April 20th, 2004

Steeplechase

Are there any 19th-century novels about prostitutes...

...in which the courtesan lives? I’ve just finished Émile Zola’s Nana, in which the title character (refreshingly shallow and avaricious; none of this redeemed-by-love nonsense) ultimately dies of smallbox, and I’m just starting Camille, by Alexandre Dumas fils, the archetype of the consumptive whore (with, sigh, a heart of gold).

Yeah, right now my reading list is heavily freighted with dead harlots.
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