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Erotic ExchangesThe World of Elite Prostitution in Eighteenth-Century Paris$
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Nina Kushner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780801451560

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801451560.001.0001

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Contracts and Elite Prostitution as Work

Contracts and Elite Prostitution as Work

(p.129) Chapter 5 Contracts and Elite Prostitution as Work
Erotic Exchanges

Nina Kushner

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes how Monsieur Dumas de Corbeville treated his mistress Demoiselle Gautier after she was caught having an affair with another man. Despite witnessing Gautier's betrayal, Corbeville still paid her last wage and allowed her to keep half of her possessions. Numerous factors shaped his behavior, including notions of honor, contemporary gender relations, libertinism, and shifting ideas of marriage. More importantly, patron–mistress relationships were governed by what the police called a contrat (contract), which, despite the term, was not a proper contract. These were verbal agreements, negotiated and assented to by the patron and mistress (or sometimes the mistress's parent) that stipulated remuneration.

Keywords:   Demoiselle Gautier, Monsieur Dumas de Corbeville, patron-mistress relationships, contract, verbal agreements

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