phrasing was good, too, and her reading was objective and impersonal, as one would expect from a narrator of nonfiction, without being in the least boring.

    I recommend this book for anyone interested in the era depicted, or in understanding the Paris Demimonde itself, which has had a subtle but profound impact, even to modern times.

    I give both book and narrator a full 5 stars, and will be watching for more from this provider, with interest.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaded Buddha 02-03-15
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    "This is HOT!"

    And by hot I mean … engagingly written scholarly history grounded in original archival research!

    It's true, this is an academic work, not a work of erotica, as the first reviewer points out. I suppose people could be duped by the naughty cover. After listening to the sample clip, I purchased it and am finding it to be really interesting. Nicely written and very pleasantly read.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer S. Leblanc Houston, TX 02-01-15
    Jennifer S. Leblanc Houston, TX 02-01-15 Member Since 2010

    goodlifecpa

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    "Well researched but not Erotic "

    The performance of this book is delightful with a narrator whose French annunciation is pleasing. The research is well organized and highly factual. There is nothing sexual or erotic about this book. It is brilliant research on a business. The author articulates the particular commerce of sex in a historically accurate ( although bland) manner.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deedra United States 06-20-16
    Deedra United States 06-20-16 Member Since 2015

    I am at that half a century mark in years. I enjoy audiobooks,cats,rats and most days my family,not necessarily in that order!lol

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    "Erotic Exchanges"

    This book is full of names and dates of prostitutes from the 18th century.It tells how girls became courtesans,Madames,etc.It tells of parents selling girls for large sums so some man could have a virgin,sometimes more than once.It is a world where women have little say,unless they've made something of themselves in their little part of the world.We learn that Madames sometimes helped rivals,gave police information and some were outright spies for police.It is a very interesting read.Sally Martin does fine narration.
    I was given this book free of charge for an honest review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elspeth 03-07-16
    Elspeth 03-07-16
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    "Little slow but addictive!"

    This book reads somewhere between a romance novel and a text book. At times it can be slow but just when you think of putting it down it draws you back in. I will also say that it is one of those books that needed to be written. I wouldn't read it again but overall I enjoyed it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    EP Walnut Creek, CA United States 02-22-16
    EP Walnut Creek, CA United States 02-22-16 Member Since 2016
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    "The Painful Cost of Prostitution"
    What did you like best about this story?

    This is a very informative and well-written audiobook!

    As a father of a 21 year old girl, hearing the experiences of women in 18th century Paris made me VERY appreciative of the safety and the options afforded to my daughter in 21st century America.

    This audiobook paints an extremely detailed, vivid and painful picture of the lives of women in 18th century Paris, lives that all-too-often ended in prostitution. This audiobook also has eerie parallels to the current era of sex-trafficking.

    This is an audiobook that will make fathers feel anxious for their daughters, because the world can be a very scary place for women.


    Any additional comments?

    I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Hunter 02-06-16
    Hunter 02-06-16

    Audio Addict

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    "Worth Your Time!"

    I don’t usually read many books from this genre, but I really enjoyed this one. The narration brought the story to life and held my interest throughout. The story was well thought out, complete and will keep you listening. I will definitely be watching for this author in the future.

    * I was provided a free copy of this book from AudioBookBlast for review.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darren 09-24-15
    Darren 09-24-15
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    "A Good Account of the Worlds Olders Profession"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    No. As a history it outlined the lives and accounts of Madame's in 18th Paris. It was varied and gave a good cross section of these people.


    What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

    The book was a good listen, gave great insights into the the thinking and zeitgeist of the period.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    None in particular as it was a history, rather than a novel.


    Could you see Erotic Exchanges being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

    No, only as a documentary on History Chanel.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall an interesting listen. Gave good insights into the lives and hardships of people in 18th century Paris. The narrator Sally Martin also read very well.

    This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for my unbiased review,

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Centerville, OH, United States 08-31-15
    Mary Centerville, OH, United States 08-31-15 Member Since 2002
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    "Informative Study of 18th-Century Paris Mores"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    I would to some one interested in this genre.

    If a person is not into sociology and cultural history, then this book is not for them.


    If you’ve listened to books by Nina Kushner before, how does this one compare?

    This is my first listen.


    Did Sally Martin do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    There wasn't much of a call to differentiate characters as far as performance goes. For example there was no need to change one's voice to sound like another character.


    Do you think Erotic Exchanges needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No, no as it it was this book had its interesting points, however it was way to long!


    Any additional comments?

    There was a lot of fascinating information in this book however the book was repetitive and way to long. It could of been done and done well in about 3 hours or less. As it it was it took me about three hours to get into the book, Once I finally did get into the book I was hooked.

    It was an interesting study not only regarding elite prostitution, but also the culture, laws and mores of the time.

    For example: The control that the family patriarch had was amazing. Adult children were under complete control of their parents, meaning the father.

    Majority didn't occur till the age of 25. One had no legal rights till that age. Even after the age of 25 the parents still had absolute control over certain aspects of their grown children's life. For example a marriage wasn't legal unless agreed to by both sets of parents, no matter the age of the couple getting married. If the grown children didn't comply with their parent's dictates, the parents could and did incarcerate their adult children.

    “I was provided this audiobook at no charge by the author, publisher and/or narrator in exchange for an unbiased review via AudiobookBlast dot come”

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Suzanne Wilmington, NC, United States 07-31-15
    Suzanne Wilmington, NC, United States 07-31-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Fascinating Insider's Look"
    What did you love best about Erotic Exchanges?

    An in-depth look inside a world hidden from most of us. Non-judgmental and educational, it tells the story of real people navigating the worlds of both commerce and love. It examines the motives of the players and the realities of life in the 18th century to achieve understanding.


    What about Sally Martin’s performance did you like?

    The narrator did an excellent job with the many French pronunciations. It flowed smoothly and was a pleasure to listen.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend this book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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